Site of hotel and brothel, now a play area

June 26, 2009 at 12:16 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, June 26 (UPI) -- A South Philadelphia property that once was a hotel then a brothel then a vacant lot has a new life as a children's playground.

Music entrepreneur Kenny Gamble cut the ribbon Thursday at the state-of-the-art playground designed to serve the neighborhood and the 700 students attending Gamble's Universal Institute Charter School, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday.

"The neighborhood has come full circle," said Gamble, chairman of Universal Cos. "Our aim is to create an educational campus here."

The facility will be called Uncle David's Universal Playground to honor its patron, philanthropist David N. Pincus.

Gamble said he picked up the South Philly parcel about 10 years ago, intending to build condominiums on the site of the former Bombay Hotel. However, he was introduced to Pincus, 82, retired chairman of the Pincus Bros.-Maxwell clothing manufacturer about a joint site development.

Gamble told the Inquirer that it was the first time in the 16 years he's been working to revitalize his boyhood neighborhood that he was asked to collaborate on a project.

"The greatest gift that we can give to a child is to love and protect them and allow them all the joys that childhood should have," Pincus said.

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