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Philadelphia city council attempts to get to bottom of stalled temple project

A growing rift between City Council and the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) was in full view Monday as Council members grilled the agency's director, Terry Gillen, about stalled projects and new policies for managing vacant land.

City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell...took issue with the agency's attempts to take back land in two high-profile projects: an expansion of the University City Science Center in West Philadelphia, and a proposed temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints near Logan Square.

"Why fight projects we support?" Blackwell asked Gillen.

In the Mormon temple project, developer Stephen Klein defaulted on a redevelopment agreement to revive a two-acre site on Vine Street between 17th and 18th Streets. After the RDA notified him of the default in 2008, Klein nevertheless agreed to sell the property to the Mormon church in 2009. The RDA then sued Klein to retake the land, casting a "cloud" over the deal, the developer said.

Read the rest of this story at philly.com
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