Long-delayed sale of city-owned property finally passes City Council

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By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The long-delayed sale of a city-owned property in West Philadelphia finally passed City Council Thursday. Under the deal, the former Provident Insurance Building will become a community health center. 

The previous mayor bought the property intending to make it the new police headquarters, but Mayor Jim Kenney halted those plans and put it up for sale.

It's taken more than a year to complete the sale, largely because district Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell preferred a different developer and different use for the building than the plan that won the competitive bid. 

RELATED: More delays in city's attempt to sell large West Philly property

She stalled, holding community meetings about it, while tensions rose. A meeting two weeks ago ended in a fistfight, according to those present. At the start of this week's meeting, Blackwell said she was going to delay the bill again. But halfway through, she said she'd bring it up for a vote. 

She says she relented because the mayor agreed to address any remaining issues.

"We tried to meet on every issue so I think we're there, I think we've come as far as we can," she said. 

Mayor Kenney says he's still not sure what took so long. 

"The whole process was mystifying, frankly, but it is now done and we're moving forward," he said.