Council seeks zoning reform rollbacks | groundbreaking LGBT senior housing | Whole Foods’ undisclosed location | SEPTA’s encouragement | voter turnout

Good morning and happy Friday, Streeters! 

The new zoning code has only been in effect since August, but City Council is poised roll back some of the new code’s most progressive ideas. Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron blasts the proposed legislation in her column today, casting Council’s moves as another clash between reform-minded “New Philadelphia” and the entrenched old guard. She writes: “Don’t be fooled: Council’s changes are aimed squarely at checking the urbanist agenda that New Philadelphia has been pursuing. Council’s intervention would compromise city plans for waterfront recreation paths, make it harder to contain Philadelphia’s insatiable appetite for parking, and, worst of all, sabotage the effort to simplify the development process – which was the whole point of rewriting the zoning code.”

Today construction will officially begin on the $19.5 million LGBT-friendly senior housing complex in the Gayborhood, reports the Daily News. The building will feature 56 apartments, 2,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, and a 5,000 square-foot courtyard for residents. Construction should be finished next December.

But where will the Callowhill Whole Foods store move!? The Inquirer reports that a confidentiality agreement means mum’s the word. Here’s what we know: Whole Foods has signed a lease with developer Neal Rodin to construct a 55,000 square foot store somewhere near the Art Museum. The huge store would sit above a huge underground parking garage, with 250 apartments above. The new store would open in 2017. UPDATED: The Business Journal reports that the new Whole Foods will be located at 22nd and Pennsylvania Avenue.

On Seta’s Broad-Ridge spur, LED displays have encouraging messages for commuters. In addition to the date and time, the signs might say: Great people do great things. or Set your thoughts to be your best. or Today is a good day to show respect.  NewsWorks reports that SEPTA’s control center started sending out the messages eight months ago “as a way to cheer up commuters having a bad day.” These messages can appear on any of SEPTA’s LED signs, but show up more frequently on the Broad-Ridge spur because there are fewer service updates.

Philadelphia’s voter turnout was about 60%, and in some wards President Obama received more than 99% of the vote, reports the Inquirer.


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