Rep. Sims announces $7 million in state funding for arts, tourism projects in 182nd District

The former Family Court Building at 1801 Vine St., the Merriam Theater at the Kimmel Center and the William Way LGBT Community Center have been awarded funding.

State Rep. Brian Sims announced today that $7 million in state funding has been awarded to three economic development projects in the 182nd District.

“This funding will go a long way to move these projects toward completion, which will undoubtedly benefit the communities where they will operate,” Sims said. “Increasing access to the arts, supporting inclusive organizations and bolstering tourism in our community will improve quality of life in our district.”

Awards from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program were awarded to the following projects:

William Way LGBT Community Center awarded $1 million for William Way LGBT Community Center Reconstruction. The project will renovate the front portion of the existing building at 1315 Spruce St., while retaining its historic elements, and demolish and replace the rear wings. The project will add 9,800 square feet of usable space, including a 51% increase in rental space, and make the building fully ADA compliant. Components of the project include renovation of the front façade to make the building more welcoming; glazing and opening the new rear of the building to provide a second inviting entrance; restoring the historic lobby; creating gender-neutral bathrooms with full height toilet partitions; replacing the elevator for increased handicap access; creating a two-story event space, central atrium, and offices; and replacing the elevator for increased handicap access.

Kimmel Center Inc. awarded $4 million for Merriam Theater-Kimmel Center Phase 1. The project will include the entire Merriam Theater Tower, restore mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and renovate the seven floors that serve theater patrons and Kimmel Center Inc. program participants & staff. Renovations on theater-adjacent floors include new theater restrooms, ADA compliant and accessible restrooms, guest and patron areas, and event space for the Merriam Theater. Office floors will serve Kimmel Center Inc., and eight resident companies' staff with 110 workstations for ticketing, administration, IT, marketing and finance. One floor will expand the Kimmel Center Inc., education department, which partners with the School District of Philadelphia and Title 1 schools to connect 100,000 youth to arts education annually by 2023. Final improvements will include windows and roof repairs and leasable space.

1801 Vine Street Development Partners LP awarded $2 million for the 1801 Vine Street III project. The project will renovate the former Family Court Building into a hotel, with rooms to support the PA Convention Center, creating jobs and maintaining public access to the highly decorative ceremonial spaces and 37 WPA-era murals adorning the walls of 1801. The RACP funds will be used for construction costs associated with repairs, restoration, upgrades and code compliance of existing historic fabric, as well as hazardous material remediation.

RACP is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.