Point Breeze eminent domain passes | Furness’s industrial flourishes, caricatures | Convent housing conversion | Blatstein sued | $37m funding restored to agencies, programs

Happy Friday, Streeters. Here’s what’s making news today.

The bill authorizing the city to use eminent domain on 17 vacant properties in Point Breeze passed City Council unanimously on Thursday, reports City Paper. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced the legislation, which originally would have condemned 43 properties, to incentivize affordable housing development in the tense, changing neighborhood. Opponents of the bill like Ori Feibush, one of the neighborhood’s most visible and active private developers, call it a land grab and argue that the city should be using the neighborhood’s city-owned vacant property in the neighborhood before it goes reaching for more.

NewsWorks previews this weekend’s symposium on Frank Furness, exploring the great architect’s playful caricatures on display in the Athenaeum and discussing why Furness’s industrial architecture was so at home in Philadelphia, a city run by engineers, but snubbed elsewhere. Be sure to click through the beautiful photographs of Furness buildings in the region. The symposium, Frank Furness: His City, His World, begins tonight.

At a meeting on Wednesday night Columbus Property Management (CPM) plans to convert the former Sisters of Nazareth Convent on Holme Avenue into affordable housing, geared at veterans, but neighbors aren’t entirely comfortable with the plan. NEast Philly reports that Holme Circle, Ashton Square, and Winchester Park neighbors are “concerned about CPM’s inability to guarantee that the 44 new housing units will be reserved for veterans.” Neighbors want to support veterans, “but are wary about welcoming affordable housing into the neighborhood with so little concrete information from CPM.” No variances are required but discussion of the project is already on January’s agenda for the Holme Circle Civic Association.

The owners of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com are suing Bart Blatstein for failing to return their security deposit, the Inquirer reports. After Blatstein bought the newspapers’ headquarters at 400 North Broad Street, they paid a $340,500 security deposit, $56,750 of which has been repaid.

City Council restored $37 million in funding to agencies and programs, including $2.6 million for parks and recreation, reports the Inquirer. The had $49 million more than anticipated in the city’s fund balance, which was mostly allocated to the Office of Property Assessment, Law Department, and Department of Human Services.

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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