While pork motivates both parties, Rendell isn't taking chances. "All recipients of RACP funding MUST submit [final paperwork] by Jan. 14, 2011,"
just four days before Corbett is to be sworn in, or risk "termination of any commitment of funding," Rendell's budget office warns in the most recent batch of letters to lucky recipients. The chosen were picked from long lists of candidates given general approval, but no cash, by the General Assembly in past capital-projects bills.
There are strings attached: Each developer or agency needs to show it can raise matching funds from other sources. And each must agree to pay prevailing local wages, typically union scale, instead of hiring migrant laborers or others willing to work cheaply.
Rendell's last giveaways include:
$10 million for Janney Montgomery Scott, the stockbrokerage and investment bank, for expansion of its Center City regional headquarters. (Janney is owned by Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., of Horsham, which earned about $20 million each month in profits this fall, according to its most recent quarterly financial report.)
The money is a sweetener to try to ensure Janney stays in Center City after its lease at 1801 Market St. runs out next year. But Janney's still playing hard to get: "We are exploring options in the tri-state area," Janney spokeswoman Karen Shakoske told me.
$10 million for Chicago developer John Buck Co.'s plan to turn the former Sidney Hillman Health Clinic site on Chestnut Street into a 33-story private apartment tower.
$9.5 million for Drexel University's business school.
$8 million for the Fox Chase Cancer Center to complete renovation of its Young Pavilion. That follows $12 million in previous RACP grants, Fox Chase spokesman Rob Davis told me.
$7.5 million for the Pavilion at Market East project, supported by office landlord SSH Real Estate and Gallery owner Ron Rubin's Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust. PREIT and SSH officials didn't return calls for details of their proposal.
$6 million to help West Philadelphia developer Mosaic Development Partners, headed by Gregory Reaves and Leslie Smallwood-Lewis, build an $18 million hotel-and-restaurant complex with a jazz bar and fitness center at North Philly's Legendary Blue Horizon, the boxing mecca.
$6 million for construction of the William Way Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Senior Housing Center.
$5 million for the Franklin Institute, and another $5 million for the National Constitution Center.
A total of $3 million, through Tom Corcoran's Delaware River Waterfront Corp. and Dominick Stuccio's Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe organization, for work on Race Street Pier and the conversion of a former city water-pumping station at Race and the Delaware into the Waterfront Arts Center.
"It's a fantastic project. But we haven't gotten it yet," Nick Stuccio, producing director of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, which would operate the center, a restaurant, and other amenities at the pier. "With Corbett sweeping in and Rendell sweeping out, we're told Corbett could stop all of these promises. We're absolutely scrambling to get this contract signed."
$1.1 million for renovations at Christ Church, the august Episcopal temple in Old City.
$1 million for the Avenue of the Arts Streetscape Project, backed by a foundation chaired by U.S. Judge Marjorie Rendell, the governor's wife.
Additional sums in the low millions are earmarked for the National Museum of American Jewish History, builder Bart Blatstein's Piazza at Schmidts, Temple University, the Barnes Foundation, and other past RACP recipients. Among others.
Contact columnist Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194 or JoeD@phillynews.com.