Several years ago, then-Mayor Michael Nutter announced plans to relocate the Philadelphia Police Department from its cramped headquarters in Chinatown to West Philly.
But, according to Philadelphia magazine's sources, Mayor Jim Kenney's administration could forgo those plans in favor of a move to the now-abandoned former Inquirer and Daily News offices at Broad and Callowhill streets.
Nutter's $250-million plan would relocate the PPD to 46th and Market streets in the Provident Mutual Insurance Building. The plan was first proposed in 2008, but was shelved in the recession. The 13-acre, 325,000-square-foot property would be renamed the Public Safety Services Campus.
Former Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey told the Inquirer in 2012 that the Provident building would need "a lot of work."
That said, the PPD has outgrown the Roundhouse, the concrete slab at Eighth and Race streets.
"We all know the condition of the Roundhouse," Ramsay said in 2012. "It's far too small for our needs and it's in a state of disrepair."
Kenney's spokesman, Mike Dunn, released a statement on the possible move:
The Kenney administration is in the midst of a thorough review of plans developed by the previous administration to relocate Police Headquarters and the Medical Examiner’s Office to 4601 Market Street. This is due diligence given the scope and anticipated cost of the entire project.
In light of this review, it is incumbent on the administration to simultaneously review various options, while we also continue work at 4601 Market to move the site’s improvements along. The administration is committed to choosing a site that meets the needs of the affected departments, particularly the Police Department, and that is a responsible choice for taxpayers.
With regards to 400 N. Broad Street, we have no comment.
Neither project would come cheap, though.
To offset a $250-million windfall for PSSC, Nutter's administration proposed selling the Roundhouse, and the West Philadelphia morgue building and health offices at Broad and Lombard streets, both of which would also relocate to 4601 Market St.
But the former Inquirer building, at 400 N. Broad St., was purchased by developer Bart Blatstein in 2011. Blatstein's declined to release the sale price, but another bidder for the property said it sold way above its $19 million asking price, the Inquirer reported.
You can read Philadelphia magazine's full report here.