Carl Dranoff Takes the Wraps Off One Riverside

(Left to right) Planning and Development Director Anne Fadullon, Carl Dranoff, City Council member Kenyatta Johnson (D-2nd District) and Managing Director Mike DeBerardinis cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of One Riverside May 2nd. | Photo: Sandy Smith

(Left to right) Planning and Development Director Anne Fadullon, Carl Dranoff, City Council member Kenyatta Johnson (D-2nd District) and Managing Director Mike DeBerardinis cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of One Riverside May 2nd. | Photo: Sandy Smith

Surrounded by examples from each of the stages of his career as a developer here in Philadelphia, Carl Dranoff officially cut the ribbon on his latest contribution to the Philadelphia skyline, the One Riverside luxury apartment tower, in a ceremony yesterday evening (May 2nd).

Joining him in marking the occasion were the building’s architect, Cecil Baker; officials from the tower’s builder, Intech Construction; and the local officials who helped smooth the project’s path to completion, including Council members Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla and Al Taubenberger and city Managing Director Mike DeBerardinis.

Dranoff’s own assessment of the end result can best be summed up in this sentence from his remarks at the ribbon-cutting: “World-class buildings like this one elevate Philadelphia to a world-class city.” Read more »

ZBA Wants Time to Digest Blatstein Proposal

The Civic Design Review panel was as critical of Bart Blatstein's revised proposal as its neighbors have been of the original. Perhaps he should go back to the drawing board? | Rendering: Cope Linder Architects

So far, no one’s been happy with Bart Blatstein’s 1001 South Broad proposal. The developer gave the ZBA so much material that it wants two weeks to mull it all over. | Rendering: Cope Linder Architects

Bart Blatstein will have to wait two more weeks to find out whether he has permission to pursue his vision for a rooftop retail village and 32-story apartment tower with garage parking for 600 cars on a long-vacant lot at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, at the southwest corner of Hawthorne. The zoning board opted to hold a decision on the project while it considers the “excessive information” presented at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Blatstein is seeking two special exceptions from the zoning code to build 1,000 apartments and 625 parking spaces on the lot. At the hearing, community members objected to the project over a host of concerns, while zoning board chairman Jim Moylan tried to limit their comments to the two issues before the board: the above-ground parking garage and the retail uses on the roof deck. Steve Cobb, a lawyer in Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office, also testified that Johnson is opposed to the project in its current form. Read more »

Billionaire Thinks Class War Is Near

Credit: Shutterstock.com

Credit: Shutterstock.com

Workers want higher wages. Management claims they’re a bad idea. It sounds like the intro to a problem set from Econ 101, and it’s also the dilemma that’s been playing out in cities across the country with the so-called “living wage” movement.

After failing for years to boost pay for low-wage workers have failed, income inequality opponents are suddenly winning — in Seattle, in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, where City Council approved a plan last month to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Chicago, San Diego and Santa Fe all approved lesser minimum-wage increases recently.

Some, like the New Yorker‘s John Cassidy, read these developments as a significant turning national turning point:

Reacting to grassroots campaigns carried out by labor unions and other progressive groups, some of the biggest cities in America are now defying several decades of economic orthodoxy, as well as challenging a set of social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable.

One of the more unlikely leading voices for a jacked-up minimum wage is billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who has taken to warning frequently of the class war to come, if income inequality isn’t addressed fast. Read more »

Kenyatta Johnson Defeats Ori Feibush, Ending Long, Ugly Battle

Johnson: PA House of Representatives; Feibush: Jeff Fusco

Johnson: PA House of Representatives; Feibush: Jeff Fusco

On Tuesday night, incumbent Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson handily defeated challenger Ori Feibush in the 2nd District race, bringing to a close the most drawn-out and negative race that this primary season has seen. With 97% of the polls reporting, Johnson is on track for a decisive victory with 63% of the vote.

In an interview Tuesday night, Feibush said, “I was honored to have the opportunity. I was obviously disappointed for not being able to deliver for all the people who have been fighting day and night for us to be successful here.”

