Morning Headlines: City Council Proposes Bills on Housing Affordability and Rezoning

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

City Council was back in session yesterday, and Jared Brey at PlanPhilly has the details on bills introduced by Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla and Darrell Clarke.

Johnson’s bill is designed to extend the city’s Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) in order to provide access to owners who live in government-subsidized housing. As it stands now, LOOP only includes residents who have owned their homes for at least 10 years and whose income doesn’t exceed 150 percent of the Area Median Income.

LOOP prevents qualified residents’ tax bills from increasing by more than 300 percent (300 percent!) in a year. Residents who already benefit from a tax abatement are excluded from the program, meaning that under the current rules, homeowners in subsidized housing can’t qualify. Johnson explained the plan to amend LOOP to Brey:

“Right now, individuals who live in affordable housing—obviously, they don’t have a certain amount of income, their taxes may have tripled, and currently they don’t qualify for the tax relief under LOOP because they have had some type of abatement in the past. But also, they’re in some type of a catch 22, because they can’t sell their homes because of a deed restriction, so the legislation that we introduced today will allow them to have the opportunity to participate in LOOP.”

Squilla and Clarke introduced bills related to rezoning efforts, neither of which were entirely surprising. Squilla wants to rezone a tiny part of Society Hill to allow commercial mixed-use and Clarke’s bill rezones neighborhoods west of Temple in exactly the way the Planning Commission predicted months ago.

All of which might explain why Claudia Vargas called Council’s agenda “tepid” in yesterday’s Inquirer.

New bills focus on housing affordability, zoning remapping [PlanPhilly]
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Pennsport Hearing for Mellody Brewing Company


While a zoning meeting may not grab your attention at first, when there’s the possibility of a brewery involved it just might.

Tonight, Tuesday, June 24th, the Pennsport Civic Association is holding a zoning hearing for the space that Mellody Brewing Company has been keeping an eye on for their new brewery. Sean Mellody, owner of the company, will hear concerns from the locals as well as present the plan for his brewery and the other businesses that will hold the spot. The space is located at 1800 Moyamensing Avenue. 

Mellody Brewing has been on the drawing boards for more than three years and Mellody hopes to focus on cask conditioned beers that will be distributed locally to bars and restaurants.

The hearing is open to anyone, so if you want to help, stop by and show your support. The hearing will be held at 138 Moore Street at 7 p.m.

Mellody Brewing [Facebook]

The South Philly Barbacoa Will Not Happen at Isaiah Zagar Garage

barbacoaThe Passyunk Post is reporting that the South Philly Barbacoa project from Benjamin Miller and his wife Cristina Martinez will not be happening in the Isaiah Zagar garage at 10th and Watkins.

The Post says Miller is still looking for a space in South Philly and David Goldfarb, the East Passyunk Crossing zoning chair is assisting.

You can still get the barbacoa on Sunday mornings outside of Rosa’s Bakery at 8th and Watkins. Also look for Miller and Martinez at the Garage on Friday, February 28th.

That was quick. South Philly Barbacoa will NOT be in Zagar warehouse [Passyunk Post]
South Philly Barbacoa [Foobooz]

TLA Pitches Movie Theater to Northern LIberties

tla warehouse cinema rendering

A rendering presented to the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association. Photo by Sandy Smith.

TLA’s Ray Murray went in front of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association last night to shed some light on his plans for Warehouse Cinema, the three screen, lounge-style theater he’s proposing for  631 N 6th Street.

The neighbors had a bunch of concerns including hours of operation, size or restrooms and the amount of outdoor seating.

Property has more details on the proposal and the zoning meeting.

More Details on TLA’s Proposed Movie Theater on North Sixth Street [Property]

Is This the La Colombe Fishtown Flagship Store and Distillery?

View Larger Map (1335-1349 Frankford Avenue)

We told you about La Colombe’s plans for a Fishtown roasterie and distillery back in June. But since then there hasn’t been much news. But an intrepid tipster was snooping around the city’s zoning web site and discovered this application.


This certainly sounds like it could be the flagship location La Colombe has been talking about, complete with distillery. We’re waiting on comment from someone at La Colombe but it does seem reasonable that it is the La Colombe facility. The property goes in front of the Fishtown Neighbors Association zoning committee’s on Tuesday, October 1st.

Check out this Vine video of La Colombe making their coffee filtered rum.

Scarduzio Gets Go Ahead for New Building on Passyunk Avenue


Chris Scarduzio received the go-ahead today from the Zoning Board to demolish the former Artisan Boulanger Patissier building at 12th and Morris Streets. Scarduzio intends on opening a bistro in a new three story building that will include a restaurant on the first floor and residences above. Since Scarduzio owns the building, he plans on his restaurant being there for generations.

Rendering via PhillyChitChat

Philly Officials Will Not Crack Down on Airbnb Rental Hosts is a hot, Silicon Valley-based company that’s enjoyed phenomenal growth with a very simple business model: It acts as a market maker for short-term vacation rentals. The company has been in the news lately because an administrative law judge in New York City smacked an Airbnb host, as they’re called, with a $2,400 fine for allegedly running an “illegal hotel.”

Nigel Warren used the Airbnb website as his promotional tool and logistical facilitator to rent out one of the two bedrooms in his East Village apartment. The rental was for three nights at $100 per night, and his roommate was there for all three nights.

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ReAnimator Cafe Gets Approval to Open Cafe in Fishtown


Mark Capriotti dropped us a line to let us know his ReAnimator Coffee is planning to open a cafe at 1523 E Susquehanna very soon. Capriotti and fellow owner Mark Corpus go in front of the neighborhood zoning committee tomorrow, April 16th at 7:30 p.m. in the Fishtown Rec Center (1202 E Montgomery Avenue).

UPDATE: ReAnimator Coffee won approval for its cafe, 91-6 on Tuesday night. Next up, the Philadelphia Zoning Board next week.

ReAnimator Coffee [Official Site]

The Gastronaut: What Philly Needs Now

In the past couple of years, Philadelphia has become a good restaurant city. But what is it going to take to make us great?

It was one hell of a summer.

In terms of restaurant developments—openings, radical changes and arrivals both large and small—it was huge. The reopening of Le Bec Fin alone might’ve been enough to satisfy in a slower season. The debut of Shake Shack on Sansom hit the city like a cheeseburger-flavored Second Coming. Our penchant for hot-weather trend-humping brought jumped-up poutine from Alla Spina (putting a fresh twist on a fad that’s been dangerously close to being played out at least twice in recent years), haute scrapple at Rittenhouse Tavern, tiki pop-ups, high-end South Philly hot doggery, and an end to our city’s shameful ramen shortage.

Summer polished our image as a solid restaurant town by filling in embarrassing holes in our culinary landscape. And we did good. But because I am a man perpetually dissatisfied with what I have, I can’t help but look and see what’s still missing. Philly is on its way to being a great restaurant city once again, but now that we’ve got the cheeseburgers, the ramen and the fancy-pants French food covered, here’s what needs to happen next:

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Old City’s Charlie’s Goes On Offensive

Photo via Bhiladelphia

Charlie’s Pub closed back in April and has been looking to make a comeback at 17 N 3rd Street. Unfortunately for them they didn’t get the support of the Old City Civic Association or the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The owners posted the above in the window at 17 N 3rd and are now going on the offensive for community support as they appeal the Zoning decision and contest the civic association’s protests.

Check out opening paragraph of the letter on the right.

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