Office Sector News
1234 Market Street Fully Leased
With the National Park Service (NPS) and Rothman Institute signing leases at 1234 Market Street, the 20-story office building is now fully leased and collecting rents 21% higher than just 18 months ago, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 6.
NPS will move from the U.S. Customs House to the 20th floor of 1234 Market’s 33,114 square feet (sf) in winter 2017.
Rothman Institute leased 16,727 sf for an in-house call center for its orthopedic group and moved there in March.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Zo12me.
Coworking Space to Open in Steele Building
Brickstone Realty announced on May 7 it has entered into a lease for 24,000 square feet (sf) of collaborative workspace at the Steele Building, 15 South 11th Street (11th & Ludlow), with New York City-based The Yard, which will be the sole office tenant, occupying floors two through five, plus a 1,650-sf roof deck. It is expected to open in late 2016. The building is immediately across the street from the building into which the Market Place Design Center is moving, in NREA’s development of East Market.
The Yard has six locations in New York City; this will be its first in Philadelphia. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/1WnEN2j.
FMC Corporation Moving Into Tower
FMC Corporation has begun its move into the FMC Tower, the 49-story office and residential tower near 30th Street Station and still under construction by developer Brandywine Realty Trust, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 12.
FMC will occupy 250,000 square feet (sf) of the building’s 622,000 sf of office space and is moving from the BNY Mellon Center at 1735 Market Street.
The FMC Tower is expected to be completed in the fall. Other office tenants will be the University of Pennsylvania (100,000 sf) and the Nasdaq Stock Market (75,000 sf).
Mixed-Use Project Breaks Ground at Drexel
Radnor Property Group of Wayne on May 11 broke ground for the $56 million, 16-story Vue32, a mixed-use project for Drexel University at 3201 Race Street, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 11.
The project includes 164 rental apartments, for-sale townhouses, a preschool and a plaza area for community use, all of which will be completed in stages from June to August 2017. Amenities include a fitness center, underground parking for 32 cars, and a rooftop deck with a gas fire pit and grills.
The residential tower's first two floors will accommodate the Chesterbrook Academy preschool, with space for up to 180 children, leased by Nobel Learning Communities.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1TAfhjA.
One Riverside 60% Sold
Dranoff Properties, which will celebrate the topping off of the 22-story One Riverside on May 25, has sold 60% ($65 million) of the residential tower’s units, targeted at 82, but expected to be reduced to approximately 68, as buyers are combining units to create larger residences, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 12.
The $90 million project at 25th and Locust Streets is expected to be completed in August 2017.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1X7zKl2.
SugarHouse Cuts Ribbon on New Expansion
SugarHouse Casino officially celebrated its completed expansion with a ribbon-cutting on May 9, according to the casino’s press release. New attractions include the SugarHouse Marketplace with Saxbys Coffee, Tacconelli’s Pizzeria, Geno’s Steaks and Revolution Grill, plus Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House, and a multipurpose Event Center. The expansion was designed by Cope Linder Architects.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/1VSfm8H.
Moving Slowly on Real Estate Valuation
The value of tax-paying residential properties in the City of Philadelphia increased by $2.2 billion in 2016, which will bring in an additional $14 million in tax revenue, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 2.
The Office of Property Assessment (OPA) reassessed all residential properties for calendar year 2017, shifting the allocation of value from improvements to land, which will have significant impact on properties with abatements. Currently, OPA is working on the re-evaluation of vacant land parcels and, upon completion, will move to commercial and industrial properties.
Of 534,535 properties that were reassessed, 85% had no increase in overall value, while 11.5% will see their taxes increase by less than $400 and 3.5% will see a higher increase. This follows on tax year 2016 when, in one of the strongest real estate markets in recent history citywide, OPA only increased the value of 11% of all real estate parcels in Philadelphia, while 76% remained the same and 13% experienced a decrease in value.
To read the Inquirer article, please go to bit.ly/24nqoaR.
Eds and Meds News
CHOP Opens Multi-Use Facility
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) celebrated the grand opening of its new South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center at Broad and Morris streets on May 9, Metro Philadelphia reported.
The $42.5 million, 96,000-square-foot, LEED-certified facility includes a CHOP pediatric primary care center, community health center, state-of-the-art Free Library of Philadelphia South Philly branch, and new DiSilvestro Playground and Recreation Center. The library features 1,200 books collected by volunteers from Friends Select School.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1T9rDBR.
Residential Market News
Record-Setting Condo Sale
A 2,300-square-foot condominium on the 28th floor of 10 Rittenhouse Square was sold by Dranoff Properties Realty, Inc. for a record-setting $1,400 a square foot to an undisclosed buyer, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 10.
Condos in Center City previously have sold for as high as $1,250 a square foot. Ten Rittenhouse has 135 condos.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1WZ0bt2.
New LED Lights for Boathouse Row
The Fairmount Park Conservancy will invest approximately $500,000 to replace all the lights on Boathouse Row in time for the Democratic National Convention, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 2.
The new LED lights will be significantly brighter than the 10,000 bulbs that currently light the boathouses. The lights were last updated in 2005.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1SX7vmD.
