Jan 31: BIA fights O’Neill’s commercial zoning changes | Manayunk’s drinking problem | no veto override for Electric Factory ad | Cira South update | uphill battle for Actual Value Initiative

Good morning and happy Thursday. After last night’s storm the temperature is expected to drop 40° by 5pm, so don’t be fooled by the warm morning. Here’s what’s making news today:

The Building Industry Association of Philadelphia is urging Council not to de-densify mixed-use commercial corridors through Councilman Brian O’Neill’s planned commercial zoning changes. In a letter to City Council members shared with PlanPhilly, Anne Fadullon, president of the BIA, urged City Council members to reconsider a provision intended to significantly restrict the number of residential units above commercial space, saying the move could spur greater vacancy and create a loss in value. What makes commercial corridors thrive, Fadullon writes, is a strong residential population within easy walking distance. “The importance of allowing multi-family units over commercial is crucial to the lifeblood of Philadelphia’s commercial corridors. In many cases allowing multi-family residencies on the upper floors is the revenue difference between restoring a storefront building to use or letting it remain vacant.”

Can Manayunk reclaim its weekends from rowdy public drunkenness? Residents have long been frustrated with their noise, puke, and public urination that come each weekend when Main Street is overrun with drunk twentysomethings. But the Daily News reports that Manayunk community members and bar owners met this week with members of the District Attorney’s office and Liquor Control Enforcement to discuss their mutual problem. “This is a collaborative effort to see what we can do,” said Assistant District Attorney Beth Grossman, chief of the Public Nuisance Task Force.

Mayor Nutter vetoed the proposed seven-story advertising wrap planned for the Electric Factory last week, and now Councilman Mark Squilla says he won’t move to have City Council override the veto. The Daily News reports that Squilla was persuaded because the city stood to lose 10% of its federal funding because the billboard at 7th and Callowhill would violate federal and state laws for being within 600 feet of a federal highway. Some revenue from the huge ad would have provided funding to three schools through a community benefits agreement.

Brandywine Realty Trust has started foundation work on the long-awaited “Cira South” complex, reports Philadelphia Real Estate Blog. The Cira South project is two buildings- at 30th and Walnut (a 36-story tower) and one at 30th and Chestnut (a 30-story tower) with the existing parking garage in between. Site prep has begun at Cira Chestnut, which is slated to be a residential tower geared at graduate students above ground floor retail. The Business Journal explains why, after years of delay, Brandywine resumed its efforts at Cira South.

For the city’s property-tax reform efforts to move forward, the Pennsylvania legislature and electorate need to get behind several changes. Democratic state legislators met at the Constitution Center to collect testimony in support of these changes – which are far from a sure bet – from local politicians who have their own doubts and questions about the Actual Value Initiative. City Paper was on hand and reports that locally it’s a battle between yuppies and low-income residents, while at the state level it’s a test of the Democratic delegation to get majority votes from the Republican-controlled legislature.

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

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