March 22: Liberty Property Trust’s updated Camden plans | JFK Blvd woonerf | Disappearing starter homes

New Jersey’s state Economic Development Authority approved Liberty Property Trust’s updated plans for an $830 million ofice and residential riverfront campus on the Camden waterfront, the Courier-Post reports. “[A] previous master plan  — created before Liberty Property announced its proposal in September 2015 — called for less than 500,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 1,600 homes. It also covered a larger site of almost 37.2 acres. Most of the commercial space in Liberty Property’s development will hold offices, with a 22 percent reduction in retail space, notes the master plan.”

The Schuylkill Yards plan envisions JFK Boulevard becoming a ‘woonerf’ (a curbless shared street,) says Inga Saffron. “The plan’s boldest move, however, is the creation of a heavily landscaped esplanade on what is now JFK Boulevard, between the station and 32nd Street…The esplanade will have no curbs, just a flat plaza with broad sidewalks and a protected bike lane.”

Columnist Stu Bykofsky, the long-time bike curmudgeon at the Daily News, will lead a group bike ride this spring, as a fundraiser for the People’s Emergency Center. Philly Mag reports Bykofsky will “donning the whole safety getup” and participants will follow all the rules of the road to the letter. “The goal… is to put together a massive group bike ride…in which every single participant follows the rules of the road. That means no running stop signs. No riding on sidewalks. ‘Stop at the fucking red lights,’ Stu said.” 

The Walnut Lane Bridge over the Wissahickon creek will be closed to everyone but pedestrians for the next five months, starting April first, reports Matthew Sheridan. 

There aren’t as many starter homes around after the Great Recession, in part because many of them were converted in rentals, writes Emily Badger. “According to Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, the number of starter homes on the market in the 100 largest U.S. metros has dropped by about 44 percent since 2012. That inventory has been shrinking at a faster rate than has been the case for mid-tier and premium homes…” Housing economist Tom Lawler, writing at Calculated Risk, says there’s also been a production shortfall in moderately-sized homeswhere “production of moderately sized homes has barely recovered from the cyclical lows, while production of big homes (3000+ square feet) has been running at a higher pace that in all but one year of the 1990’s.”

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