John Dougherty was rendered in ghostly form in a commercial for a documentary that was critical of Mayor Nutter.
Well, here’s a development I wasn’t expecting: Union boss John Dougherty has announced that he’s starting a think tank to explore the topic of electing a pro-union mayor in 2015. Nutter — long seen as a union foe (only in Philly) — presented a problem for organized labor when he first came up for election: He was a fairly typical big-city Democrat, which by definition, makes him pro-labor. The problem? Unlike most others who run for office in this town (looking at you, City Council), he didn’t feel he had to rely heavily on union support in order to get elected. How did that happen?
According to union leader John Dougherty, it was because the city’s labor unions were split over whom to endorse. As a result, Michael Nutter slipped up the middle and got himself elected.
Since then, various union officials have linked Nutter to famed Wisconsin union bogeyman Gov. Scott Walker and to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, among other noted personages, simply because, as Ferrick puts it, “in his role of mayor of a city of 1.5 million people,” he attempted to “seek concessions from city employees and teachers in contract talks in the name of preserving the city’s scant resources.”
That is not a treasonable offense, not in most other jurisdictions in the United States of America. Here it is. Anyone who enunciates a slight variation in the orthodoxy is considered a heretic. You are either 100 percent for the unions or you are 100 percent against them.
Once a 23-acre industrial site belonging to the DuPont Company, the building space at 34th and Grays Ferry Ave. is now the University of Pennsylvania’s “Pennovation Center,” a 200,000-square-foot mixed-use facility serving as innovation quarters for new businesses and tech startups.
The property is part of Penn’s South Bank project, an extension of their UPStart program.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Matt Pestronk — one half of the development team the Post Brothers — is taking pleasure in witnessing the legal difficulties faced by the Ironworkers union. He hasn’t said anything of the kind. But given his own struggles with the building trades, he can’t be unmoved by recent developments.
After all, his own business is still hampered by ongoing legal entanglements with the unions, which he talks about here with WPHT’s Dom Giordano:
Image of Paseo Verde apartment house via Paseo Verde website.
In her latest column, Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron writes about the new North Philadelphia development Paseo Verde, calling it “a trifecta of socially responsible development.” And it achieves what seems almost impossible: it “makes peace with gentrification.” If development around Ninth and Berks were to follow “the usual Philadelphia script,” says Saffron, there would be two possibilities:
Either the neighborhood would surrender to developers and allow a construction free-for-all. Or, it would dig in, using its political power to hold onto the acres of vacant land in the hope that someone, some day, might build subsidized housing.
Instead residents found a third, and better, way…
The four-story apartment house makes peace with gentrification by accepting high-end, modern apartments as a fact of life. But it also ensures that longtime residents will have a good place to live if the area takes off and prices spike.
To achieve that tricky balance, nearly half of Paseo Verde’s 129 units are set aside for low-income residents at reduced rents. The other 67 go for market rates. After a quiet opening in the fall, Paseo Verde is now home to a mix of Temple University students, professionals, and low-wage workers.
Partial rendering of new building on King of Jeans’ former site via Passyunk Post.
It’s taken some time, but at last the residential/commercial transformation of one-time retail hotspot King of Jeans has been approved by the Zoning Board. Passyunk Post reports that developer Andy Kaplan, former partner in the Goldenberg Group, can now demolish the existing building and create from its denim ashes a five-story building with ground-floor retail, office space, and 12 rental apartments. True, Kaplan, of Rockland Capital, still has to get a demo permit, but that shouldn’t be a huge obstacle.
A rendering presented to the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association. Photo by Sandy Smith.
This much is clear after the proposed Warehouse Cinema’s second trip before the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association (NLNA) Zoning Committee on Feb. 24: While the committee and its neighbors generally like the idea, they’re not going to let it sail through without ironclad assurances about two things.
One, that it will be a place where people go to see movies with food and drink on the side and not a bar and restaurant where people can catch a flick.
Two, that the crowds and noise won’t spill over onto nearby streets — or even the desolate block of North Sixth Street this project will enliven.
Generally speaking, the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association (NLNA) Zoning Committee has a good working relationship with Callahan Ward Companies, one of the neighborhood’s more active builders. The firm has a reputation for being attentive to neighbors’ concerns when building new homes, and company rep Nino Cutrufello generally likes the end products of the often highly detailed critiques the NLNA’s Zoning and Urban Design committees give projects up for review.
That doesn’t mean that what Callahan Ward wants, it gets. Its latest proposal for new residential construction in NoLibs is a case in point.
The city has never been more efficient. From PlanPhilly:
Less than six weeks after Comcast announced it would build a second tower in Center City, in what the company is calling the largest private investment in the history of Pennsylvania, nearly all of the approvals are in place for construction to begin. On Tuesday, two City Council committees approved five bills that would allow the project to move forward.
Two real estate companies made an announcement yesterday of a joint purchase of most of the 17-story Avenue of the Arts building, which has the Olive Garden and Capital Grille on the ground floor, and Art Institute student housing on floors 4 through 17.
Washington, D.C.-based MRP Residential and the commercial Principal Real Estate Investors plan a “comprehensive redevelopment” of the building into a luxury apartment complex. The deets:
- 220 Class A residential units
- New building lobby
- Leasing office
- Fitness center
- Theater room
- Interior landscaped courtyard
- Roof deck
- Renovated elevators
The companies plan to keep Olive Garden and Capital Grille. The project has a target completion date of early 2016.