With $24 million parking lot deal, Goldenberg Group mulls Market East development

(PHILLY.COM)  A co-owner of the massive parking lot at Eight and Market streets in Center City has a deal to buy an adjacent parcel from the city’s parking authority, with possible plans for a hotel, offices, and shopping at the consolidated property.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority voted Tuesday to sell the 30,100-square-foot lot on the northwest corner of Eighth and Chestnut streets to Blue Bell-based Goldenberg Group for $24.13 million, PPA executive director Scott Petri said in an interview.

The tract forms a potential development site of about 2.7 acres when combined with the larger parcel just to the north that Goldenberg controls in partnership with Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, owner of the Gallery at Market East shopping mall across Market Street.

“Eighth and Market is one of the most significant intersections in the city,” Seth Shapiro, Goldenberg’s chief operating officer, said in an email. “It affords, and even demands, a significant, sizable, mixed-use development.

“While the feedback we get from the market is that it is not quite ready for a groundbreaking, forward-looking office, hotel and retail users are talking to us about an eventual development.”

The development site formed by the two parcels was once dominated by the original branch of the now-defunct Gimbels department store chain, which was demolished in the late 1970s when the store moved to the then-newly built Gallery.

In the late 1990s, Goldenberg and PREIT had planned an entertainment and retail center with a Walt Disney Co. attraction known as DisneyQuest on the Market Street-facing side of the tract, while the PPA took on the Chestnut Street-facing side for a parking garage to support the attraction.

A later effort to build a casino at the site failed when the last remaining gambling license available to the city was awarded to a gaming resort project in South Philadelphia instead.

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