Office Sector News
Vanguard to Open Office in University City
The Vanguard Group, the financial-services company based in Malvern, next year will open an innovation center adjacent to downtown Philadelphia with about 20 employees, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 2.
Vanguard will use the center to focus on developing services to meet the evolving needs of various clients and expects to expand to approximately 100 employees there. The company has not yet formally announced its location, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fFlin0.
Two Liberty Place Offices Sold
Cousins Properties, Inc. of Atlanta has completed the $219 million sale of the 941,000-square-foot office portion of Two Liberty Place to Coretrust Capital Partners LLC of Los Angeles, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 3. Coretrust is currently planning improvements to the building. CCD Board member Randall Scott is a principal with Coretrust.
Among this year's commercial real estate transactions, the Two Liberty Place sale was second only to Brandywine Realty Trust’s $354 million purchase of the former 30th Street Post Office, which has been converted to offices.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fzTwsz.
Permit Issued for Demolition on Jewelers’ Row
The Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections on November 9 issued a permit to the Toll Brothers’ contractor, Haines & Kibblehouse, to demolish five properties on Jewelers’ Row in preparation for building a 16-story condo tower, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Demolition is expected to begin in mid-2017 with construction completed in two years.
The five buildings to be demolished are 702 to 710 Sansom Street and a contiguous property at 128 South Seventh Street. A corner property, 700 Sansom Street, recently renovated as a small café, will remain.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fFDv1g.
Developer Buying Properties near Viaduct Rail Park
Arts & Crafts Holdings, a development group whose general partner is Craig Grossman, part of the late Tony Goldman’s team that created Midtown Village, is buying and leasing properties near the second phase of the Viaduct Rail Park, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The most recent purchase was the 2,300-square-foot Citizens Bank building on 10,700 square feet of land at Spring Garden Street and Ridge Avenue for $1.55 million, bit.ly/2emHulC, reported on November 8.
The Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) approved plans to sell the 15,920-square-foot, city-owned property at 1006 Buttonwood Street to an affiliate of Arts & Crafts Holdings for $1.15 million. The property is located between the former Haverford Cycle Company at 448 North 10th Street and 1016 Buttonwood Street, both owned by Arts & Crafts. Other holdings include 1025 Hamilton Street, 1027 Ridge Avenue and 990 Spring Garden Street, an October 31 article reported, bit.ly/2fFXP2l.
Residential Market News
City House Prices Reach Historic High
Philadelphia’s median house price increased from $145,000 to $149,000, a new all-time high, and house values are now nearly 10% higher than they were during their previous peak in mid-2007 and the highest in history, according to Kevin C. Gillen, Senior Research Fellow with the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, in a new report, Philadelphia Housing Report: Q3 2016, released on October 28.
Philadelphia’s houses are currently appreciating at nearly 13% annually, while other cities have been experiencing an average annual appreciation of 4% during the last two years.
There were 5,358 arms-length sales in the third quarter, up 12% from the previous quarter, and up 15% from the same quarter last year.
In University City, house prices increased by 18% and, in Center City/Fairmount (Gillen’s geography), by 5.0%.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1qntloS.
Philadelphia Has Most Affordable Housing
The Philadelphia region has the most affordable housing of the 10 major cities in the U.S., as measured by an index that pairs median home price and median income, according to JLL’s Chart of the Week for November 7.
The region’s below-average job-growth predictions combined with expected major increases in the cost of housing in major markets in Texas should keep the Philadelphia area in the affordability category in the future.
To view the chart, please go to bit.ly/1MnTEDp.
Eds and Meds News
Joyce Wilkerson Named Chair of SRC
Mayor Jim Kenney named Joyce Wilkerson, an executive at Temple University and former chief of staff to Mayor John Street, as his choice for the School Reform Commission, and Governor Tom Wolf immediately named her chair of the commission, effective November 3, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
One of her top priorities is getting a new contract for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which has been without a deal for three years, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2f1TgAV.
Report Documents Success of Science Center’s Program
A review of the University City Science Center’s proof-of-concept program shows that in the past eight years, it has screened 475 technologies and selected 94 projects for pairing scientists with industry professionals, including 28 that received a total of $4.85 million in funding and five that grew into full-blown startup companies, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 3.
The program unites 21 academic and research institutions in the tri-state area to test concepts and finance the funding gap between discovery and commercialization in life sciences and healthcare technologies.
The review, titled “Closing the Gap: University City Science Center's QED Proof-of-Concept Program,” was conducted by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fdoC7P. To read the Economy League’s report, please go to bit.ly/2eJpW1s [PDF].
Bourse Will Be Home to New Food Hall
MRP Realty of Washington, D.C., new owner of The Bourse, plans to create a food hall with 30 to 35 new vendors, similar to New York’s Chelsea Market, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 9. The tourist gift shops will be replaced.
Renovations to update the space will begin this month and are expected to be completed in eight months.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2eNPOcI.
Parks and Open Space News
The Dilworth Park Wintergarden Is Now Open
The Rothman Institute Ice Rink on Friday opened for its third season on the north side of Dilworth Park, accompanied by the return of the Rothman Institute Cabin, with a new menu by Brûlée Catering at the Dilworth Park Air Grille. Rink, cabin and grille will remain open for business until Sunday, February 26, 2017.
The Dilworth Park Wintergarden, featuring America’s Garden Capital Maze, also opened on Friday, and coming November 19, is the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. Entrance to the Maze is free. The Winter Season at Dilworth Park is presented by Rothman Institute, William Penn Foundation and through generous support from Subaru, Capital One, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Temple University and 6abc.
