Testing SEPTA’s New Payment Technology | Visions of North Broad | Storm affects absentee vote | $60m deal for 907 Market | Big storms, big government

We’ve been paying lots of attention to Sandy, but the storm isn’t the only newsworhty item. Here’s a lunchtime edition of The Buzz to play post-storm catch-up.

SEPTA is testing out its New Payment Technology (NPT) system on the 18th floor of 1234 Market Street, installing two of every machine in a former storage room. PlanPhilly’s Christine Fisher visited the NPT testing space and offers an update on SEPTA’s timeline. Christine reports that “SEPTA will use the room to develop the final equipment prototypes, offer technical training to staff, test the products with its ‘extended transit family’ and work out any kinks that may arise.” SEPTA says the transition to NPT will be complete by this time next year. As for our tokens? They’ll be sold for scrap.

Along North Broad street, the urban development visions of developers Bart Blatstein and Eric Blumenfeld couldn’t be more different, argues Next American City’s Diana Lind. Of Blatstein’s casino/resort plan, Lind writes: “The Provence ignores the neighborhood’s innate style and emergent culture. It relies upon projected job creation and consumer spending to justify its existence. It uses the unpardonable tactic of gambling to generate tax revenue. And instead of cultivating public space, it privatizes its amenities and shuns the streetscape.” By contrast if Blumenfeld’s plans for an educational campus on the land surrounding the Divine Lorraine succeeds “he’ll not only have revitalized a neighborhood in need of stronger anchor institutions, but he’ll have created a new model for development” and shown that developers can be social entrepreneurs.

Election Day is a week away and for some places trying to recover from Sandy, voting could prove a real challenge. Pennsylvania has extended its deadline for voters to request absentee ballots, reports the Inquirer. The deadline for county election offices to receive absentee ballots is still Friday and the state is not recommended that voters submit via mail due to disruptions in service.

Vornado Realty Trust has entered into an agreement to sell 907 Market to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust for $60 million, reports Philly Deals. When PREIT acquires 907 Market (the building where Kmart is) it will own three blocks of Market Street, and make a major renovation of The Gallery possible.

A big storm requires big government,’ editorializes the New York Times.

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