Analysis: City-Owned Parking Lots Are Worth More Than the City Thinks

(The City is forgoing $3,208,000 to subsidize parking on E. Passyunk Avenue) Philadelphia owns more vacant property than any of our peer cities, and in recent times, politicians have been trying to inventory what we have, and offload some of it.  Continue reading

Five Answers About Rebuild (Spoiler: Council Wins)

Back in early March, we outlined the five most important questions about Rebuild. Council passed an amended version of the bill in the last meeting of the session on June 22nd, so let’s see how things panned out. Continue reading

Sánchez Proposes Inclusionary Zoning-for-Upzoning Bill. Can Philly's Housing Market Handle That?

(Multifamily buildings would have to set aside 10% of units for people making 50% of Area Median Income) Before breaking for summer vacation, Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez introduced a last-minute bill that, if enacted, would create an inclusionary housing requirement for new buildings of 10 units or larger. Continue reading

Philly Needs Inexpensive Housing in Addition to "Affordable Housing"

(Home First Development in Portland creates inexpensive housing) Philadelphia has an above-average supply of low-cost housing, but we also have a very high population of people who earn so little money that they can't afford even the most inexpensive housing. Continue reading

Darrell Clarke Bill Wants You to Pay for Other People's Parking

Council President Darrell Clarke is a guy who brags about driving to the corner store, so it's no surprise that his vision for the 5th Council District looks a lot more like the suburban sprawl of Phoenix or Atlanta than the rowhouse neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Continue reading

To Fix Philly's Business Climate, Start With Mysterious Business Process

You can't go a day on social media in 2017 without seeing a story or listicle about how Philadelphia is on the upswing. And compared to our own recent history, this is true. There's a lot of good stuff happening, and some amount of self-back patting is appropriate. But as a corrective, everyone should also read Christy Speer Lejune's piece at Philly Mag pouring a big glass of ice water on all the happy talk about Philly's economy.  Continue reading

Lame Excuses from Council Supporters of Wolf's 'Tech Tax'

(Councilman Bill Greenlee | Photo credit: Emma Lee / WHYY) Last Thursday, Council barely passed a resolution calling on Gov. Wolf to drop plans to reinstate the “tech tax” as part of the state’s upcoming budget process. Typically, resolutions are passed without any push-back. But this only slid through at 9-7, despite testimony from local tech leaders describing how the tax would harm Philly's technology economy. Continue reading

Allan Domb: Upzone City-Owned Properties Before, Not After, Sales

(Councilmember Allan Domb) Councilman Allan Domb is a real estate pro, but ever since he was elected to City Council in 2015, he's tended to avoid playing to type and really owning the real estate and zoning issue set.  Continue reading

Luxury Housing and Jobs: Can the Tail Wag the Dog?

(500 Walnut under construction | Photo: Jon Geeting) My friend Jake Blumgart is a guy with a pretty unimpeachable set of lefty credentials, so it was a lot of fun to read his unlikely apologia for ultra-luxury housing in PlanPhilly this week.  Continue reading

Younger Voters Stepped Up in the 2017 Primary, and Outsider Candidates Won

Back in March, we wondered whether there was going to be a 'Trump Bump' in the 2017 municipal primaries. There had been a ton of buzz around local political engagement brought on by the 2016 Presidential election outcome, but it wasn't yet clear if that was just going to translate into a lot of rallies, or if people were going to be more motivated to vote.  Continue reading