October 7: Saffron on Pennovation | Rezoning for Schuylkill Yards | NJ gas tax and light rail

Inga Saffron reviews the Pennovation Center, Penn’s new outpost on the Lower Schuylkill to house researchers and startups, finding the architecture successfully blends design and branding, and “announces the future” in ways that communicate the incubator’s mission.

A pedestrian was killed trying to cross Kelly Drive yesterday near Brewery Hill Drive, reports the Inquirer. “There is not a crosswalk or traffic signal there, though there have been numerous calls, including in a 2014 plan for Fairmount Park, for them to be placed at the intersection.”

Legislative rezoning is in the works to support Drexel and Brandywine’s Schuylkill Yards. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell introduced a bill to rezone an area around 30th Street Station as CMX-5, reports the Business Journal. “The $3.5 billion project will be developed in six phases on 10 acres of land Drexel owns around its campus and be built over a 20-year period. The first phase is expected to begin during the first half of 2018 and consist of a 700,000-square-foot mixed-use facility of which office space will account for at least 60 percent.”

For City & State, Ryan Briggs takes a deep dive into the effects of an “obscure government auction program for distressed Federal Housing Administration loans” that are sold to private equity firms. “Pennsylvania is one of the real estate markets hit hardest by federal asset sales. Even more troubling is the paradox of the state’s existing protections for homeowners actually driving large banks to jettison even more risky assets through HUD auctions.” As banks look to cash out, homeowners are at risk of losing their homes, often unaware of their rights and unprepared when their debt has been sold off to entities with little sympathy for their situations looking to profit.

The bill to raise New Jersey’s gas tax would also set up a committee to build light rail in Bergen, Camden, and Gloucester counties, NJ.com explains.

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