September 21: Top-down public spectacle | Weinstein’s Wayne Junction dream | ‘Ugly produce’

ZBA’s decision last week to reject rezoning a vacant West Poplar warehouse for apartments sends a message about pushing diversity in the construction industry, Inga Saffron argues. The core of the problem, Saffron writes, is the developer and local community association’s irregular deal that would ensure 50 percent minority hiring and 10 percent hiring locally, regardless of union status. Saffron parses the board’s logic in spite of PCPC’s support and the unlikelihood that “virtually the only large industrial building to survive the urban clearance that created West Poplar in the 1990s” would be retrofitted to suit modern manufacturing, arguing that union politics continue to supersede opportunities to increase minority participation in construction.

And for your daily dose of Amazon courtship, Larry Platt asks if Philadelphia’s “decidedly” top-down approach is business attraction or “public spectacle.” Platt compares Philly’s bid to Pittsburgh’s and challenges the city’s decision to not maximize our “ingredients to be a global city.” To think and pitch different, he suggests including the faces leading the local tech, entrepreneurship, and anchor institution scenes, such as Penn President Amy Gutman or “startup pied piper Bob Moul.”

Developer Ken Weinstein unveils his latest vision: the revitalization of Wayne Junction. GroJart, contributing to Hidden City, looks at the $6 million, 40,000 square foot mixed-use development project that would essentially create a new neighborhood surrounding the transit station, including a café, retail, offices, affordable housing, and public art. Weinstein purchased the seven properties for the development over several years and is joining forces with Nicetown and Germantown United CDCs, PWD, Mural Arts, the Commerce Department, and Fairmount Park Conservancy to execute the “genegration” effort.

Mark Dent looks into the financial hurdles for Philadelphia to develop affordable housing, including Area Median Income calculations, the cost of building and maintaining buildings, and shrinking federal subsidies and Section 8 vouchers.

PhillyCAM’s latest episode of Around the Corner features Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest’s work with Philabundance to recover ‘ugly produce’ designated for the waste stream for food donation and subsidized subscription boxes.

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