March 19: Retail/residential complex for Market East | More collapses | replacing Blumberg | Car commuters outnumbered in core | Amtrak argues for funds

Good day, Streeters. Don’t’ forget to bring your umbrella today.

Once again developers have announced plans to raze the 1100 block of Market Street – and eventually the same block of Chestnut – making way for a new mixed retail/residential complex. The Inquirer reports that plans for “East Market” are progressing, no zoning variances are required, and demolition of the old N. Snellenburg department store could begin in July. In the first phase two new buildings will be built on Market Street and feature “Times Square-style signs, that will be topped by 325 apartments (at perhaps $2,200 a month for a one-bedroom unit), with parking underground.” Other nearby properties – the Snellenburg warehouse and Girard office building – will be emptied and renovated as well. “We’re going to make Market Street cool again,” said a developer rep. Developers will use $7.5 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding from the state, saying it’s expensive to build in Philly.

Two more buildings collapsed over the weekend. The Daily News checked in on Cleveland and 6th Street neighbors dealing with the collapses, about a mile apart, who want the same thing: more action from the city. Meanwhile L&I doesn’t have enough money to take down every imminently dangerous building, only triage.

The Inquirer looks at the Housing Authority plan to demolish the Blumberg public housing towers in Sharswood in favor of a mix of townhouses. With a key tax credit in place and approvals by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development pending, Phase 1 of construction could break ground next year.

Which neighborhoods have the fewest car commuters? This Old City takes a look, finding unsurprisingly that Center City, University City and along the Broad Street Line have a majority of non-car commuting households.

Amtrak is hoping to use profits from the Northeast Corridor line to invest in upgrades along the route, rather than subsidize less profitable routes elsewhere, the Inquirer reports. “The nation cannot afford to let a railroad that carries half of Amtrak’s trains and 80 percent of the nation’s rail commuters fall apart; the economic consequences would be devastating,” Amtrak president Joseph Boardman wrote to congressional leaders this week, arguing for increased federal assistance for operating costs and capital improvements.

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