Will Smith Gives Up Hotel Development Plan

Monday, January 10th 2005, 10:51 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Fresh Prince has given up on plans to develop a hotel in his hometown. Philadelphia-born actor and rapper Will Smith had won preliminary city approval several years ago to build a hotel and retail complex on a derelict property in the city's centuries-old Society Hill section.

The luxury hotel would have had views of the Delaware River and been within walking distance of tourist attractions like South Street and Independence Hall. The city had pledged $9 million in tax incentives to help the development take place.

But the project stalled in recent years as the hotel market softened, and Smith and his brother have now sold the vacant lot where the complex was to have been built. The sale price was $10.5 million, about three times what the family paid for the parcel five years ago.

The new owners, Sant Properties, have a plan to build condominiums.

Before its demolition in 2002, the site was formerly home to a complex of shops and restaurants known as the NewMarket. The site had fallen into disrepair before it was bought by the Smiths.

Smith's real-estate company, Treyball Development, has invested millions of dollars in buildings around the city. They have included a former furniture company, a small office building and a funeral home.