City Awarded $43 Million for DNC Security
A portion of the $43 million federal security grant to the City of Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention will be used to pay $8 million in personnel; $9.6 million for supplies such as batteries for smart phones and motorcycle helmets; and $7.7 million for bigger equipment purchases, the Associated Press reported on May 10.
The host committee also announced that it has recruited more than 16,000 volunteers to assist during the event. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1WqhiWw.
PolitcalFest Announces Seven Locations
Seven Center City sites have been announced for PoliticalFest, a family-friendly festival of politics and history held in tandem (July 22-27) with the 2016 Democratic National Convention (July 25-28), the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 12.
The sites are: National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street; National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street; The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, 15 South Seventh Street; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Hall F, 1101 Arch Street; The Philadelphia Library Company, 1314 Locust Street; Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street; and the Heritage Center at the Union League, 140 South Broad Street.
For themes, additional information and tickets, please go to phldnc.com/politicalfest/.
Arts and Culture News
Please Touch Wins Pew Grant
The Please Touch Museum, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, has received a $750,000 grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage that will be awarded over two years and go toward expanding the museum’s exhibit space, audience and visitation, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 4. The museum will research and develop blended digital and hands-on exhibitions and education programs.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Nk8qy9.
$55 Million Gift to Curtis Institute
The Curtis Institute of Music's board chair, Nina Baroness von Maltzahn, who will step down this month, has made a gift of $55 million to the tuition-free music school, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 12. To be paid over five years, the money will help support Curtis' touring activities and its endowment.
Mark E. Rubenstein will be the new chairman, effective June 1, it was previously reported. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1WspDsE.
NEA Awards $807,000 Locally
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $807,000 to local arts organizations and the City of Philadelphia (see item under Government News), part of its $82.3 million in arts grants nationwide, Philly Voice reported on May 10.
The Association for Public Art received $30,000 to help support “Fireflies,” which will consist of 27 luminous, kinetic sculptures in the form of free pedi-cabs that will travel the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Other recipients of $30,000 grants include the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Barnes Foundation.
To read the article and view the complete list, please go to bit.ly/1YqM9PL. To read the NEA’s announcement and view all the awards in the 50 states, please go to 1.usa.gov/27kRs9F.
Ben Franklin Parkway Improvements Schedule
Streetscape improvements are continuing on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the 1600 to 1800 blocks and will include curb extensions, enhanced ADA access, increased median size, raised planter beds on block corners, tree plantings, new paving of the roadway, and sidewalk replacement.
The first phase, in the North 1600 block, impacting Cret Park, and at 17th and Cherry Streets, affecting Friends Select School, is expected to be completed by May 31.
Phase 2, in the South 1700 block and at 16th and Arch Streets, has a targeted completion date of July 15. Work will halt during the Democratic National Convention, then resume on August 1 with Phase 3 along South 16th and 17th Streets, to be completed by November 30. Phase 4 will begin in spring 2017 with the island at 16th, Arch and the Parkway, to be completed by summer 2017.
To see the complete plan for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Streetscape Improvements, 1600 -1800 blocks, please go to 1.usa.gov/1OrS6q8 [PDF].
In related news, I-676 will be closed and detoured in both directions between the I-76 and Broad Street (Route 611) interchanges today, Monday, May 16, through Thursday, May 19, from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the following morning for overhead bridge construction, PennDOT announced on Thursday.
The overnight operation is part of the four-year, $64.8 million project to replace seven structurally deficient bridges over I-676 between 22nd and 18th Streets, and to make landscaping and streetscape improvements above the expressway. Construction began in April 2015 and will finish in fall 2019.
For more information on the I-676 project, please go to bridgesover676.com. For detours and other information, please go to 511PA.com.
City Ranked 4th of Walkable Cities in U.S.
Walk Score has released its list of most walkable cities in the U.S., and Philadelphia scored a 78, in fourth place behind Boston (80.1), San Francisco (85.7) and New York (88.9), The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 2.
The website, however, allows you to obtain Walk Scores for specific addresses and ZIP codes. The four ZIP codes of core Center City ranked between 96 and 100.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1rRVPJf. To find out the Walk Score for your ZIP code, please go to redf.in/1TjQAHM.
SEPTA to Install Warning System on Buses
SEPTA is moving ahead with a safety system that sounds a warning and uses a strobe light to let pedestrians know that the bus is about to make a turn, KYW reported. A pilot program was successfully tested over the last six months. The system is needed, SEPTA noted, to get the attention of pedestrians distracted by their phones and the growing number of bicyclists. It is expected to be installed on all buses by year’s end.
To read the article, please go to cbsloc.al/1qc4oN9.
Parks and Open Space News
Holocaust Memorial to Be Expanded With Memorial Park
Philadelphia's Holocaust Memorial, installed in 1964 at 16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the first of its kind in North America, will serve as the entrance to an expanded memorial park that will include six pillars, for the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, a low wall showcasing an eternal flame, railroad ties that once led to concentration camps, and trees, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 12.
