Philadelphia Job Growth Surpasses New York’s
For the first time in at least 25 years, the number of jobs in Philadelphia is growing at a faster pace than in New York City, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 21.
Payrolls in Philadelphia expanded by an annual average of 2.8% between March 2016 and March 2017, while in the five boroughs of New York City, payrolls grew by 1.8%. However, 1.8% growth in New York equals 75,900 jobs, while Philadelphia’s 2.8% growth translates into 19,200 jobs.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2r6ajaS.
A Longer View
The last 16 months of job growth in Philadelphia has been impressive. The challenge remains that the recent upturn is not big enough to overcome very sluggish growth from 2010-2015 in comparison with other cities. CPDC’s analysis of the 25 largest cities shows that Philadelphia’s rate of growth from 2010 to 2017 still puts it at the back of the pack. Recent trends have lifted us above the rates of growth in Memphis and Baltimore, but behind all other large cities. A key unanswered question: is this a late surge at the tail-end of a national expansion cycle or the beginning of a new, positive trend?
Residential Market News
House Prices in City Outpace Suburbs in Q1 2017
The change in the sale price of housing in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs significantly diverged in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 with the average sales price in the city increasing by 5.0% compared to a 2.9% decline in the suburbs, according to a report released on May 24 by Kevin Gillen, senior research fellow at Drexel University's Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.
At the current pace, house prices in Philadelphia are growing at an annualized rate of nearly 12%, while suburban house prices are increasing 2.4% per year, and average house prices in the 10 largest U.S. cities are appreciating by 5.5% per year.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1qntloS.
The Philadelphia Inquirer discusses Gillen’s latest report in an article titled “Despite vibrancy in Philly's suburbs, home values still struggle.” To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2shjcff.
Population Growth Continues to Slow
Recently released U.S. Census data offer a caution flag, based on a CPDC analysis. After adding 10,595 people in 2011 and 11,357 in 2012, Philadelphia’s rate of population increase continues to slow, as we added 5,489 people in 2013, 4,741 in 2014, 4,355 in 2015 and 2,908 in 2016. Between 2015 and 2016, births continued to surpass deaths, but the in-migration of 9,689 international residents was not large enough to offset the net negative domestic migration number of 13,622 more people moving out of Philadelphia than moving in. While Greater Center City and University City continue to grow, older neighborhoods elsewhere in the city are continuing to experience residents departing for the suburbs.
Philadelphia Now Sixth Largest in Population
The Philadelphia Inquirer used the latest U.S. Census Bureau data to report on May 25 that Philadelphia has now been surpassed by Phoenix, slipping back to the sixth position nationally in terms of population. Phoenix added 32,113 people between July 2015 and July 2016, or 88 per day compared to Philadelphia’s addition of just eight people a day.
But Philadelphia is more densely populated with 11,683 residents per square mile compressed into 135 square miles, while Phoenix covers 517 square miles, much of which has been annexed since 1950, with residential density of 3,120 persons per square mile. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2r5kPxi.
While Philadelphia ceased annexing adjacent areas in 1854, CPDC imagined an equivalent 517-square-mile Phoenixadelphia that would have a population of 2.6 million, making it the fourth largest city in the U.S. To see the map, please go to bit.ly/2qnObpq.
For a more serious comparative look at the population trends in the 25 largest American cities, see Aaron Renn’s analysis in the on-line publication New Geography, bit.ly/2sa6CPQ.
Has the Multi-Family Market Peaked?
With 2,000 apartments added in 2016, and 3,000 more likely to deliver by the end of 2017, concessions are becoming the norm at the top of the multifamily market in the city, though few experts are willing to declare an oversupply, according to Bisnow, which on May 24 reported on its “Philly State of the Market” event.
Concern was expressed that the city is entering the end of its cycle, with a recession pegged for 2019, though no one expects it to be as severe as the downturn of 2008 and 2009.
The delivery of the Comcast Innovation Center is a bright spot, though job growth is still expected to slow in the coming years unless the city can lure another major company from outside of the market.
To read the article, “Philadelphia Must Start Preparing for the End of the Cycle,” please go to bit.ly/2qka3Gd. To read the CCD/CPDC 2017 Housing Report: Building on Optimism, which presents CCD’s research and analysis on housing supply in Greater Center City, please go to bit.ly/2r6us0G.
Eds & Meds Provides Stable Cushion
CBRE’s U.S. ViewPoint | The Eds & Meds Cure for Market Volatility notes that the Eds & Meds sector has grown nationally every year since 1940 and especially is important in softening volatility in the multifamily and retail markets. To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2r51cVY (requires registration).
