Episcopal Cathedral granted hardship | Convention Center critiques | Aker Shipyard humming | Columbia Avenue Connector update | AVI facts, neighborhood analysis

Happy Monday, Streeters. Today’s going to be another hot, humid one and the city’s public schools will close at noon.

The Historical Commission approved the Episcopal Cathedral’s demolition of two historic brownstones to make way for a 25-story residential tower on its University City campus. The Cathedral contends that the tower development will support the Cathedral’s maintenance and programs. PlanPhilly’s JoAnn Greco was at Friday’s Historical Commission meeting where after a lengthy hearing, commissioners voted in support of the Episcopal Cathedral’s contentious “public interest” hardship claim by a vote of 8-2.

Despite the Convention Center’s expansion its bookings are lagging, and the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association isn’t pleased, reports the Inquirer. Issues with union labor (rules, cost, and behavior) are among the concerns voiced by past and would-be convention groups. The slow pace and number of bookings for 2014 is worrying hotel operators.

At the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard work is humming along on tanker ships that will keep the yard busy through 2014, reports the Inquirer. Aker nearly closed operations at the Navy Yard last year, but thanks to the new work employees have been steadily rehired and an apprentice program restarted.

Design work is moving along for the Columbia Avenue Connector project, reports PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates amid other waterfront project updates from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. A public meeting about the Columbia Avenue Connector will take place June 19 at 5:30pm at the corner of Girard and Columbia Avenues where NKCDC will reveal a new art lighting and artist Donald Lipski and designers from Studio Bryan Hanes will be on hand to discuss ideas for the connector and seek public input.

Tom Ferrick breaks down the facts about property tax reform in today’s Metropolis, including a handy analysis how neighborhoods’ average tax assessments will shift.

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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