Good morning, Streeters.
Center City hotel operators are protesting the Tax Increment Financing deal being floated for the proposed W Hotel at the long-vacant lot at 15th and Chestnut streets. The TIF district requires the site to be classified as “blighted” and would allow the owners to divert millions to pay back the debt by diverting funds that would otherwise be paid in real estate taxes. PhillyDeals shares the letter of protest by the Concerned Hotel Owners of Philadelphia and the response by developer Brooks Lenfest who calls the other hoteliers “jealous.”
Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools protested outside of the posh 10 Rittenhouse Square, calling for an end to the 10-year real estate tax abatement to help bolster the city’s broke, strained school system, Philly.com reports. “While our schools are suffering, our city’s most wealthy building owners are not paying their fair share,” said activist and mother Kia Hinton. But economist Kevin Gillen sees it this way: “Basically, you trade off a little money in foregoing property tax revenue for 10 years in order to get more money from new economic development, new residents and new jobs.”
City Paper’s Daniel Denvir chronicles how the Philadelphia Housing Authority cannot come close to matching the demand for affordable housing among the city’s poorest residents. “The need for affordable housing in Philadelphia is frankly incredible, and PHA does not have the necessary resources to meet that need by itself,” said Kelvin Jeremiah, PHA’s CEO as of March.
PhillyHistory blog traces how Philadelphia’s rolling landscape was flattened and winding creeds overcome, making way for streetcars and new neighborhoods to be built through the 19th century, which led to one of the city’s “most egregious and purposeful bungles” – homes built on the fill hauled away became “an epidemic…of sagging porches, cracking foundations.” That is the origins of Logan Triangle.
Tonight Hidden City Daily’s Nathaniel Popkin will celebrate the release of his new historical fiction novel, “Lion and Leopard” with a book reading and gallery tour at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a central setting in the book. Popkin discussed the book with NewsWorks, exploring ideas about originality, cultural control, and artistic expression.