October 10: ‘Infuriating and bewildering’ | Azavea, Callowhill, HQ2 | Renaming 30th St Station

Philadelphia developer Paul Janaitis has taken it upon himself to rebrand parts of South Kensington and Norris Square as ‘Stonewall Heights,’ much to the fury of Kensington residents. Victor Fiorillo reports that Janaitis put up signs promoting Front Street to 6th Street and Lehigh Avenue to Cecil B. Moore Avenue as a “modern historical district,” proudly declaring that “this side of Front Street is nicer [and] more family-oriented.” South Kensington Community Partners board member Jessica Noon says it is “infuriating and bewildering” for Janaitis togive a fancy new name to these tight-knit communities.” Philadelinquency writes that Janaitis’ listing agent Christian Baker told residents that his client is “allowed to market his properties anyway he sees fit.”

Master mapper Robert Cheetham shares his thoughts on why Amazon HQ2 should be in Callowhill with Philly’s Roberto Torres. The Azavea CEO and Callowhill neighbor talks about the positives and negatives of Amazon coming to town, recognizing that infill development in Callowhill “would probably set off speculative buying and that could be very damaging,” but also that with the neighborhood’s proximity to Center City and public transit, “it’s going to develop anyway, Amazon or not.”

Amtrak has officially committed to renaming 30th Street Station after the late Congressman William H. Gray III, PhillyVoice reports. President Obama and Congress mandated the name change three years ago to honor Gray, who became the country’s highest-ranking African American elected official in 1989 when he was named majority whip.

Germantown United’s campaign for National Geographic’s Partners in Preservation: Main Streets grant gets some local media love from the Philadelphia Business Journal and Curbed Philly: Melissa Romero writes about the proposed facade and structural improvements to Parker Hall and the John Trower building, two sites of significance that highlight the historic contributions of the African-American community. Germantown is the only neighborhood in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania to make it to the finalist round.

The Philadelphia Citizen highlights the efforts and successes of Philabundance Community Kitchen, the food bank’s vocational culinary training program for adults from low-income backgrounds, reentering citizens, and folks who are currently incarcerated. The program, which has been running for 15 years, has graduated more than 750 students and celebrates an 80 percent overall job placement rate and an average starting wage of $10.85.

About the author

Diana Lu, Community Engagement Editor

Diana runs PlanPhilly’s community outreach and engagement online and in real life. She has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho and email her at

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