PPD Will Move Headquarters to 400 North Broad Street
The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) will move its headquarters into the former Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News building at 400 North Broad Street instead of the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company building at 4601 Market Street that the city bought and renovated at a cost of $50 million, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 24.
Police will move from the “Roundhouse” at 750 Race Street by spring 2020 and will be joined on Broad Street by the City’s morgue, toxicology lab, emergency dispatch center, plus the Sixth and Ninth Police District stations, now in Chinatown and the Art Museum area.
The move is expected to cost about $290 million. The City will initially lease the property from an entity controlled by developer Bart Blatstein, who bought the building in 2011 for $22.65 million. Leasing will allow the use of tax credits for renovations available only to private owners, but eventually the City will buy the building.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2qWfiLx.
The move of the Police Administration building will create a major development opportunity on the south side of Franklin Square and in close proximity to both the closed PATCO station and the Chinatown stop for the Broad/Ridge spur.
Office Sector News
Tech Firms Reconsidering Open Workplace
Tech companies are beginning to rethink the open workplace model, as its disadvantages such as diminished ability to focus, increased stress, and high demand for private conference rooms, have stimulated demand for more traditional office plans, Bisnow reported on May 24.
Without completely eliminating open floor plans, the firms are considering open lounge seating, library and café settings.
Other ideas include creating neighborhoods for separate teams and workspaces where people working on a similar task can gather. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2rYzudy.
Record Visits to Greater Philadelphia
Visit Philadelphia on May 24 announced that the City of Philadelphia, along with Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties (Greater Philadelphia) welcomed 42 million domestic visitors in 2016, the seventh consecutive year for record visitation and a 2.4% increase over 2015.
For 37 million (88%), the purpose was leisure. In Center City, there were 3.2 million occupied hotel room nights, 32% of which were leisure stays. Saturday hotel occupancy topped 88% for the third year in a row.
Visitor spending in Greater Philadelphia generated $11 billion in economic impact, $30 million each day, and supported 96,600 jobs.
To read the press release, please go to vstphl.ly/2rUKuYM. To read Visit Philadelphia’s 2017 annual report, please go to vstphl.ly/2qrN9aU.
Eds and Meds News
More College Graduates Plan to Stay in Philadelphia
A preview of Campus Philly’s Ready to Launch survey suggests that 67% of students in the class of 2017 plan to stay in Philadelphia after graduating, a 9% increase over the survey’s 2010 result, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 19. The motivation is the availability of jobs, with 52% of seniors responding that there are better job opportunities in the region than elsewhere, and 88% indicating there were “many” or “some” job opportunities.
The report will be released to the public on Thursday, June 1, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2qBN7kg. To register to attend the Campus Philly event, please go to bit.ly/1OCXD0x.
Two More Retailers Announced for East Market
City Fitness has leased 26,916 square feet at East Market and will open in 2018, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 19, bit.ly/2rJervo.
In addition, Wawa announced it had leased 6,196 square feet at 1199 Ludlow Street and will open there in spring 2018, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on May 16, bit.ly/2qPiV3s.
The new retail tenants join Iron Hill Brewery, Design Within Reach and Moms Organic Markets, which have already announced their plans.
Manufacturing and Service Industries Improve
Results from the May Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional manufacturing activity continued to expand this month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, with new orders up for 40.9% of the responding firms, down for 15.5%, and unchanged for 42.2%.
The number of full-time employees remained the same for 68% of the companies, with 23.2% reporting an increase, and 5.9% a decrease. Looking ahead six months, 45.0% expected conditions to improve, 10.2% foresaw a downturn, and 32.6% predicted no change.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2qwepKl [PDF].
Responses to the Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest that the regional service industry continued to expand in May, with new orders up for 29.7% of respondents, down for 14.6%, and remaining the same for 30.9%.
The number of full-time employees was up for 20.5% of the firms, down for 11.2%, and remained static for 60.4%. Looking ahead six months, 50.3% of the companies expected business to improve, 6.4% expected a downturn, and 43.3% foresaw no change.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2rQNXr8 [PDF].
Arts and Culture News
Knight Foundation Awards Grant to Barnes
The Knight Foundation on May 18 announced a grant award of $155,000 to The Barnes Foundation, as part of $1.87 million it is giving to art museums in the U.S. to explore new ways technology can help people connect with art, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The Barnes Foundation will work on creating new ways to browse the museum’s collection online by visual characteristics such as light, shape and color, instead of artists’ names or titles of artworks.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2rajIPt. To see the complete list of grantees, please go to kng.ht/2rujYIS.
