May 6: Curbing bandit signs | Dilworth Plaza update | University City apt demand | PPA’s new customer service office | Scouts out | Homestead exemption outreach

Welcome to the working week, Streeters. We hope you enjoyed this glorious weekend. Here’s what’s making news today:

Is it curtains for bandit signs? The Streets Department has started robot-calling the phone numbers on bandit signs to annoy people into removing the signs, writes Ronnie Polaneczky in her Daily News column. The robot-calls deliver a recorded message stating that the fine for each sign is $75, offering a phone number to call to discuss, and promising to keep calling every 15 minutes until the signs come down.

Crews are almost finished with subterranean work (elevators, concourses, utilities) at Dilworth Plaza, and next month the redesigned plaza will start to take shape as workers start work above ground. In June crews will pour concrete to cap the site and begin work on the plaza’s new street-level, the Inquirer reports.

Will new high-rise housing around Penn and Drexel (Domus, the Hub, the Radian, the Grove, etc) diminish demand for other University City apartments? PhillyDeals put the question to Al Krigman of KRF Management, who says he’s not worried about his smaller properties because there are still plenty of University students, staff and faculty who can’t or don’t want to pay $2,000 in monthly rent.

Now that the Philadelphia Parking Authority is moving into space in the former Strawbridge’s building at 8th and Market, PPA is also turning ground-floor commercial space in its garage up 8th Street into its new customer service center. Naked Philly noticed the change, and was hopeful about a bit of retail revival in this gloomy space. As one commenter notes, however, better lighting would do the most good to improve the gloomy overpass that darkens 8th between Arch and Filbert.

After years of legal dispute, the Cradle of Liberty Council -Boy Scouts of America has agreed to leave its headquarters at 22nd and Winter Streets, the Business Journal reports. The Boy Scouts built its council headquarters on city-owned land in 1928, and subsequently paid $1 in annual rent to lease the land. But due to the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory practices the city ordered the council to vacate the premises or pay market-rate rent. To settle a subsequent lawsuit, the Boy Scouts will leave in June and October of this year and the city will pay the Boy Scouts $825,000 in consideration for their improvements to the property.

Hey homeowners: it’s not too late to sign up for the homestead exemption. City Council recently extended the deadline to September 13. NewsWorks reports that Councilman Bobby Henson plans to go door-to-door in his district with volunteers to make sure that the 14,000 homeowners who have not applied yet know about the exemption.

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

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