Philly's Parkway Corp. seeks $5 million grant for Center City office tower

Parkway Corporation, a parking lot operator with extensive downtown real estate holdings, wants state redevelopment dollars to underwrite the construction of an 18-story office tower near 23rd and Market streets.

The Philadelphia-based company applied for a $5 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant for a project called 23rd + Market, according to documents filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Parkway’s application describes a 331,500 square-foot Class A office building with a green roof, public commercial space and 50-spot underground garage. The project would be LEED certified and feature “an ergonomically designed office layout, fostering productivity and collaboration among workers.”

The development would replace a surface lot currently operated by Parkway on the site. The lot spans nearly a full city block on the south side of Market Street.

Long known exclusively for its operation of surface parking lots, Parkway has recently begun to cash in on its Center City holdings –– converting asphalt expenses into starting points for downtown office and condo towers with desirable addresses, like 1706 Rittenhouse Square.

Parkway Corporation VP Brian Berson said it was too early to discuss details about the project.

“We’re not really in a position where we’re going to be able to comment,” he said.

The RACP is sometimes been referred to by critics as a source of “walking around money” for state lawmakers eager to host ribbon-cuttings and wield political influence in their respective districts. Successive governors, like Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf, have pledged to increase oversight for what some have described as an intensely political grant process that generates little economic activity.

About the author

Ryan Briggs, Data Reporter

Ryan Briggs is WHYY's data reporter.  He works on the PlanPhilly team and across the WHYY newsroom on investigative features. Before joining WHYY, he covered politics, criminal justice and government policy since 2011. He has worked as a staff reporter for Next City, the Philadelphia City Paper, and City & State PA, while contributing stories to a variety of other news outlets as a freelancer, including WHYY.

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