Cordish planning Pa. complex

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore-based The Cordish Co. said yesterday that it is planning to develop a sports-anchored entertainment project for Philadelphia, between the city's two arenas.

Cordish and partner Comcast-Spectacor, owner of the Wachovia Center and the Wachovia Spectrum, expect to unveil plans next week for a complex of shops, restaurants and other entertainment tenants that would connect and complement the arenas.

"We are considering other mixed-used components but are in early planning stages and no decisions have been made beyond the retail district," Jon Cordish, a Cordish vice president, said yesterday in an e-mail.

Cordish said the project will follow an open-air, Main Street-style format. It will be located between the Wachovia Center, which opened in 1996 and is home to the 76ers basketball and Flyers hockey teams, and the Spectrum, which opened in 1967. The arenas are located near Lincoln Financial Field, where pro football's Eagles play, and the Phillies' baseball stadium, Citizens Bank Park.

The cost and scope of the project are still to be determined, Cordish said.

Comcast-Spectacor had considered building a connecting entertainment complex on a 300,000-square-foot parcel of land in the early 1990s, during preliminary planning for the Wachovia Center, but never pursued those plans, said spokesman Ike Richman of Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the 76ers and Flyers.

"Now we're talking to Cordish Co. about developing one of their branded 'live' properties in that space," he said.

Comcast-Spectacor's plans could eventually lead to the demolition of the Spectrum, which now is home to major indoor soccer and minor-league hockey teams, The Delaware County Daily Times reported.

A spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who was sworn in earlier this month, said the mayor's office was not aware of details of the plan and could not comment.

For Cordish, the project would mark a continuing strategy of building mixed-use entertainment projects around sports complexes.

Projects in the works include Ballpark Village, a project with the St. Louis Cardinals, to include condominiums, shops, restaurants, nightclubs and offices behind the outfield of the baseball team's new stadium, and Daytona Live!, a $250 million complex across from the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Cordish has created projects around large stores or entertainment venues in urban areas of Baltimore and other cities, including Power Plant and Power Plant Live at the Inner Harbor and Fourth Street Live in Louisville, Ky. Larger scale projects under development or in planning phases in Kansas City, Mo., and Louisville have also mixed in offices, hotels and residences.

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