The project, which was recently redesigned for the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation by CPDC member firm WRT, will cost an estimated $4.5 million, most of which will be privately funded. The project is expected to be presented to the Philadelphia Arts Commission in the near future and could open in 2017, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1T8SCeR.
One-Day Waterslide Party
Slide the City will bring a 1,000-foot waterslide to Sedgley Drive near the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday, August 6, for a block-party-style event beginning at 9:00 a.m., and including vendors, food, music, and other entertainment.
Registration for the event begins Wednesday, May 18. Tickets, starting at $10, go on sale on Friday, June 3. For more information, please go to slidethecity.com.
Sugary Drinks Tax under Debate
Mayor Jim Kenney on March 3 proposed as part of his Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget plan a new city tax of 3 cents an ounce on sugary beverages – soda, sweetened juices and other similar drinks, eventually to bring in $95 million, with $60 million to be used to fund 6,500 pre-K slots, bit.ly/1TffJGR. Bill #160176, bit.ly/1WvR4Bn, to enable the tax was introduced on March 3 by Councilman Bobby Henon.
On May 12, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke floated a counter-proposal – a sugary beverage tax at either .5 cents, .75 cents or 1 cent/ounce, which would generate between $15 million and $28.5 million in FY17, with $19 million funding 2,000 slots of pre-K, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, bit.ly/1YqBnJs.
City Council’s Committee of the Whole will continue hearings on the sugary beverages and other tax bills, including Bill #160175 that would slightly lower the Wage and Net Profits Tax, bit.ly/24QCCoY, tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 400, City Hall.
To read the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s statement of support for Mayor Kenney’s budget plan, please go to bit.ly/1TboXBJ.
In other tax news, on May 12, Clarke and Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker introduced Bill #160471 that would increase the real estate transfer tax by 0.1%, to 3.10%, to pay the debt service on a $100 million bond issue, which would go toward preserving Philadelphia's aging housing stock, including giving owners of deteriorating homes loans for repairs, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, bit.ly/1s7Url9. To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/1TLsaHn.
William Penn Statue to Be Restored
The City of Philadelphia in late August plans to spend $250,000 to clean and restore City Hall’s William Penn Statue, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 10. The statue will be washed, repaired, and waxed, all of which will take approximately four weeks.
Funding for restoration of the 124-year-old statue includes $125,000 in private funds, a $25,000 National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) grant, and $100,000 of city money, the article noted.
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy will share images and updates of the work via social media and a film and photo gallery in City Hall. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Tbk6m9.
CCD/CPDC Anniversary Event a Success
CPDC celebrated its 60th anniversary on May 5th at an event on Dilworth Park attended by 650 people. It also marked the 25th anniversary of Center City District and launched the Center City District Foundation (CCDF), the charitable non-profit organization that supports the programs of the CCD. Photos from the celebration, along with the video produced by Urban Video Productions, a part of Urban Engineers, can be viewed at centercityphila.org/anniversary/details.php. The Foundation also launched a new website in conjunction with the event, supportccdf.org.
Hearing on Bipartisan Legislation to Change Uniformity Clause
On Thursday, June 2, at 10:00 a.m., at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Room 108 AB, the state House Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on HB 1871, introduced on March 15 by State Representative John Taylor (R., Philadelphia) and State Representative William Keller (D., Philadelphia), that would amend the state Constitution to create an ability for Philadelphia to modify the Uniformity Clause for real estate taxes to enable, but not require, Philadelphia to levy a 15% increment on properties used for business purposes so long as those revenues are used exclusively to reduce wage and business taxes.
Supported by a coalition of business, labor, and civic groups, and building on the work of the 2003 and 2009 tax commissions, the amendment would facilitate more dynamic job growth in Philadelphia.
To read Representative Taylor’s press release, please go to bit.ly/22k4hxk.
To read an explanation of how the amendment will work for Philadelphia, please go to bit.ly/1Rf4JWI [PDF].
To read Econsult’s evaluation of the economic impact of the plan, please go to bit.ly/1o1tDRh [PDF].
DVRPC Updating Long-Range Plans
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is updating its long-range plan, Connections, a federal requirement that allows the region to receive more than $1 billion in transportation funds each year.
A free workshop will be held as part of the process on Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the WHYY Public Media Commons, 150 North Sixth Street. A light dinner will be served.
For more details, please go to dvrpc.org/Connections2045/.
GPCC Forum: ‘Educating Our Future Workforce’
On Tuesday, May 24, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s (GPCC) Roadmap for Growth policy forum series will address “Educating Our Future Workforce,” at Community College of Philadelphia, Center for Business and Industry, 1700 Spring Garden Street.
The forum will feature Chief Education Officer for the City of Philadelphia Otis Hackney, and thought leaders Nicole Anderson, President, AT&T Foundation & Associate Vice President of Social Innovation, AT&T; Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, President & CEO, Citizens Bank of PA/NJ/DE/NY; Donald Generals, President, Community College of Philadelphia; William R. Hite, Jr., Superintendent, School District of Philadelphia; and Robert M. Poliseno, Regional Executive Officer- Mid-Atlantic Region, Chubb.
For more information and to register, please go to bit.ly/1ZOo8CL.