Office Sector News
Aramark Will Move to Market West
Aramark Corporation will move its headquarters from 1101 Market Street to 300,000 square feet on the top five floors of the nine-story office building under construction at 2400 Market Street, where it will be the anchor tenant, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 12.
PMC Property Group is developing the building in a venture with Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds. The move is expected to take place in 2018.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cfLG6O. To view the renderings, please go to bit.ly/2cRBTUb. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2c6d2Lk.
Eds and Meds News
Thomas Jefferson and Philadelphia Universities Merge
Thomas Jefferson University and Philadelphia University on September 9 signed a binding agreement to become one university, which will have approximately 7,500 students (undergraduate and graduate combined), the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The merger, expected to be completed in 2017, needs regulatory approval, and was driven by the idea of creating innovation in health, science, architecture, design, fashion, business and engineering based on the concept that design and healthcare are linked.
Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, will have the same title for the combined university.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cLMcrS. To read the press release, please go to prn.to/2cQU0pj.
$2 Million Grant for Historic Philadelphia Campaign
Visit Philadelphia received a $2 million grant for its Historic Philadelphia campaign from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on September 12.
The campaign launched in May with the goal of defining and promoting the “the original city,” including the city's historic district and adjacent areas from the Delaware River to Seventh Street and Lombard to Vine Streets.
The campaign grew out of a study that indicated many travelers only visited the high-profile landmarks. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cW0fMK.
To read Visit Philadelphia’s 2016 annual report, which notes the organization’s accomplishments as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, and was released on September 13, please go to vstphl.ly/2cW1lbq.
Businesses Responsible for Patrons’ Behavior
Mayor Jim Kenney on September 12 held a ceremony to signal the implementation of Bill #160115, sponsored by Councilwoman Cindy Bass and signed by the Mayor on June 29, which holds business owners responsible for nuisance behavior occurring on their site or within the immediate vicinity, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
A business now can be fined or shut down for the misdeeds of its patrons or those who linger nearby.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2chwF1w. To read Bill #160115, please go to bit.ly/2cIM104.
Economic Trends News
Manufacturing Industry Gains Strength
The region’s manufacturing industry continued to improve in September though employment remained weak, according to firms responding to September’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, with new orders up for 30.0% of the companies, down for 28.7%, and remaining the same for 38.5%.
The number of full-time employees was up for 11.7%, down for 17.1%, and remained the same for more than two thirds, 68.4%.
Looking ahead six months, almost half, 49.5%, anticipated business conditions to improve, while 12.0% expected business to worsen, and 29.9% responded they expected no change.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2cLLoRC.
'Global Trends' Looks Beyond Millennials
The 2017 Progressive Urban Management Associates’ Global Trends Report finds downtowns and urban districts benefiting from market forces that have accelerated, transforming urban areas in just a few years, and creating new challenges for builders and developers.
The report notes some game-changing considerations: the emergence of Gen Z (behind millennials); downtowns evolving into multidimensional neighborhoods; and social equity becoming an economic imperative to retain the downtown’s historical role as a center of opportunity, diversity and tolerance.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2cdhWRS [PDF].
PA Gaming Board Fines SugarHouse
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on September 7 levied two $15,000 fines, one against SugarHouse HSP Gaming Company, LP, operator of the SugarHouse Casino, and the other against Holdings Acquisitions Company, LP, operator of the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
The fines were for failure to notify the Board in a timely manner of ownership interests held in licensed trusts that were transferred to unlicensed trusts, the press release noted.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2cFzM1X.
In other SugarHouse news, revenue fell in August, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
In August, the casino took in $22,540,179, compared to $25,063,501 in July. The Commonwealth’s share of taxes was $5,985,533, compared to $6,511,961 in July. The City of Philadelphia collected $731,413, compared to July’s $817,015. To see other casino revenues, please go to bit.ly/2bkEjIO.
Also, the majority owner of SugarHouse Casino has launched an online gambling site, PlaySugarHouse.com, exclusive for players in New Jersey, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 15, bit.ly/2cwxaVb.
Arts and Culture News
William Penn Foundation Names New Interim Executive Director
The William Penn Foundation on September 14 announced that Executive Director Laura Sparks will leave the Foundation to become President of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. Shawn McCaney, Director of Creative Communities & National Initiatives, will serve as Interim Executive Director until a permanent director is named.
McCaney has been at William Penn for 13 years and has led key national initiatives for the organization and oversees one of its largest grant portfolios. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2cpN7u7.
