March 31: CHOP’s poor urbanism | Slumlord’s empire back on the block | Blatstein buying Foxwoods site (again) | Jefferson buys PSFS at 7th and Walnut | Unmeasurable KOZ

Welcome to the working week, Streeters. Here’s a real estate roundup to start your Monday:

This week we’ll be hearing more about the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s plans to build a research campus on the east side of the Schuylkill River. CHOP’s plans will be presented to the Civic Design Review Committee on April 1 and at a neighborhood zoning meeting the next night. Inga Saffron decried the CHOP project’s poor urbanism, most notably its fortress like parking garage, in her column Friday. A 17 to 38 foot high blank garage wall will face residences on Schuylkill Avenue to the west and another long, dead wall will face the Schuylkill River Trail. “No amount of lavish landscaping can put lipstick on this pig,” she writes and again suggests design solutions on the neighborhood side: commercial spaces would to create a more hospitable transition between the research towers and neighborhood scale. 

On May 1, Kenpor LP will auction off 86 properties in Kensington and Port Richmond, reports the Inquirer. Kenpor was unable to repair, clear mounting property violations, and put these pieces of slumlord Robert Coyle’s empire into productive hands. The auction will only require bidders to $6,500 into an escrow account for improvements but some fear that will not be sufficient to cover the necessary repairs.

Developer Bart Blatstein is reportedly buying the Foxwoods casino site in South Philadelphia for $13 million, reports the Inquirer. The deal includes conveyance of a100-foot wide strip along the waterfront to the Natural Lands Trust, to create a new segment of the Delaware River trail between Tasker and Reed streets, and a major tax settlement with the city. Blatstein assembled this property in 1993 and sold it to casino interests.

Jefferson has leased the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society building at 7th and Walnut for outpatient care, the Business Journal reports. It’s the latest move in a strange health center turf battle between Penn and Jefferson along stretches of Chestnut and Walnut streets west of Washington Square. The PSFS bank was most recently a steakhouse.

A report from the City Controller’s office recently detailed burdens and failings of Keystone Opportunity Zones. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey details how the KOZ program is not designed to create measurable outcomes – from the program’s ultimate tax cost, investment spurred, or jobs created.

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