Philadelphia Orchestra Concerts Now on SiriusXM
The Philadelphia Orchestra on May 15 launched a new radio concert series on Symphony Hall, SiriusXM’s Channel 76, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Concerts recorded in Verizon Hall will air three times a week and include commentary by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and members of the Orchestra, making it the only American orchestra providing exclusive content to SiriusXM on a regular basis.
Each program will be heard Mondays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at midnight, and Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2qj5zhQ.
SEPTA Board Approves Solar Project, Fare Increases and Budgets
The SEPTA Board announced on May 25 that it had unanimously authorized the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at four bus and rail shops in the city. SunVest Solar, Inc., the selected vendor, will finance, own, design, install, operate and maintain the roof-mounted PV systems for 20 years at Second and Wyoming (Bus Maintenance, Print and Sign Shop), Fern Rock (Rail Shop for Broad Street Line), Callowhill (Bus Maintenance) and Roberts (Rail Shop for Regional Railcars). The project is a key initiative of SEPTA’s recently approved second-generation Sustainability Program Plan. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2s3K7uU.
In addition, the Board approved fare increases, effective July 1, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18). Cash Fare/Quick Trip will increase from $2.25 to $2.50; discounted single ride with SEPTA Key Travel Wallet/Token will rise from $1.80 to $2; and a monthly TransPass will increase from $91 to $96. To see all the fare changes, please go to bit.ly/2mYd9MD.
The Board approved a $1.45 billion operating budget, a 2.8% increase over FY17’s budget, driven by anticipated additional costs for labor, fuel, parts and services.
The $727.2 million capital budget includes funds to renew critical infrastructure, replace aging portions of its fleet, expand capacity for growing ridership, and make technology improvements, including real-time travel alerts.
For more information on SEPTA’s budgets, please see the press release at bit.ly/2qWBq89.
Airlines Support Improvements at PHL
Led by American, airlines at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) have committed $395.9 million for infrastructure improvements —replacing roofs, elevators, escalators, HVAC units, and security and technology upgrades, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 23.
The most visible change will come in approximately six years when American builds a new front entrance at PHL to replace the Terminal B and C ticketing areas.
Other improvements include spending $94.6 million to modernize fuel pumping and storage; investing $43.2 million in aircraft deicing equipment; acquiring land parcels for $27.1 million for future development; purchasing airfield snow removal equipment and an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle for $6.2 million.
New Name for the Port: PhilaPort
The Port of Philadelphia’s name has been changed to PhilaPort, effective immediately, with the aim of aggressively marketing the port to shippers worldwide, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 23.
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority is updating terminals, wharves, and cargo cranes and wants an easily recognized name to help capitalize on opportunities resulting from the expansion.
The Wolf administration has committed $300 million to upgrade the 15 piers and terminals owned by the Commonwealth on the Delaware River.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2qo87rm.
I-676 to Close Three Nights
I-676 will be closed and detoured in both directions between the I-76 and Broad Street (Route 611) interchanges on Tuesday, May 30, through Thursday, June 1, from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., for overhead bridge construction, PennDOT announced on May 25.
Crews will work at night on the demolition of the 18th Street Bridge, the last of seven bridges over I-676 to be constructed. The overnight operation is part of PennDOT’s $64.8 million project to rebuild deteriorated spans over I-676 between 18th Street and 22nd Street.
The entire project to replace seven bridges and expand and improve public space on and around the bridges is scheduled to be completed in late 2018, a year ahead of schedule.
For more information on the I-676 project, please visit bridgesover676.com.
Revenue Down at SugarHouse Casino
Revenue at SugarHouse Casino on the Delaware River dipped slightly in April, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, with the casino taking in $26,170,208, compared to $27,701,239 in March.
The Commonwealth’s share of taxes was $6,861,957, compared to $7,325,409 in March. The City of Philadelphia collected $839,419 in April, compared to March’s $895,855.
To view all casino revenues, please go to bit.ly/2bkEjIO.
Parks and Open Space News
Schuylkill Banks Releases Plan for Expansion
From 2000 to 2015, $76 million was invested in capital improvements for projects completed on Schuylkill Banks, and construction from projects in progress and to be completed in the near-term (2016 through 2019) are estimated to require an additional investment of $214 million, according to a study commissioned by the Schuylkill River Development Corporation and prepared by Econsult Solutions, The Potential Economic Impacts of the Completed Expansion of Schuylkill Banks, released on May 12.
