In a major shake-up for South Philly’s most written-about restaurant row, Alex Tewfik at Eater reports Sam Sherman announced his resignation from the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation yesterday. These days, it’s common to hear corridor managers and economic development professionals praising the “PARC model” as something they aspire to recreate on other corridors. PARC, of course, is the legitimized version of the Citizens Alliance organization that got former state Senator Vince Fumo in trouble with the law, and a rough description of their model is that by acting as a major landlord and developer in the area, PARC has a free hand to actively curate the retail mix by selectively keeping rents low for tenants during their first few years of operation. Sherman’s also been a prominent advocate and developer of public space improvements in the area, most recently with the “sneckdown” intersection at 12th and Reed. Here’s a recent podcast Sherman taped with my friend Dave Speers for Phila-State that goes deeper into these topics. PlanPhilly readers will also recognize Sherman as the chair of the Historical Commission, so this news also raises the question of whether he intends to stay on the Commission during the Kenney administration.
Jacob Adelman reports the 126-year-old Frankford Chocolate Factory at 21st and Washington Avenue has been purchased by a consortium of developers, with plans to redevelop the site into a mix of housing and commercial amenities.
The Federal Railroad Administration has outlined three possible scenarios for upgrades to the Northeast Corridor, reports Jason Laughlin. The more ambitious scenarios aimed at growing the Northeast Corridor region would add stations at Philadelphia International Airport and/or Center City Philadelphia, presumably under Jefferson Station as has been floated previously. The pricetags for these scenarios are eye-popping, costing in the hundreds of billions. Alon Levy at Pedestrian Observations has suggested other ways to mimic the impacts of these improvements at 10% of the cost.
Brad Maule gets a first look at Philly’s first elevated park, the Cira Green–“a 1.25-acre oasis of green between two blue towers in Brandywine Realty Trust’s growing urban inventory.”
The final pieces of the Eastern Tower’s financing will be in place by next month, after which the project will be ready to break ground, reports Alaina Mabaso.
Tricia Nadolny talks to some Council watchers who expect a Mayor Jim Kenney and Council President Darrell Clarke to have a better working relationship than Nutter and Clarke had. Bill Green thinks Kenney has the upper hand in this relationship though, telling Nadolny “Mayor-elect Kenney has the ability to go directly to Council and around the Council president,” due in part to more new faces on Council.
At Flying Kite, Samantha Wittchen takes a closer look at South Kensington Community Partners’ strategy for making sure neighborhood growth is inclusive of long-time residents.
Oscar Perry Abello reads the new Democracy Collaborative report, which contrasts traditional economic development strategies with community wealth building strategies–an umbrella for things like land banks, community land trusts, worker cooperatives, and community-driven capital. The report highlights the Nutter administration’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity as an example, because it organizes anti-poverty efforts and asset-building efforts under one roof.
Rachel Kaufman explains why ride-hailing company Lyft is cozying up to public transit agencies as it puts down roots in more cities.