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Brandywine Realty gets first city approvals for Schuylkill Yards project

The Philadelphia Planning Commission has approved zoning changes to an area west of 30th Street Station where Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University plan their Schuylkill Yards redevelopment project, a 14-acre district of labs, offices, residences and shopping.

One measure passed by the commission Tuesday would change the zoning of the area occupied by the old Bulletin newspaper building and its parking lot, as well as a section just to the north across John F. Kennedy Boulevard, from industrial to high-density commercial-mixed-use.

Another establishes a new zoning overlay for the entire Schuylkill Yards development site. It permits buildings in the area to include above-ground parking without securing special exceptions and allows a digital sign to be built on the Bulletin building's facade, among other provisions.

City Council also must approve the changes.

Brandywine Realty's chief executive, Jerry Sweeney, said at the commission hearing that his company hopes to break ground on the development's initial projects during the first half of this year. Those include renovations to the Bulletin building and the conversion of its parking lot into a public park.