April 12: Skepticism on Temple stadium costs | DAG on Blatstein | The case for Harrowgate

Jay McCalla, a former deputy managing director under Mayor John Street, who helped manage the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) worries Jim Kenney’s plan to fix up parks and recreation centers may replicate some of the problematic aspects of NTI

Elise Vider, chair of Design Advocacy Group, raises concerns about developer Bart Blatstein’s two recent proposals, the tower complex at Broad and Washington and an auto-centric strip mall on the Delaware waterfront. “At both of these sensitive locations, we should build something human-scale, accessible, and beautiful that brings meaningful amenities to the public and contributes to the urban experience. Bart Blatstein has done it before, and we know he can do it again.”

Meanwhile, The Playground, Blatstein’s mall-entertainment complex on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, will be experimenting with short-term pop-up leases to attract new retail concepts, Suzette Parmley reports. Blatstein touted their success at The Piazza in Northern Liberties. “‘It’s not just the large companies doing them, but also small businesses and start-ups to take their shot without costing an arm and a leg and a major commitment,’ he said. ‘We did them at Northern Liberties and it worked well. It keeps it fresh and changing.'”

Christopher Sawyer is surprised at how far into Kensington small rehabbers are venturing along the MFL these days, and says Harrowgate is an undervalued market. “Right now it’s a renter’s paradise in terms of cost and investors are mostly buy-and-hold but some rehabs have been going on, and this is only going to increase as the realization hits more people that this neighborhood is transit-and-park perfection at a very minimal cost.”

Mark Dent is skeptical that Temple’s football stadium would only cost $126 million, as projected. Drexel professor of sports management Joel Maxcy tells Dent that union construction costs likely put the project cost closer to $200 million. “That’s bothered me ever since they started putting it out there,” he said. “To me that’s not a realistic number.” 

The PennLive editorial board says it’s time to retire the saying, attributed to political consultant James Carville, that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in the middle. “Harrisburg, Lancaster and York all boast burgeoning arts, music and restaurant scenes. Walk through Midtown Harrisburg on a Friday night and you’ll find folks enjoying meals at Note, The Millworks and other trendy spots or taking a show at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center.” (Fun fact: The quote is often paraphrased as “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh” but Carville didn’t actually say this. The actual quote: “Between Paoli and Penn Hills, Pennsylvania is Alabama without the blacks. They didn’t film The Deer Hunter there for nothing — the state has the second-highest concentration of NRA members, behind Texas.”)

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