May 27: Ardmore transit-oriented development approved | Apartments replacing Abbott Square parking | Philly in ‘Homefront’

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court cleared the way for Carl Dranoff’s transit-oriented development project in Ardmore, that’s been held up for a decade by legal challenges for years, reports Maria Panaritis. The ruling will release $10.5 million in state RACP funds to build the parking garage that Lower Merion Township officials required for the project. “In an order that consisted of a single sentence, the state’s highest court affirmed a Commonwealth Court ruling late last year allowing state grant money to be used to help build Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place.”

EB Realty Management is making major renovations to Abbott Square in Society Hill, overlooking Headhouse Square, reports Natalie Kostelni. Changes are in store for the building’s retail spaces, including an expansion of the Wawa to include cafe seating (is that a hint six-packs are coming?) and, perhaps most notably, the conversion of the third floor of the building’s underused parking garage into 47 new apartments. 

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez wants to crack down on rogue towing companies who illegally tow vehicles from legal parking spots, reports Claire Sasko. “Sanchez introduced a pair of bills that would create a “curb cut registry” and further empower the city to penalize illegal tows, preventing expensive and inconvenient situations for residents.”

Uber is offering Pennsylvania more company data to entice the Public Utility Commission to lower the $11 million fine they levied against the company for illegally operating in the state. 

Hayden Mitman explores the virtual Philadelphia in the new video game Homefront: The Revolution. 

PennDOT launched a new GIS site as part of the state’s new Open Data executive order. 

Our morning links usually focus on the same topics PlanPhilly itself covers: planning, economic development, transportation, the built environment, and the politics and economics to those topics. But exceptions are made for exceptional circumstances. PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa went to Georgetown Law with Austin Tice, who left law school in his third year to document the civil war in Syria as a freelance war correspondent. As he was attempting to leave Syria, Austin was kidnapped. That was in August 2012. He’s been missing since, but is presumed to still be alive. On this week’s On the Media, Bob Garfield spoke to Austin’s parents. Please give it a listen. For more on Austin’s disappearance and why he went over there, we recommend this Texas Monthly profile.

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