In the longer term (2019-2024), over $200 million in infrastructure investment is planned, including connecting trails on either side of the river via the repurposing of an abandoned rail swing bridge and, eventually, allowing users to complete a loop around the river along a significant portion of Schuylkill Banks.
To learn about forthcoming projects, please go to schuylkillbanks.org/projects.
SRC Approves Budget for School District
The School Reform Commission (SRC) on May 25 adopted a $2.9 billion operating budget, 6.7% higher than the current budget, which will allow the Philadelphia School District to add 76 teaching jobs plus counselors and bilingual aides to help students who are learning English.
The SRC, however, noted that spending is outpacing revenue, driven by rising charter and pension costs. Officials have warned that a deficit will emerge beginning in 2018-19 that rises to $800 million over five years, despite the $65 million in new annual money for the District resulting from the reassessment of Philadelphia’s commercial properties. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2qnrzFC.
Home Rule Charter Changes Approved by Voters
Philadelphia voters on May 16 approved two changes to the City’s Home Rule Charter, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The first changes how the city contracts for goods and services, shifting the standard from the “lowest responsible bidder” to the “best value.” This method is considered a national best practice and is used by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the federal government, and 18 of the nation’s 20 largest cities, the article noted.
The second amendment to the Charter creates the Philadelphia Community Reinvestment Commission, which will work to coordinate redevelopment efforts among public, private and nonprofit partners.
To read the article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, please go to bit.ly/2qx1YNd. For details on the composition and goals of the Commission, please go to bit.ly/2q0IyMF.
City Overtime Pay on Track to Exceed Budgeted Allocation
With one quarter remaining in the fiscal year, City departments have spent $116.5 million on overtime pay, 90.1% of the approved overtime allocation for fiscal year 2017 (FY17), according to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA).
Through the third quarter, three departments exceeded their overtime allocations: Free Library (164.0%), Streets (128.5%), and Parks & Recreation (102.6%). Two departments, Police (93.4%) and Fire (92.3%), spent over 90% of their allocations.
PICA suggests that departments strive for more accurate planning for spending on overtime pay and more realistic, conservative overtime budgeting.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2qxQBos [PDF].
CCD Sips Returns for Summer
Next week, on Wednesday, June 7, Center City District and Effen Vodka will partner for the return of Center City District Sips, the popular weekly happy hour featuring Effen Blood Orange and Effen Green Apple, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., in more than 80 bars and restaurants. The promotion will continue through August 30. Participating bars and restaurants will offer $5 cocktails featuring Effen Vodka, $4 wine, $3 beer and half-priced appetizers.
Sips at Dilworth Park Café will provide outdoor seating along with a DJ each week.
New this year is the CCD Sips Style Guide, presented by American Express, featuring fashion and beauty retailers on the Sips website, offering promotions in-store before Sips.
For complete information, please visit ccdsips.com.
Council to Hold Hearing on Hotel BID Bill
City Council’s Committee on Rules will hold a public hearing on Bill #170468 on Tuesday, June 13, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 400, City Hall.
The bill, introduced on May 11, would establish a citywide hotel business improvement district (BID) that would only assess hotels – the Philadelphia Hospitality Improvement Levy District (PHiL District) – for the purpose of helping to fill rooms. (A previous PHiL District bill was introduced on May 4 as #170431.) Funded by an assessment of three-quarters of one percent (0.75%) of gross room rental revenue from hotels of 50 rooms or more, the improvement district would be authorized until December 31, 2022.
Revenue collected from the special assessment fees would be used to pursue citywide events and conferences, as well as sporting and cultural events. The first-year budget (2018) is estimated at $5.8 million. Philadelphia hotel businesses lost potential room-night sales from at least four lost events due to lack of financial resources, the bill noted.
To read Bill #170468, please go to bit.ly/2qTze14.
Welcome America Begins June 29
The six-day Welcome America celebration begins on Thursday, June 29, with Wawa Hoagie Day at the National Constitution Center, from noon to 2:00 p.m., NBC 10 reported.
Other events include fireworks shows at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1, visible at spots along the Delaware River.
On Tuesday, July 4th, free festivities begin at 1:00 p.m. on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with the main event beginning at 7:00 p.m. featuring Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, and the Philly POPS. The celebration ends with two fireworks displays, over the Art Museum and the Delaware River, at approximately 9:30 p.m.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2rUA2Bg. For complete information on more than 50 events, please go to welcomeamerica.com.