June 19: Blatstein’s vision for Broad and Washington | Planning for Comcast tower | Open data frustrations | PHA and unions cut deal | Inside Beth Shalom Synagogue

Happy Thursday Streeters. Like a jolt of coffee, here’s your morning Buzz: 

Developer Bart Blatstein shared his vision for the vacant northeast corner of Broad and Washington streets: a vertical version of the Piazza where retail meets rental housing. The Business Journal shares what details there are for the possible 30-story tower. In Blatstein’s words: “I want to take everything I’ve done in Northern Liberties that is spread over several blocks and put it in one place. It’s a self-contained community where you will never want to leave.

The Inquirer checks in on the planning underway for the new Comcast tower slated for 18th and Arch, from work habits to restaurant design, led by Comcast’s Karen Buchholz. Excavation should begin within a month.

Why did Mark Headd, the city’s first Chief Data Officer quit? Frustration, he told Technically Philly. “We were constantly using 20th century answers to problems that required a 21st century solution.” One major frustration was the Revenue Department’s unwillingness to let anyone use an API Headd’s team built to provide real-time property tax balance data. More than that, Headd found a culture of resistance to deep transparency and data integration.

Building trade unions have agreed to cut labor costs by 20% when working on Philadelphia Housing Authority projects, which conceivably will permit PHA to build more units. The Inquirer explains that PHA currently doesn’t have to employ union workers. In exchange for cost cutting agreement PHA has committed to only hire contractors who hire union workers.

Hidden City Daily’s Brad Maule pays a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s extraordinary Beth Shalom Synagogue in Elkins Park, an “illuminated Mount Sinai” dedicated months after Wright’s death in 1959. It’s a marvel of light and geometry.

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