PlanPhilly

Developer behind West Girard revival expands its Brewerytown footprint

Brewerytown's MMPartners has purchased the former Red Bell Brewery for a tasty $4.12 million, Curbed Philly reports. The West Girard Avenue-headquartered developer plans to convert the long-vacant factory into apartments with ground-floor retail. Red Bell will join a family of MM projects in the growing, gentrifying neighborhood including former Pyramid Electric Company (now Pyramid Lofts), North 28, Cambridge Row townhomes and the 2700 and 2800 blocks of West Girard Avenue, where the developer has rehabbed storefronts and the apartments above, attracting new tenants including RyBrew, The Monkey & The Elephant Cafe, a social enterprise employing former foster youth, Crime & Punishment Brewing and others. A 2.25-acre-site stretching between N. 31st Street and West Glenwood Avenue and Jefferson and Redner streets, the brewery is a neighborhood landmark and key anchor for continued growth. Another developer had purchased it in 2016 for $1.85 million with similar plans for residential with ground-floor retail. The jump in purchase price offers a hint into the neighborhood's future.

Grab your kids! Grab your wife! All city administrative offices and courts, the School District of Philadelphia, all Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools in the five-county area, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the South Philly branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia are slated to close Thursday for the Super Bowl parade, WHYY News’ Dana DiFilippo reports. The victory march begins at 11 am on Broad Street near the stadiums and will creep north toward the most triumphant Art Museum steps. Parade-goers will be treated to free beer and ice cream courtesy of Budweiser and Shake Shack, as well as that special feeling of smug satisfaction that comes with winning a Super Bowl championship and subsequent spoils like a customized WWE belt.

Another win for the city Sunday night was the policing of the after party, according to Slate. While the “internet delighted at [the spectacle] of police greasing light poles with Crisco and a jubilant fan smashing into a subway column,” it has not gone unnoticed that “the media often uses a racist double standard to evaluate the behavior of white sports fans as compared with that of black civil rights protesters.” What’s different, writes Slate’s Henry Grabar, is empathy and the treatment of revelers as citizens instead of adversaries: the “police presumption of general good faith in the crowd… instead of crowd-control weapons, local cops shot videos [and] gave high-fives,” which set a tenor that may have induced moderation from the crowd. The win, and takeaway, Grabar concludes, shows us “what happens when a police force understands its responsibility as one to protect people before property.” Grabar asks then, “how we can convince police departments to show that same good faith and tolerance toward groups like Black Lives Matter or anti-Trump protesters”?

Meanwhile, while Philadelphia clearly won the "regional sports trophy" and bragging rights for life, SEPTA fumbled with the crowd Sunday night. Nearly one out of every six SEPTA trains was canceled Sunday due to “manpower issues,” Jim Saksa reports, while more than two dozen Nite Owl buses were suspended as revelers took to the streets after the game. To make matters worse, Saksa reports that “most of the bus cancellations weren’t announced until 10:16,” many fans were left with few options home besides their own two feet, overbooked cabs and painfully expensive  Lyft or Uber rides. SEPTA expects to discuss its plans for the parade at a press conference Tuesday.

In non-Super Bowl news, let’s revisit the latest speculations on Amazon HQ2. This week the heat is on the finalist cities’ LGBTQ protections: the recently formed No Gay, No Way campaign is “calling on Amazon to use its very public bidding war as an opportunity to send a message on LGBT rights,” CityLab reports. LGBTQ advocates point out the “glaring metric of diversity”: nine of the finalist cities are in states “don’t have any laws on the books that codify protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.” While Philadelphia has citywide policies for LGBTQ protections, as well as a Commission on LGBT Affairs and workforce development initiatives such as TransWork that is dedicated to increasing and expanding work and entrepreneurship opportunities for the transgender community, Pennsylvania does not offer such comprehensive legal protections. CityLab cautions that “state-level policies may pre-empt city laws...and along with a lack of explicit protection often comes active discrimination.”

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 dlu@whyy.org.



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