Good morning! Today is chillier than yesterday and it promises to rain again, so keep those umbrellas handy. Here’s your Tuesday am Buzz:
Last night developer Bart Blatstein met with the Callowhill Neighbors Association to answer questions about his casino/resort/entertainment megaplex hopes for the former Inquirer/Daily News property at Broad and Callowhill. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey was on hand and reports that Blatstein reiterated his pitch: The Provence complex will be so fabulous that it will attract wealthier people with disposable income, not low-rollers. “We’ll get our target market because we don’t have any competition,” Blatstein said. Design-wise Blatstein called his plan the best devised for an urban center in America. (We’re sure he didn’t mean that as faint praise, but take that as you will.) Again, Blatstein said, there is “No Plan B” should he not be awarded the casino license.
Philadelphia’s PA House delegation will introduce four bills today that will facilitate Philadelphia’s property-tax reform efforts, reports the Inquirer. The package of legislation will enable the city to put liens on all property owned by landlords if they are delinquent on property taxes, provide tax-relief for longtime neighborhood residents based on age and income, and push for a Constitutional amendment that would permit the city to tax commercial and residential properties at different rates.
An outside audit of the Delaware River Port Authority revealed by poor internal communication and coordination as well as “friction” among public officials, the Inquirer reports. Among the management audit’s 104 recommendations: better planning, more ways to measure performance, overcome disputes between DRPA police and homeland security division management, get PATCO and DRPA police on the same radio frequency, improve worker safety, upgrade tech, and give the new inspector general more staff to trace waste and abuse at DRPA.
Eva Gladstein will lead Philadelphia’s new Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, a new cabinet-level office to confront issues of homelessness, hunger, and job preparedness. The Inquirer reports that the new office will absorb the work (and staff) of the Mayor’s Office of Community Service, funded through a $7.1 million federal grant. MOCEO will examine how public agencies are serving low-income residents to evaluate the effectiveness of poverty-reduction efforts, and track new funding opportunities. Eva Gladstein oversaw the city’s recent zoning reform process, and is currently Deputy Planning Commissioner. Eva, thanks for your hard work at the ZCC and Planning Commission. We’re excited to see what you’ll do in your new role.
The Prince Music Theater has emerged from bankruptcy with new owners, regional leaders in business and real estate, and a push to revive the Chestnut Street theater. The Inquirer explores the changes ahead at the Prince, including a new board and managing director, and the Prince’s repositioning as a mini-performing arts center that can host a variety of performances at different scales.
The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.