New Management for
Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania
Convention Center Authority
(PCCA) voted on June 5 to privatize management of the Pennsylvania
Convention Center (PCC).
a leading provider of private management for more than 220
public-assembly facilities worldwide, was the firm selected and will
assume responsibility for managing the operations of PCC within the
next three to four months. SMG has extensive experience working
with organized labor in Pittsburgh, Providence, Chicago, and Detroit,
and will work closely with the Philadelphia
Convention & Visitors
Bureau to increase bookings at PCC by developing new
bringing back past customers.
$787 million renovation and expansion of PCC was completed in 2011, but
concerns about bookings have mounted in recent months. The
board�s privatizing of management was presented as a first step in
addressing this challenge.
Renovate Garage at Eighth and Filbert
Parking Authority (PPA) released plans to renovate a
parking garage it owns at Eighth and Filbert Streets, adjacent to where
its new office headquarters are located at Eighth and Market
Streets. The garage was built in 1964 to support the Strawbridge
& Clothier department store and other Market Street retail.
$15 million renovation is being designed by O�Donnell & Naccarato,
Wallace Roberts & Todd. The renderings
show new Arch Street
and Filbert Street façades and new lighting and other
enhancements to improve the ground-floor retail and animate the Eighth
Street underpass beneath the garage.
retail and streetscape work is expected to be completed in early 2014
and the façade improvement will follow in early 2015, an
To view the renderings provided
in a Philadelphia
Inquirer article, please go to bit.ly/194YyCo.
Proposed Apartment Tower for Market West
Realty Trust will be presenting their proposed 28-story,
rental apartment tower at the northeast corner of 20th and Market
Streets to the Center
City Residents� Association at a meeting to be
scheduled before July 31.
The first two stories of the
building will contain 25,000 square feet of retail/commercial on both
Market and 20th Streets.
Realty Trust is aiming for a LEED silver certification and hopes to
begin construction in the fall of this year, with completion
anticipated for March 2015. The project will
variances and, under the new Zoning Code, will be subject to a Civic
To see a rendering of the
proposed tower, please go to bit.ly/197FZhc [PDF].
Housing Market Improving
Philadelphia, the volume of sales of residential properties is up and
some houses are attracting multiple offers, according to an article in
the June 3 edition of The
Philadelphia Inquirer. Prices are
rising, due to the low inventory of homes on the market, the article
on data from Prudential
Fox & Roach's HomExpert Market Report,
there were 18.7% more sales in April 2013 than the previous April,
while the median price of a home was 2.5% higher than at the same time
To read the article, please go
Multifamily Building Permits Up Substantially
(MF) building permits for privately-owned housing units in the
Philadelphia metropolitan area rose 38.6% in the past 12 months ending
with April 2013, according to an Axiometrics
Inc. analysis of
Census Bureau information. The number of permits
compared to 1,425 in the 12 months ending with April 2012. The
number of permits for the same period in 2011 and 2010 were well under
1,000, at 667 in 2011 and 686 in 2010.
the number of MF building permits rose by 43.5% from the comparable
period a year ago, and urban infill locations accounted for the bulk of
building permits were up by 16.1% in the Philadelphia metropolitan area
to 3,253 in the 12 months ending with April 2013, which put the area in
69th place out of 83 ranked metropolitan areas.
To read a summary of the
report, please go to bit.ly/13DeG8C.
Employment Growth in Small Scale, Proprietor Firms
to a recently released analysis from New Geography,
the U.S. economy
has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of individuals who
are self-employed and file IRS Schedule C forms for their taxes, while
same time, salaried employment with larger firms has
declined. Nationwide, between 2000 and 2011, sole-proprietor jobs grew
11 million, while wage and salary jobs declined by approximately 1
million. The sole-proprietor share of employment grew
about 11% of all jobs nationally to more than 20% of all jobs during
this same period.
analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data suggests a similar trend
in Philadelphia. Between 2000 and 2011, citywide full- and
part-time proprietor employment grew from 46,131 to 95,100
jobs. At the same time, full-time job growth has been much slower (See
"Houston Leads the Race Out of the Recession, Philadelphia Job Creation
Still Lagging" below.).
