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May 24, 2017

Philly police headquarters set for move into old Inquirer building

Changed would scrap plans for $250 million headquarters in West Philadelphia

City Council is set to consider an ordinance Thursday to move the Philadelphia Police Department headquarters to the iconic tower on North Broad Street that served as the home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newspapers for years.

In a Wednesday news release announcing the proposed $288 million move to 400 N. Broad St., the Mayor's Office stated it will scrap plans to move the department into a West Philadelphia building at 46th and Market streets, which had been proposed by the Michael Nutter administration.

Officials hope to open the new headquarters in the spring of 2020.

“After evaluating several different sites and weighing all the different considerations for over a year, we came to the conclusion that this space would provide the taxpayers more for their money,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in the release.

The site on Broad and Vine streets is about 100,000 square feet larger than the space at 4601 Broad St., and moving the new Public Safety Headquarters into 400 N. Broad St. would allow space to house the Sixth and Ninth Police Districts, the Medical Examiner's office and its toxicology lab and other police units, officials said.

The building's size also would allow the city to combine its police and fire communications staff into one unified space, officials said.

The Keating Group will handle renovations to the building, owned by Tower Investments CEO Bart Blatstein.

Moving the Police Administration Building there would keep the police department headquartered near Center City. The department's headquarters at the Roundhouse on Eighth and Race streets would be vacated and put up for sale if officials make the move.

The Medical Examiner’s office on University Avenue and the Sixth Police District building at 11th and Vine streets also would be vacated and listed for sale. The city would also avoid spending on improvements to the Sixth and Ninth district buildings, which would have been necessary, officials said.

The city still wants to develop 4601 Market St., the old Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. building, saying Wednesday they hope to have a developer lined up by the end of the year.

City Council had approved borrowing up to $250 million to renovate the site.

“We are confident that the interest in the site will result in a new owner for the building and positive economic development in West Philadelphia,” Anne Fadullon, the city's director of planning and development, said in the release.