• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

June 24: Developers and Darrell Clarke | Debating West Philly High redevelopment | Sanctuary Lofts almost complete | Building art and corporate America | Calder's mega mobile

Good morning Streeters. Here’s what we’re reading:

Real estate developers may privately kvetch about City Council President Darrell Clarke, yet they have no problem contributing to his campaign or hosting fundraisers. The Daily News reports that in Clarke’s last election year 42% of his money was raised from the development community. "People know that if you want to do business in that district, you have to show up at fundraisers and write big checks," one developer told the Daily News. Sean Collins Walsh elaborated: “In dozens of interviews, developers who work in Clarke's district, lawyers and lobbyists who help them navigate City Hall, and bureaucrats who process city land transactions consistently described a process in which Clarke throws up unexplained roadblocks to projects and creates a culture in which it is assumed, and sometimes suggested, that you have to pay to play. From January 2011 to early 2014, a majority of significant sales of city-owned land that Clarke green-lighted have involved either longtime donors or people who recently started giving to his campaign, according to an analysis of records from the city Redevelopment Authority and the Vacant Property Review Committee that were obtained through a Right to Know Act request.”

"Why does it have to take college students and young people to make our neighborhoods better and safer," one resident wondered in a forum last month about the fate of the old West Philadelphia High School. NewsWorks shared an essay exploring the issues surrounding the school’s residential redevelopment, who benefits, and tension over the community’s role in a financially driven school-sales process.

Developer Alon Barzilay’s conversion of St. Anthony of Padua / Greater St. Matthew the Great Baptist church into Sanctuary Lofts is nearing completion. Curbed Philly reports that the 38 units in the church and rectory at Grays Ferry Avenue and Fitzwater Street have started pre-leasing and come August tenants can start moving in. In a neighborhood that has lost many historic religious buildings in recent years, this reuse is a bright spot.

PhillyHistory explores how artistic building symbolism and signage remain expressions of corporate identity from Comcast at Rockefeller Center to the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Building (Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building).

You may know that three generations of Calder sculptors grace the Parkway, but have you seen Sandy Calder’s epic White Cascade? Hidden City Daily’s Brad Maule checks out this Calder’s largest (and the world’s biggest) mobile sculpture, which hangs in the Federal Reserve atrium.


The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.
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