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PHILADELPHIA-As it did this summer, the State House of Representatives adjourned without addressing a bill to grant tax breaks to 17th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, the parcel on which Malvern-based Liberty Property Trust planned to build One Pennsylvania Plaza with Comcast Corp. as the lead tenant. “Comcast is now considering its alternatives, and so are we,” says William P. Hankowsky, Liberty’s chairman and CEO, in a brief statement.

“We regret that the House did not consider legislation that would have created economic benefits for the development of a headquarters for Comcast Corp., benefits that would have virtually guaranteed that Comcast’s headquarters growth occurs in Philadelphia rather than elsewhere in the country,” Hankowsky continues. “Until we have completed [consideration of alternatives], we cannot make any definitive comments about the future of One Pennsylvania Plaza.” Calls to Comcast were not returned by deadline.

This July, the State Senate approved designation of the property as an Economic Development District (EDD), a downgraded version of the initial Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone (KOIZ) status originally sought by Liberty and Comcast. The State Legislature does not reconvene until the end of January when, technically, a new bill could be introduced.

Liberty’s plans call for construction of a 60-story, 1.2-million-sf tower of which Comcast would initially lease approximately 500,000 sf and has projected adding as many as 3,000 new jobs over the next decade. According to published reports, Liberty paid $26 million for the land and has sunk another approximately $40 million into infrastructure development and design and legal fees. The estimated construction cost is $400 million.

From the start, providing KOIZ status for the project has drawn protests, principally from the Center City Owners Association. CCOA is a group of more than 20 owners of office buildings in the CBD, formed specifically to combat the KOIZ designation for One Penn Plaza on the grounds that it gives one building unfair advantage and subverts the original KOIZ intention of turning blighted areas into properties that would draw businesses from outside the area. The JFK site is not in a blighted area, and Comcast, already headquartered here, has other Downtown options for space to grow, the owners contend. Liberty commissioned a study that detailed the projected financial benefits of tax breaks for the project, and CCOA countered with a study that detailed its financial shortfall to the city.

Gov. Ed Rendell has voiced support for granting tax breaks to the project and the Philadelphia City Council supported tax breaks for the project last June. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce also supports unspecified financial incentives for keeping Comcast here.

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