The ZBA Approves Industrial Conversions All the Time. Why Not the Quaker Building?

(Quaker Building | Photo: Post Brothers) Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron uses her column this week to blast the Zoning Board of Adjustment for their transparently political rejection of Post Brothers' redevelopment plan for the Quaker Building at 9th and Poplar.  Continue reading

Wayne Junction Proposal is the Development Model Philly Needs

(City Council should let more people live and work near Wayne Junction | Image: Philadelphia Zoning Map) Northwest Philly developer Ken Weinstein announced a major new redevelopment plan for the Wayne Junction regional rail station area this week, reports Jacob Adelman. Weinstein's company Philly Office Retail will invest $12 million to restore several buildings near the station with new offices, businesses, housing, and a trolley car diner.  Continue reading

University City is Easily the Best Location for Amazon (in Philadelphia)

(Amazon's Seattle HQ | Photo: Jon Geeting) Apart from a handful of naysayers, there appears to be a strong consensus forming in political and media circles that Philadelphia should make a bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, and that we might even have a shot.  Continue reading

ZBA Rejects Quaker Building Plan Despite RCO Support

(The Quaker Building | Image: Post Brothers) Last week we wrote about how wards shouldn't be officially recognized as RCOs by the city, and discussed the example of the 14th Ward organization being assigned as the coordinating RCO to hear Post Brothers' zoning appeal for a conversion of the long-vacant industrial Quaker Building into a 350-unit apartment building at 9th and Poplar. Continue reading

Philly Dems Need a Loyal Opposition, and the GOP Isn't Interested

(Bob Brady (left) with Mike Meehan (right)) The most important bedrock reality of Philadelphia politics is that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about 8 to 1, making it very difficult for non-Democrats to win any citywide elections.  Continue reading

Get Philly's Political Wards Out of the RCO Game

(The Quaker Building | Photo: Post Brothers, via Philadelphia Inquirer) Back in late 2000's when the City was overhauling its zoning code, the framers of the new code set a goal of preserving neighborhood participation in the zoning process. While the purpose of zoning reform was to reduce the overall volume of construction projects that would need special approvals, members of the Zoning Code Commission also wanted to create a formal process for neighbors to participate in zoning decisions. And thus, the Registered Community Organization (or RCO) was born. Continue reading

Who's Going to Replace John Taylor?

(John Taylor | Photo: Philadelphia Public Record) One of the more exciting intramural Democratic party debates that was going to play out during the 2018 state legislative elections was going to be about the question of John Taylor, Republican representative of the 177th House District.  Continue reading

Governing Mag Thinks Philly Fixed Its Corruption Problem. Seriously.

(Former DA Seth Williams, in oil painting form) Alan Greenblatt at Governing Magazine has a new article holding Philly up as a national example for how to prevent political corruption. Yeah, about that.  Continue reading

Jumpstart Germantown Program Shows Why Zoning Remapping Matters

(Photo: Andrew Theyer | Philadelphia Inquirer) Northwest Philly developer Ken Weinstein of Philly Office Retail has been running a neat program called Jumpstart Germantown for the past two years, where he trains and coaches people to manage small development projects in Germantown, and critically, provides loan financing for those projects.  Continue reading

The Case for a Gentrification Dividend

(What if North Philadelphia neighbors got a cut of this building's property tax bill? | Image: Philadelphia Inquirer) New construction of homes and office buildings is an important part of Philadelphia's continued economic growth, and Philly has generally been doing a lot better of a job than many other cities at building enough homes to keep up with the demand for housing.  Continue reading