PHILADELPHIA-The state approved the release of $30 million from the Capital Redevelopment Assistance Fund for infrastructure improvements at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard. where Liberty Property Trust planned to build a 1.2-million-sf tower with Comcast Corp. as the lead tenant. However, in a statement following the announcement from Harrisburg, William P. Hankowsky, Liberty’s chairman and CEO, doesn’t commit to the project.

In response to a call from, Jeanne A. Leonard, vice president of the Malvern, PA-based REIT, says, “We are still evaluating the project and are not in a position to commit to development at this point.” She released a statement from Hankowsky, which was prefaced with an explanation that the funding would contribute to “the construction of various public spaces, amenities, and infrastructure improvements to (the proposed project).”We appreciate the Commonwealth’s decision to support these public improvements,” Hankowsky says in part in the statement, which concludes, “We continue to evaluate the future of the project, but we are encouraged by this expression of support for the One Pennsylvania Plaza project.”

The $30 million, which was included in Gov. Ed Rendell’s budget and earmarked for summer, gained approval yesterday on condition that it also wins the approval of city council, which is a sure bet. However, Liberty sought to have the land designated a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which carries generous tax breaks, a move that met with vigorous opposition by owners of Downtown office buildings.

Following the failure to grant KOIZ status to the project, in July the state Senate approved a lesser tax-reduction package by designating it an Economic Development District. However, the state’s House of Representatives failed to act on the legislation. Construction cost for the 60-story tower originally was estimated at $400 million. Comcast had agreed to initially lease approximately half of the building.

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