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Kenny Gamble and the Royal mess: What do you think about him?

There was an interesting story in the Daily News on Monday about Kenny Gamble’s … let’s say, questionable … stewardship of the Royal Theater.

royal theater

Those are some nice plants coming out of the wall there, huh?

The music mogul-turned-nonprofit developer has sat on the building on the 1500 block of South Street since 2000, letting it crumble even after raking in millions in taxpayer dollars to fulfill his repeated promises to restore it. Rather than restore it, he wants to tear down all but the facade and put up retail and housing. That got us thinking.

Gamble and his Universal Companies are huge property owners in South Philly, mostly the west side of Broad but also many parcels on the east side just above Washington Avenue. If he’s letting a gem like the Royal rot, what about all the rest?

He has certainly done some good by way of low-income housing development, but the DN story says he also has owned two vacant lots across the street from the theater since 1990. Yes, he’s held let two vacant lots on a booming strip sit vacant for 23 years.

So, let me give you a topic. Is Kenny Gamble a well-meaning force for good? Or he is a greedy land speculator?




4 Responses to Kenny Gamble and the Royal mess: What do you think about him?

  1. Ian July 10, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I wanna know where all the money from Fast Eddy and the taxpayers went. We deserve answers, Kenny.

  2. myles July 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    While I don’t condone any of the above said issues, blame must be cast with ourselves and our city for not developing and enforcing common sense policies and regulations that would discourage this kind of market behavior.

  3. Aaron July 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Last time the City tried to enforce its rights in a contract with Gamble he shut off HUD funding literally overnight – while Bush was in office. Who knows what he could pull now.

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