WCRP housing project canceled
The Women’s Community Revitalization Project has canceled the planned Nitza Tufino Townhomes, a housing project for low-income families that would have led to the demolition of two historic banks at Front and Norris streets in Kensington.
Now, the vacant, century-old buildings are the subject of a new request for proposals released by the Norris Square Civic Association, which now owns the banks: Ninth National Bank, and Industrial Trust, Title and Savings Company.
In lieu of an official announcement of their decision, NSCA released a request for new proposals for the properties. The deadline for developers to submit proposals is July 29.
In May 2012, neighbors at a joint meeting of the Norris Square Civic Association, the Fishtown Neighbors Association, and the East Kensington Neighbors Association voted 60 to 21 against zoning variances needed for the Nitza Tufino Townhomes project.
After the variances were granted by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, two Hope Street residents filed a lawsuit appealing that decision. ••
Port Richmond strip club sued by former dancer
The Penthouse Club, a strip club in Port Richmond at 3001 Castor Ave., is being sued by one of its former dancers for questionable practices, Philadelphia City Paper reported.
Former Penthouse Club dancer Priya Verma filed a federal, class-action lawsuit – even though she is currently the only plaintiff – claiming that the club used legal loopholes to avoid paying her and other dancers wages and overtime pay. The lawsuit was reportedly filed in May, and last week, the club’s owners dropped a motion to dismiss the case.
Verma’s suit reportedly claims that the club classified her and other dancers as “independent contractors,” who were only paid in tips but were subjected to rules and regulations for their behavior and appearance – which legally may make them regular employees, and thus protected by labor laws.
Those rules and regulations reportedly included a prohibition on dancing in other clubs, and fines for improper behavior including a $10 fine per half-hour of lateness, a $25 fine for improperly entering the dancing stage, and a $25 fine for chewing gum on stage.
Verma reportedly claimed that after she filed the lawsuit, the club’s owners shared her contact information with visitors to the club, leading to her receiving strange phone calls, text messages and flower deliveries to her home. ••
Police hunt for carjacker
The Philadelphia Police Department released security camera footage on phillypolice.com last week of a carjacking in South Kensington.
The incident occurred on the 1300 block of Germantown Avenue at 12:41 a.m. on Monday, July 8. The victim, a 33-year-old male, was in his car when he was approached by an unknown male.
The suspect then pulled out a handgun and placed a knife against the victim’s neck before ordering him out of the vehicle. The suspect took the victim’s black Lexus SUV and fled the area.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, about 35 years old, with short black hair, and wearing a white T-shirt and blue jean shorts.
The Philadelphia Police Department is asking anyone with information about the assailant to call 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text a tip to PPD TIP (773847). ••