Gephart Stepping Down at Academy of Natural Sciences
Drexel University on September 15 announced that George W. Gephart, Jr. will retire next year as President and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
In May 2011, Gephart and Drexel University President John A. Fry brought together the two institutions and the Academy became a part of the University, ensuring the museum’s financial stability.
The Academy has launched a national search for Gephart’s successor and plans to have the position filled by summer 2017, when Gephart will retire. To read the announcement, please go to bit.ly/2cCARJK.
Parks and Open Space News
AMOR Approved for Sister Cities Park
On Wednesday, September 7, the Philadelphia Art Commission reviewed and approved the plan to permanently install Robert Indiana’s AMOR, the companion sculpture to LOVE, at Sister Cities Park, 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, PlanPhilly reported.
The sculpture was temporarily at home on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) during Pope Francis’ visit last year. Center City District worked with PMA, the City’s Public Art program and Studio|Bryan Hanes to accommodate the sculpture. A new pedestal will be fabricated for the sculpture.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cnyKvJ.
Announcement About LOVE Park Tomorrow
Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy will hold a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, September 20, at 4:00 p.m., at MSB Plaza, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard regarding the Welcome Center at LOVE Park.
Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporation President and CEO, John Crowe, will be in attendance to celebrate the next phase of construction at LOVE Park.
New Challenge for Silverliner V Repairs
SEPTA recalled the first of the repaired Silverliner V cars after it discovered that the replacement parts did not fit properly, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 12.
The problem was the cylinders of metal that hold a foot in place on each end of the new equalizer beams. The pins were 1/32nd of an inch too wide. The issue didn’t present an immediate safety concern, but the pins were creating friction that could create uneven stress distribution on the car trucks.
Hyundai Rotem, which designed the fix for the flawed cars it manufactured, is covering the cost of repairs. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cyl2lw.
State Awarded Almost $7 Million for Transit
Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT on September 9 announced a nearly $7 million grant, including $4 million for SEPTA, from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration to help improve bus service for transit riders in Pennsylvania.
SEPTA’s allocation will be used to rehabilitate the Wissahickon Transit Center on the Manayunk/Norristown Line in Northwest Philadelphia.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2ccp2bk.
I-676 Detours for Bridge Construction
I-676 will be closed and detoured in both directions between the I-76 and Broad Street (Route 611) interchanges today, Monday, September 19, through Thursday, September 22, 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.
Streets Closing for Philly Free Streets
The City has extended the closing of streets to cars for the forthcoming Philly Free Streets event on September 24, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Philly Voice reported on September 10.
The original closure, South Street from Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River to the South Street Bridge at the Schuylkill River, has been extended beyond the bridge to Fairmount Park and Martin Luther King Drive, ending at the Falls Bridge, approximately two additional miles.
Along the route, 50 organizations will provide family-friendly entertainment, activities and food.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cljH1i. For more information on Free Streets, please go to phillyfreestreets.com.
Free Parking Ends in October
Drivers will no longer enjoy free parking in Center City on Wednesday evenings and First Fridays beginning October 5, due to the expanding use of the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s (PPA) new meterUP app, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 16.
The PPA has increased time limits in the evening on most Center City blocks to allow time for people participating in night-time activities, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2d5OL86.
Mobile App Credited With $28 Million in Savings
Use of the mobile app GO-TIME by field staff on highway construction projects has saved more than $28 million over two years, Governor Tom Wolf announced on September 15.
Prior to adoption of the mobile app, nearly 400 inspectors had to consult large paper documents and spend time traveling back and forth between their offices and construction sites to submit reports on $2.5 billion annual worth of construction. Now, inspectors use the app to perform the same tasks directly from the field.
To learn more about GO-TIME, please go to governor.pa.gov/go-time/.
In Oslo, Kids Report Street Issues with New App
A Norwegian researcher who has studied traffic safety for 15 years has developed an interactive app, Traffic Agent, essentially a kids’ 311, which allows Oslo’s students to report obstructions and issues on their walks to and from school with just a few taps on their smartphone, Curbed reported on September 12.
Since debuting last February, the app has spread across the Oslo school system and logged more than 5,000 issues to be examined and improved, and children get the satisfaction of “I did this” when a problem is fixed.
To view the app, please go to trafikkagenten.no/en/. To read the Curbed article, please go to bit.ly/2cyoXz0.
