November 15: Reform, reasonable ideas | NTSB: Amtrak at fault | Rethinking real estate

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) finds Amtrak at fault for the 2016 passenger train crash outside Chester that killed two maintenance workers, WHYY News’ Laura Benshoff reports. NTSB presented the findings of its investigation at a public meeting Tuesday, citing more than two dozen “unsafe conditions” and “poor communication between the night foremen and day foremen.” NTSB criticized a “culture of fear” at Amtrak and included “work collaboratively with labor” in several recommendations moving forward.

Is the GOP tax reform plan an attack on cities? Diana Lind goes into the elements of the proposed tax changes, counterproposals, and the “basis in reasonable ideas.” Lind points out previous efforts to replace direct federal subsidies with public-private partnerships versus current reform to “replace them with nothing.” Recognizing the risk of losing federal incentives, Lind brings up a few alternative strategies using local and state resources.

Real estate advisor Glenn Blumenfeld, contributing to the Philadelphia Business Journal, writes about coworking spaces in Philadelphia and the industry’s impact on the future of corporate real estate. Blumenfeld covers the appeal of the flexible, minimal commitment model, Gen Y and Millennial workers’ interest in sociable spaces, and businesses’ need to preserve capital. He concludes that as commercial landlords are rethinking models for an entirely new class of tenant, the real estate industry will also need to prepare for the needs of these businesses’ next growth stage.

Preservation and commercial real estate in Philadelphia makes national news: Jon Hurdle, contributing to the NY Times, writes about preservation efforts in the midst of the city’s construction boom. Hurdle interviews the Preservation Task Force chairman Harris Steinberg, the Historical Commission’s Jon Farnham, the Preservation Alliance’s Paul Steinke, and PhillyOfficeRetail’s Ken Weinstein on demolition, adaptive reuse, new construction, and the federal historic building tax credit. Hurdle covers the certain and uncertain fates of several properties, including the Frankford Chocolate Factory in South Philly, five buildings on Jewelers Row, and Divine Lorraine Hotel.

Speaking of the Frankford Chocolate Factory, Naked Philly recaps Monday’s followup community meeting with developer U3 Advisors, architect Cecil Baker, and the South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA). U3 Advisors introduced the general site plan with the proposal to preserve the most historic elements of the property, convert the factory building into residential, and demolish the newer sections for new construction.

Hidden City Philadelphia’s Nathaniel Popkin wants Philadelphians to use the newly published Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City “as the raw material for our dreams.” On NewsWorks Tonight, Popkin discusses with Dave Heller preservation and the “nuanced way of thinking about the way cities change.”

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