"This release of funds enables the Redevelopment Authority to honor existing obligations," said William Way, the authority's relocation coordinator. "It does not enable the Redevelopment Authority to make any new commitments . . . It's great news, but it does not solve all our problems."
To provide relocation aid to the remaining businesses, officials said, the city needs an additional $37 million in state funds that Thornburgh has said he will not release until state Senate approval of the $455 million project is assured.
A vote on legislation creating an authority to oversee the center, which has been the major issue of dispute between Republicans and Democrats, might occur next week, legislators said.
Of the 168 businesses in the convention-center area - which is bounded by 11th, 13th, Arch and Race Streets - 48 have already moved or have made final relocation plans. But because the city cannot make additional commitments of assistance, many of the remaining businesses have been unable to sign leases or sale agreements for new locations.
"I'm still hanging in limbo," said Eric Rosner, a photographer who has a studio at 1133 Arch St. Rosner, like other business owners in the area, has found a new location, but he has been told by the city that it cannot provide any aid without additional state funds.
"We've gotten a few phone calls today from people saying, 'Does that mean I can go ahead and make plans to move?' " said Rachel Heller, a Redevelopment Authority staff member. "And we've just had to say to them, 'No, not