Houston Leads the Race Out of the Recession, Philadelphia Job Creation
a recent blog post, Economic
Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)
used their proprietary economic data software to analyze job growth in
the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. following the most recent
recession. At the regional level, while nine out of the 10 largest U.S.
metro areas have added jobs since 2009, the Philadelphia region is
still down -0.4% from 2009 job levels.
understand changes at the city level, CPDC analyzed September 2012 wage
and salary jobs (the last month available) from the Bureau of Labor
Census of Employment and Wages in the City of
Philadelphia and the nine other principal cities of these metropolitan
areas. (Note: In cases where cities are not
their counties, the county most closely aligned with the city area was
used.) While the City of Philadelphia posted 2.2% growth in
and salary jobs since 2009, considerably better than the region
overall, Philadelphia is the slowest recovering city among America�s 10
largest. Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Miami,
York City, and Houston all gained wage and salary jobs at more than
twice the rate of Philadelphia between 2009 and 2012.
Center City District Releases New & Improved Vital Statistics
City District is pleased to release this month�s Vital Statistics
publication in a new online, interactive format. Vital
now includes more city-to-city comparative data, more time series
information, as well as improved data interactivity. Vital
Statistics provides the most up-to-date data on Center City�s office
and hotel market trends as well as job and industry sector information
for the Philadelphia economy. Please contact Lauren
Manager of Research & Analysis, with questions or comments on
new format. centercityphila.org/business/vitalstats.php
Nonmanufacturing Stronger in May
business activity rose in May on both the company and regional levels,
according to the Business Outlook Survey Nonmanufacturing conducted by
the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
majority of the respondents to the survey, 57.5% reported an
increase in new orders, while only 7.5% reported a decrease.
More companies reported they
had added full-time employees (37.5%) than companies that had reduced
the number (10%).
ahead six months, 85% anticipated improved business conditions in the
region, and 72.5% saw improvement on the company level.
Senate Passes Transportation Bill
a vote of 45-5, the Pennsylvania state Senate on June 5 passed with
strong bipartisan support SB 1, a $2.5 billion transportation-funding
bill now goes to the House, where things will be more
complicated. The Associated Press (AP) reported that
leaders in the House are strategizing to tie passage of the
transportation bill to the Senate�s passage of HB 790, which the House
passed in March and which would privatize the state liquor store
system. To read the AP story, please go to bit.ly/11hXUIW.
To read HB 790, please go to bit.ly/XKeyAD.
1 (bit.ly/17JuR6T), introduced by Transportation Committee
Chairman John Rafferty (R., Montgomery), provides roughly $1.9 billion
a year for highways and bridges; $500 million a year for mass transit;
and $115 million to be shared among airports, ports, rail freight, and
walking and biking routes. The bill notes that 9,000 miles of
roads owned by the Commonwealth are in poor condition and that 4,400
bridges owned by the Commonwealth are rated structurally deficient.
pay for the improvements, the bill calls for an increase of 28.5 cents
in the gas franchise tax, which most likely would be passed on to
consumers; a $100 surcharge on moving violations, plus increases in
fines. Motorists would pay $50.50 for a driver's license that would be
valid for six years, instead of the $29.50 for the current four-year
license; and vehicle registration would cost $104 for two years instead
of $36 annually. Passage of the bill could create
60,000 jobs, supporters of the bill estimated.