Of the results, Feibush said, “We won in so many wards, but unfortunately we lost significantly in Point Breeze and we could not overcome that.”  Read more »

UPDATED: Worst. Mail. Ever. Kenyatta Hit Piece Pictures Ori in a Hot Tub

Feibush-Hot-Tub-Mailer

[Updated: 8:25 p.m.] Ori Feibush says the photo of him reclining in a hot tub was probably taken from his girlfriend’s Facebook page. He says the shot was taken at a hotel in Florida, not at his house (which, he says, does not have a hot tub).

Kenyatta Johnson spokesman Mark Nevins pushed back on Citified’s description of the mailer as “distasteful,” characterizing it as just “a funny picture of a guy in a hot tub.” Says Nevins: “The most distasteful thing in this campaign so far has been Ori’s use of the word ‘retard’ to describe Mayor Nutter. This is the guy who launched his campaign in Philadelphia magazine by insulting Kenyatta, by calling him a ‘poverty pimp,’ and a terrible human being who uses his office for evil. So it’s not exactly like Ori occupies the high ground.”

And how does Feibush feel about the mailer? “I couldn’t even get mad at it. I was laughing so hard. He spent $20,000 to let people know I haven’t gone to the gym in a while.” Read more »

Renovations Planned for Crumbling 25th Street Viaduct in South Philly

The 25th Street Viaduct, as planned by 2020 | Rendering: CSX

The 25th Street Viaduct, as planned by 2020 | Rendering: CSX

You know that crumbling railroad  bridge that spans from roughly Washington Avenue to West Passyunk Avenue on 25th Street in South Philly? Well, as ominous as it looks, the structure itself is actually sound and the good news is that it won’t look like a withering eyesore for much longer.

CSX and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson announced a “multi-year, multi-phase” project to improve the structure back to its “original condition and appearance,” according to a press release.

Look for the project to occur in four phases starting in June through the year 2020, which really isn’t as far away as it sounds. Here’s the timeline from the press release: Read more »

The Brief: Why Have City Dems Endorsed a Council Candidate Whose Facebook Page Compared Gay Men to Flatworms?

Maria Quinones-Sanchez | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Not the tapeworm candidate. | Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

María Quiñones-Sánchez is one of the more consequential members of Philadelphia’s City Council. She was the driving force behind the new land bank. She’s gotten major small business-friendly tax reform legislation enacted. She just pushed through a charter amendment that, if approved by voters, would require all city departments and agencies to have plans in place to serve city residents who don’t speak English. And that’s to name just a few of her accomplishments. Read more »

Ori Challenges Kenyatta to Ten Debates

Johnson: PA House of Representatives; Feibush: Jeff Fusco

Johnson: PA House of Representatives; Feibush: Jeff Fusco

As the 2015 primary election season heats up in Philadelphia, so do the public declarations of war.

Last week, Mayor Michael Nutter publicly insulted 2nd District council candidate Ori Feibush on behalf of Nutter’s man, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, calling Feibush a “little jerk with a big checkbook,” and now Feibush is publicly calling out incumbent Johnson by challenging him to a series of ten debates. Read more »

Developer to Present Plans for Little Pete’s Successor Tomorrow Night

Rendering of the Hudson Hotel planned for 17th and Chancellor.

Rendering of the Hudson Hotel planned for 17th and Chancellor.

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard anything about the proposed Hudson Hotel project at 17th and Chancellor Street – you know, the one that will replace Little Pete’s (and the 4-story parking garage above it).

The Center City Residents Association (CCRA) will hold a community meeting at 10th Presbyterian Church (17th and Delancey Street) on January 29th at 7 p.m. where developer Clemens Construction will present its plans then take questions and comments. Steve Huntington of CCRA called it a “public forum regarding the project.” He also mentioned that it’s a chance for the developer and CCRA to get feedback on the project as well as a chance for neighbors to hear each other’s take on the proposal.

In December, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson held the bill that would see the property re-zoned in order to accommodate the construction of the $125 million hotel project.

Here’s more from the newsletter:

Read more »