September 6: Brandywine buying Commerce Square | Council and the land bank | PHA could keep Queen Lane Apts | Economic advice for Philly | West Parkside Bees | Philly is happy

Happy Friday, Streeters!

Brandywine Realty is buying One and Two Commerce Square for $331.8 million, the Business Journal reports. Brandywine was already 25% owner of the 41-story office towers on Market Street.

Is it possible to turn Council’s attention back to land banking? The Daily News reports that advocates are hoping to reignite conversation about a city land bank, which derailed during tough negotiations about property tax reform and the school budget crisis. Among the sticking points: City Council’s power in the process. “The councilmanic prerogative and authority over vacant land cannot be diminished,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, the land bank bill’s sponsor.

Will the Philadelphia Housing Authority keep the Queen Lane Apartments? PHA and neighbors have been in two years of conversation about the future of the site, where PHA hoped to replace the tower with rowhouse-scale housing. PHA is seriously considering renovation instead of demolition. As NewsWorks reports, “Tearing down the building has been perhaps the only facet of the project on which most of the neighborhood agreed.”

Economic geographer Jim Russell has some advice for Philly in conversation with Next City: Don’t sweat brain drain, New York is a competitor- proximity to it is an asset, and physical development isn’t the same as economic development. That and tidbits about gentrification as “spatial class warfare” but also as primarily a fear of “outsiders.”

The Philadelphia Bee Company is keeping West Parkside buzzing with rooftop bee boxes on top of the Philadelphia Business & Technology Center. NBC10 takes a look at the rooftop colony, the partnership’s efforts to support these urban pollinators, and their shared honey crop.

Are you happy? A new poll ranks Philly as America’s third happiest city, the Business Journal reports. 

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