Comcast’s new Innovation and Technology Center, which the company unveiled yesterday and expects to begin building this summer, is estimated to cost $1.2 billion. Of that, $40 million—around three-and-a-half percent of the total cost—will come from city and state grants.
As a portion of the project cost, the taxpayer subsidies for the new skyscraper aren’t breaking any records. Still, $40 million is real money; the Department of Licenses and Inspections, for example, gets by on an annual budget of roughly half that figure.
So, where’s it coming from, and what’s it for?
According to Steve Kratz, communications director for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania’s $30 million grant commitment will be disbursed over four years, with $10 million granted in both 2014 and 2015, and $5 million in 2016 and 2017, when the project is scheduled to be finished.
The state will determine which programs to pull the funds from on a yearly basis, Kratz said, based on which state programs have the capacity.
At least $25 million of the $30 million in grants is required to be spent on public improvements, including the expansion of the subway concourse at Suburban Station, the construction of a winter garden on 18th Street, and various improvements to the sidewalks and streets.
Kratz said that he expects the whole $30 million will go toward public improvements, however, as Comcast is likely to spend more than that amount on that work.
For its part, the City of Philadelphia has committed $10 million from its Capital budget, subject to the approval of City Council. The entire grant will be dedicated to public infrastructure improvements, according to Mayor Michael Nutter’s press secretary, Mark McDonald.
In addition, Comcast will receive $4.5 million in state job-creation tax incentives for the 1,500 jobs it has committed to bring to the city. The tax credits will be issued as the jobs are created, at a rate of $3,000 per job.
Jared Brey is a freelance reporter based in Philadelphia. His work has been featured in Philadelphia magazine, Hidden City, The Philadelphia Inquirer, City & State, and other publications. He covered development, zoning policy, historic preservation, and city government for PlanPhilly from 2011-2016.