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PHILADELPHIA-Long-stalled plans to double the size of the Pennsylvania Convention Center got a nudge forward from two fronts. Following RFPs from several construction management contenders, the Convention Center Authority voted to select a single joint venture team to begin negotiating a more detailed contract. Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court upheld legalized slot machine gaming in the state, and slot revenues are the major source of funding for the expansion, which is now estimated to cost $632 million.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Ahmeenah Young, the Convention Center Authority’s EVP for external affairs, tells GlobeSt.com. The construction management team consists of the local office of New York City-based Tishman Construction Corp.; Lawrenceville, NJ-based Joseph Jingoli & Sons Inc.; and locally based the Perryman Co. as the minority-partner participant. “They’re the guys,” Young says, “unless something unforeseen comes up in the process of negotiation. The team is asked to delineate such details as budget, timeline, how construction will commence without sacrificing bookings in the existing space and other contingencies.”

Mike Siciliano Sr., Tishman’s regional manager here, and a corporate spokesman in the New York City office confirm that Tishman and its partners will begin delineating details. “We’re delighted with being selected,” the spokesman says. Siciliano says Tishman has worked with Jingoli on projects in Atlantic City. Calls to Jingoli were not returned by deadline.

More than three years ago, the State Legislature refused to vote on a bill that would foot half the bill of expansion, then estimated to cost $464 million. It later linked funding of the expansion with a gaming bill, appropriating $400 million of slots revenues to the project. After passage last summer, the gaming bill was challenged by a lawsuit, and, this month, vindicated by the Supreme Court. Locations for gaming parlors have yet to be identified, and no licenses have yet been granted.

Young says of the remaining $232 million cost, “we expect to issue bonds and may also obtain additional funding from the state.” The Authority, which owns the center, also granted the land acquisition assignment to the Redevelopment Authority. Expansion is designed for the west side of the existing center on an area bounded by 13th and Broad streets between Arch and Race streets.

Robert Labrum, Redevelopment Authority’s manager for this project, tells GlobeSt.com, “about 60% to 70% of the land is now parking space. There’s a firehouse, one structure that was recently converted to lofts, and a couple of smaller commercial and retail structures.” He says he does not believe he will need to relay on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing governments to acquire private land. “I don’t anticipate many problems,” he says, adding, “our management of acquisition still has to be approved by the city council, though, and it will be a long process.”

Meanwhile, the Convention Center Authority is still projecting completion by late 2008. The project architect is Atlanta-based Thompson Venulett Stainback & Associates, working with locally based Vitetta Group. They are the architects of the existing Convention Center, which opened in 1993. The expansion will add approximately 300,000 sf of exhibition space.

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