Philadelphia starts search for developer of Provident Mutual building after change in police headquarters plan

Officials have begun seeking a developer for the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. property in West Philadelphia after abandoning a plan to move the city’s Police Headquarters to the neoclassical building.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. said in a solicitation posted to its website Thursday that it is seeking companies to “plan and implement a dynamic and sustainable development” at the 4601 Market St. site, while maximizing the value of the property for the city.

Philadelphia spent some $50 million to buy and renovate the insurance company property comprising 336,200 square feet of space across two buildings on 15 acres before deciding to use the former Inquirer Building at 401 N. Broad St. for the new Police Administration Building instead.

“When we decided to locate the police complex at 400 N. Broad St., we made a commitment to reactivate 4601 Market St.,” Bridget Collins-Greenwald, the city’s public property commissioner, said in a release. The solicitation issued Thursday “is a tangible step toward meeting that commitment.”

Developers have until Nov. 1 to submit their proposals for the property. The city is open to selling the property outright, leasing it on a long-term basis, or partnering on its development with a private entity, according to the solicitation.

Philadelphia planning and development director Anne Fadullon has said the city doesn’t expect to recoup the entire $50 million spent on the property.

The city’s current plan calls for police to move from the cramped and dated four-story concrete building at 750 Race St., popularly known as the Roundhouse, to the former newspaper building on North Broad Street by spring  2020 at an expense of $280.3 million.

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