Philadelphia Designated Silver Level Walk Friendly
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), a North Carolina-based organization that promotes safe walking and bicycling, has designated Philadelphia as a Silver Level Walk Friendly Community, Mayor Jim Kenney announced on September 15.
The PBIC cited CCD’s pedestrian wayfinding system, robust transit system, complete streets guidelines, and pedestrian and bicycle planning processes.
To read the announcement, please go to bit.ly/2cLnVSj.
Moody’s Revises Outlook for City
Moody’s Investors Service on September 6 affirmed the City of Philadelphia’s A2 rating on its $1.5 billion in outstanding General Obligation debt, but revised the outlook from stable to negative to reflect the City’s weak financial balance and low reserves, Billy Penn reported. Only Chicago and Detroit have lower ratings than Philadelphia’s A rating.
The action came the day before City Council’s Committee on Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation held a public hearing on the City’s Operating Budget for FY2017.
Rob Dubow, Director of Finance, testified that the City’s fund balance will drop to 1.0%, or $47 million, in FY18, and that the City’s pension fund is only 45% funded. To shore up the City’s finances, the City is targeting $70 million in delinquent tax collections. Dubow suggested reductions in business and wage taxes as a way to improve the City’s coffers.
To read the Billy Penn article, please go to bit.ly/2cshhOU. To read the Moody’s report, please go to bit.ly/2c91txX. To read an article from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, please go to bit.ly/2cCmwzf.
City’s New Soda Tax Challenged
The American Beverage Association and nine other plaintiffs, including city residents and businesses, on September 14 filed suit to block Philadelphia’s recently adopted sweetened-beverage tax, scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The City has retained former City Solicitors Ken Trujillo and Mark Aronchick to represent it in the suit.
The lawsuit was filed in Common Pleas Court, but lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking that the state Supreme Court take up the case and also are requesting an injunction to stop the City from collecting the tax. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2caKPOM.
City Expands Paperless Contracts
The City of Philadelphia debuted on September 7 its new website, PHLcontracts.phila.gov, that will allow businesses who want to contract with the City to register online, with electronic bidding scheduled to begin in November, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Requests for Proposals should begin appearing online in October.
Professional services contracts, such as those for consultants, accountants and lawyers, are already using an electronic process, the article noted. The change from paper to electronic will be new for public works, construction and supply vendors.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bYpTKF.
ZBA Chairman Resigns
James Moylan, appointed chairman of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) by Mayor Jim Kenney has resigned, PlanPhilly reported on September 14.
The Mayor has not yet named a replacement. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2csuXYV.
CCD Customer Satisfaction Survey: Please Tell Us What You Think
Each year, the Center City District (CCD) surveys its constituents to measure how well it is performing. We would appreciate your taking the time to respond to this survey. It should take no more than a few minutes to complete. Thank you! Here’s the survey: ccdsurvey.com.
Fall CPDC Meeting: Dr. Hite to Speak About Philadelphia Public Schools
On Tuesday, September 27, at 4:00 p.m., in the Meade Room of the Union League, 140 South Broad Street, the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation will hold its Membership Meeting. The program will be Funding & the Future for Philadelphia's Public Schools.
For the last decade, respondents to the CCD/CPDC’s annual customer satisfaction survey have always listed “Reduce the Wage Tax,” “Reduce Business Taxes” and “Improve Public Schools” among the three top changes that would improve Center City as a place to live and do business. In the last several years, as state budget crises have directly impacted the School District, “Improve Public Schools” has moved to the number-one priority from survey respondents.
Dr. William Hite, Superintendent, Philadelphia School District, and Uri Monson, Chief Operating Officer, Philadelphia School District, will discuss how Philadelphia’s schools are funded, what more is needed to provide certainty and what are the District’s priorities for both city-wide and Greater Center City’s public schools.
Business casual attire required. No denim.
CPDC members are encouraged to invite both young professionals and other members of their firms to attend this meeting. Please RSVP to Danielle Allen by Wednesday, September 21 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.440.5533.
Center City District Restaurant Week Continues
Center City District Restaurant Week continues through Friday, September 23. Participating restaurants are offering three-course dinners for only $35 and three-course lunches for $20. To see the full list of restaurants and their menus, please go to CenterCityPhila.org/restaurantweek. On the site, you also can make easy online reservations through OpenTable and enter a contest to win 52 gift certificates from Center City restaurants. Keep up with all the news about Center City District Restaurant Week news on Twitter: @PhilaRestWeek.