October 18: Council approves school, money swap | SRC rejects plan to sell art | PHA manager indicted for embezzlement | City controller debate | Liberty Bell, Independence Hall open | Walnut Street fastest-rising rent

Good morning Eyes on the Street! Here’s some end of the week news for you.

Philadelphia City Council authorized Mayor Nutter to transfer $50 million to the School District in exchange for a portfolio of shuttered school buildings, but it is unclear what Nutter will do. While Nutter and his cabinet have repeatedly objected to Council’s plan to swap money for empty schools, the mayor may not have a choice, The Inquirer Reports. If Nutter does agree to the plan, the $50 million would not be available until the city reached an agreement with the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID), which would be expected to market and sell the schools. 

The School Reform Commission voted unanimously to oppose the sale of its esteemed art collection. The collection includes 60 paintings that have been locked away since 2004. The proceeds of the sale would have one to the SRC’s general fund.

A former Philadelphia Housing Authority manager was indicted for allegedly embezzling rent money from PHA tenants. The manager served as Supervisory Asset Manager at PHA and allegedly embezzled nearly $8,000 in rent money, which she deposited into her personal bank account. 

Committee of Seventy will hold a debate between Democratic incumbent Alan Butkovitz and Republican challenger Terry Tracy, who are competing for the city controller position in the upcoming Nov. 5 general election. The debate is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7p.m. at WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street. 

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are open again after the 16-day government shutdown. At Valley Forge National Historical Park, employees removed the 40 barriers and 200 traffic cones that had kept people out during the shutdown. About 46,880 federal employees work in the Philadelphia and Camden metro areas. Federal workers who were furloughed or worked without pay will receive back pay in their next paychecks. 

Walnut Street has the fastest-rising retail rent in the country, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. Rents rose by 34 percent in the past year alone but still remain comparatively low, at an average of $107 per square foot, versus $3,052 on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, $1,325 on NYC’s Madison Avenue and $450 on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Ca. 

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