Old City hotel a go sans the billboard

The project pitted developers who envision a vibrant “destination” on a long-abandoned plot against Old City residents concerned that people could pour out of a “35,000-foot nightclub” onto their streets at 2 a.m. and urban-blight activists worried a garish digital billboard would distract drivers on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

With little fanfare, City Council unanimously approved zoning-map changes on Thursday that green-lit a commercial-and-retail space including a hotel near 4th and Race streets. Though the controversial billboard was nixed, and liquor licenses on the property reduced from three to two, a member of the Old City Civic Association said the approval “just became a blank check.”

Joe Schaivo of the OCCA wasn’t notified of the vote so, “we thought we’d have a final opportunity to address in City Council, so we feel a little disenfranchised.” OCCA was concerned that the project’s height was raised 10 feet recently, wondering whether billboards were being secretly included.

Arc Properties CEO and founder Robert Ambrosi, who deemed “One Franklin Square” will be a “link between Independence Mall and Old City,” refrained from speaking publicly during the testy back-and-forth debate. He said “wild assumptions” leveled by critics aggravated him like the 10-foot increase, some of which he said was needed for the top of the elevator shaft.

Construction could start by year’s end. He’s negotiating with a restaurant to join the site with a 120-room Starwood Aloft Hotel and hopes to bring a 14,000 square-foot “gourmet food store.” The neighborhood side will be “quiet” in keeping with the surrounding blocks.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.