Drexel President Testifies on Importance of Amtrak�s NEC
Friday, June 6, John A. Fry, President of Drexel University,
testified in support of improvements to Amtrak�s Northeast Corridor on
behalf of the Chamber�s CEO Council for Growth at a U.S. House of
Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing
in New York City.
testimony, which can be read at 1.usa.gov/18d86Mn [PDF], underscored
the vital importance of Amtrak to the Greater Philadelphia region. (Fry
will be the featured speaker at the Tuesday CPDC meeting. See
Eds and Meds
Deadline for Educational Improvement Tax Credit
Center City District Foundation (CCDF) is a state-approved Educational
Improvement Organization (EIO), a vehicle for businesses seeking to
make contributions through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit
(EITC) program to support the public, elementary schools of Center
City. For FY2014, tax credits can equal 75% of a business'
contribution, up to a maximum of $750,000 per year. Tax
of up to 90% are available for businesses that contribute the same
amount for two consecutive years. Contributions to the CCDF for this
purpose can be used to expand arts and cultural initiatives and foreign
language programs, and increase financial literacy and entrepreneurial
skills in Center City public schools.
are due July 1 and are processed on a first-come-first-served basis,
until funds are exhausted. For additional information or to apply,
please visit newpa.com/eitc.
Thousands to Be Laid Off by School District of Philadelphia
funding at both the state and city level remains uncertain,
Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., on Friday announced that the
District was mailing layoff notices to 3,783 employees, including 676
teachers, 283 counselors, 127 assistant principals, and 1,202 noontime
aides, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Additional layoff notices
are to be mailed next week to more workers who provide support to the
teaching professionals. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/11AVdXb.
New COO for School District
Burns, executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental
Cooperation Authority (PICA), will resign her position there to become
Chief Operating Officer of the School District of Philadelphia, PICA
board chairman Sam Katz announced on May 29. Burns served as
L&I Commissioner before joining PICA.
Open Space News
Approves Rittenhouse Improvements
lighting project for Rittenhouse Square was unanimously approved by the
Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) on June 5, PlanPhilly
reported. The project also includes retrofitting existing
lampposts and the installation of security cameras. The
is part of an overall $1 million investment in the park by
Department of Parks & Recreation and the Friends of Rittenhouse
Square. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Square's redesign
by Paul Cret.
To read the PlanPhilly article,
please go to bit.ly/1b5wonq.
Hearing on AVI-Related & Other Tax Bills in City Council
City Council Committee of the Whole will hold a public hearing on
Wednesday, June 12, at 2:00 p.m. to hear testimony on 10 tax bills.
major concern is Bill #120651, introduced by Councilman W. Wilson
Goode, Jr., that would reduce the tax abatement for new single-family
and residential condo construction from 10 years to eight years and cap
the amount that could be abated for owner-occupied residential
properties at $200,000.
estate developers consider the full tax abatement critical to the
continued growth of the downtown and note that properties coming off
the abatement will contribute $88 million in additional property tax
revenue, in addition to the jobs created by construction, the taxes
that these jobs generate, as well as the substantial real-estate
transfer taxes generated by major condominium projects.
The bill can be read at bit.ly/12p3EnY.
Other Bills on the Wednesday Agenda:
#120338 (Curtis Jones, Jr. on behalf of Council President)
Providing for deferrals of payment of a certain portion of Real Estate
Taxes due the City of Philadelphia or the Philadelphia School District. bit.ly/18U4Mmc
#120339 (Curtis Jones, Jr. on behalf of Council President)
"Special Real Estate Tax Provisions for Low Income Taxpayers,"
providing for credits against real estate tax for some low-income
#120341 (Curtis Jones, Jr. on behalf of Council President) Providing
for installment payments of real estate taxes. bit.ly/18czIkB
#130142 (Mark Squilla) Calls for phasing in over
the increases and decreases in property taxes. bit.ly/1be7Rwz
#130150 (James F. Kenney) Authorizing real estate taxes for
City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia at a
combined rate of 1% for Fiscal Year 2014. bit.ly/Z0r11T
Bill # 130163 (David Oh) Providing for deferrals of payment of a certain portion of
Real Estate Taxes due the City of Philadelphia or the Philadelphia
School District, for owner-occupied properties that are the owner's
primary residence, with a limitation of five years. bit.ly/18cAUV5
#130183 (Curtis Jones, Jr. on behalf of Council President)
bill would continue reductions in the Wage and Net Profits Tax through
2017. bit.ly/19PULrq (Another bill,
#130444, bit.ly/Zje0rw, would effectively undo the
proposed restart and five-year planned reduction of wage and business
taxes that were in the Mayor's plan.)
Bill #130254 (Mark
Squilla) Would phase in the effects of AVI over a period of
#130447 (Curtis Jones, Jr. on behalf of Council President) Raises the
tax on alcoholic drinks served by the glass in any hotel, restaurant,
or club. bit.ly/18oGGzz
Friday, state Senator Anthony Williams (D., Philadelphia) introduced SB
945, bit.ly/19Qeqrg, that would provide the necessary enabling
legislation for the drink tax. Williams also introduced SB
944, bit.ly/17vsB5U, that would provide the necessary enabling
legislation for the proposed cigarette tax, Bill #130446 bit.ly/13QQe5m.)
Three Bills Passed By Council
On Thursday, June 6, City Council passed
three tax bills.
#120054-A, sponsored by Councilman Bill Green, creates the opportunity
for a property owner who is delinquent on taxes to set up an
installment plan and requires the City to take action if the owner does
not set up such a plan. To read the bill, please go
#121037-A, sponsored by Councilman Bill Green, defines the source of
receipts from the sale of products and services of a software company
as the location where the recipient receives the benefit of the
products and services, known as market-based sourcing. To
the bill, please go to bit.ly/11JEXyU.
#130141, sponsored by Councilman Brian J. O�Neill, provides for senior
citizens who are in a tax-freeze program and who would owe less tax as
a result of a reduction in the tax rate, to be able to re-enter the
program at the lower rate. To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/18bdI9Q.
Other Developments in Council
part of the Actual Value Initiative, Council approved a real estate tax
rate of 1.34 and included a Homestead exemption of $30,000. Also,
Council took no action on a bill proposed by Councilwoman Maria
Quinones Sanchez that would have raised substantially the U&O
on the business community.
Increase in City Tax Revenue
of Philadelphia tax revenues for April totaled $516.6 million, a 42%
increase from the same month last year, according to the Office of the
City Controller's March Financial Forecast & Snapshot.
earnings, and net profit tax collections for the month totaled
almost $169 million, an almost 10% increase compared to the
month last year. Monthly sales tax collections totaled $19.3 million,
4% less than was collected last April.
read the report, please go to bit.ly/15vTzWX [PDF].
PICA Releases Third Quarter Report
Fund revenue for the City of Philadelphia is projected to be $3,675.6
million, an increase of $57.2 million over the previous quarter and
$107.8 million over the Fiscal Year 2013-Fiscal Year 2017 (FY13-FY17)
Plan, according to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation
Authority�s (PICA) report on the Quarterly City Managers Report for the
third quarter of FY13, released on June 7.
To read the report, please go
Drexel University's Ambitious Plans
next Central Philadelphia Development Corporation Membership Meeting
will be Tuesday, June 11, at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, One
Logan Square. Breakfast will be offered at 8:30 a.m. and the program
will begin at 8:45 a.m.
John Fry, President of Drexel
University, will be the guest speaker.
University has ambitious plans to expand its West Philadelphia campus
east while creating a mixed-use residential and innovation district
adjacent to 30th Street Station. On both sides of the Benjamin Franklin
Parkway, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and
Drexel's health-care facilities are growing. University
John Fry will outline a vision for an expanding university that can
have very positive impacts for both the western edge of Center City and
northwest quadrant of Center City between the Parkway and North Broad
CPDC members are encouraged to
invite both young professionals and other members of their firm to
attend this meeting.
Highlights of Two of PCPC's District Plans
Monday, June 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Center for
Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, the Philadelphia City Planning
Commission (PCPC) will present "Visions for Our Metropolitan Center,"
which will examine the PCPC's University Southwest District Plan and
the Central District Plan.
will include Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and
Commerce Director; Jim Pearlstein of Pearl Properties, who will present
"The Developer's Perspective"; and PCPC's Laura Spina and Andrew
Meloney, who will present highlights of the two district plans.
A reception will
follow. The event is free. To register, please go