Admission to the Rothman Rink is $3 for children 10 and under, $5 for adults, and skate rental is $10. Hours are Noon to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; Noon to 11:00 p.m. on Friday; 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday; and Noon to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. For complete information and holiday hours, please check the Dilworth Park website, dilworthpark.org.
The Rothman Institute Cabin is the perfect place for office holiday parties. To book your event, please contact Sarah Anello at 215.440.5507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For complete information about all the activities at Dilworth Park’s Wintergarden, please go to dilworthpark.org. To learn more about America’s Garden Capital, please go to americasgardencapital.org.
Bridge Construction over I-676 Underway
PennDOT on November 3 announced that construction work to replace the 22nd Street and 21st Street bridges over I-676 would begin on Monday, November 7, enabling the project to be completed a year ahead of schedule, in November 2018.
PennDOT will keep two lanes of traffic open on the 22nd Street and 21st Street bridges by rebuilding both bridges one half at a time. Parking on the 22nd Street and 21st Street overpasses will be eliminated and I-676 will be closed and detoured periodically during overnight hours.
The bridge construction is part of PennDOT’s $64.8 million project to replace seven structurally deficient bridges over I-676 between 22nd and 18th Streets, along with making landscaping and streetscape improvements above the expressway.
For more information on the I-676 project, please go to bridgesover676.com. For additional information on PennDOT, please go to 511PA.com.
SEPTA Strike Ends With New Labor Agreement
The SEPTA transit strike, which began at 12:01 a.m. on November 1, ended just before 5:00 a.m. on Monday, November 7, with agreement on a five-year contract for 4,738 SEPTA employees, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The agreement included a 10.5% increase in wages over five years, a slight increase in employee contributions for health insurance, and changes to the pension plan, including lifting the cap limiting retirement pay, the article noted.
The deal primarily was brokered at the last minute by Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234; SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel; and state Representative and SEPTA Board member Dwight Evans, (D., Philadelphia). To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2eNXfxU.
The new contract will cost SEPTA $146 million more in wages and pension benefits over the next five years, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 11, bit.ly/2eQeCkp.
SEPTA Adds ‘Travel Wallet’ to Key
This week SEPTA plans to launch SEPTA Key’s “travel wallet” function, which replaces tokens with reloadable funds on the new fare cards, and the agency will issue a limited number of new cards, PlanPhilly reported on Friday.
SEPTA also has begun replacing the current photo identification cards that allow senior citizens to ride for free (or just $1) with senior-specific SEPTA Key cards.
Regional Rail and Norristown High Speed Line will begin getting SEPTA Key in 2017, the article noted. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fkaGc3.
Governor Signs Ride-Sharing Bill
Governor Tom Wolf on November 4 announced that he had signed SB 984, which made ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft legal throughout the state, effective immediately. The bill, introduced last year by state Senator Camera Bartolotta (R., Beaver, Greene and Washington Counties), passed in the house on October 25 and was presented to the governor.
To read the governor’s announcement, please go to bit.ly/2fk4NJL. To read SB 984, please go to bit.ly/2ejoO6a.
Mayor Kenney Introduces New Sustainability Plan
Mayor Jim Kenney on November 2 announced a new sustainability plan for Philadelphia that includes goals of ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; water; clean air; and safe, low-carbon transportation. In addition, the City will study ways to protect itself from the effects of climate change.
Three new tools to be offered are Greenworks on the Ground, guides for achieving Greenworks goals; a Greenworks Dashboard to provide up-to-date sustainability data; and the Greenworks Equity Index with data to identify sustainability-deficient communities and help them improve, forthcoming in spring 2017.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2efUWm9. To read Mayor Kenney’s new plan, Greenworks: A Vision for a Sustainable Philadelphia, please go to bit.ly/2fhVsCR [PDF].
Art Commission Rejects Proposal for Signs
The Philadelphia Art Commission voted against a plan for large advertising signs on the Municipal Services Building at 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard and on the One Parkway Building at 1515 Arch Street, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 2.
Interstate Outdoor Advertising LP of Cherry Hill proposed the signs in response to an RFP issued by the City of Philadelphia, pursuant to legislation that was introduced in 2013 by Council President Clarke, subsequently passed and was signed into law by Mayor Nutter as Bill #130109 (bit.ly/2fRZSAI). In 2014, the Nutter Administration issued an RFP that covered multiple buildings and vehicles. Eventually, Interstate Advertising was awarded the contract for the Municipal Services Building and One Parkway Building. That contract is a one-year contract with three one-year renewals and, according to those presenting at the Art Commission, the signs would generate $500,000 in revenue for the City.
The commission invited the company to return with alternative proposals for ads at the two properties. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fvOIVd.
PPA Audit to Focus on School Funds
The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) will undergo a joint audit by the state attorney general and state auditor, focusing on contracts, parking prices and revenue that is legally designated for the Philadelphia School District, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 4.
Last year, the PPA provided $10.2 million to the School District, a decrease from a high of $14 million in 2012, the article noted. The portion of the audit related to the School District will go back to April 1, 2012.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fyEbnf.
PenTrans Will Honor 2016 Transportation Advocate
On Thursday, December 8, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at The HUB, 2001 Market Street (Commerce Square) #210, Edward D’Alba, who recently stepped down as President and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Engineers, will be honored at the PenTrans Holiday Reception and Recognition as the 2016 Multimodal Transportation Advocate.
In addition to his work at Urban Engineers, D’Alba also has worked with political and government leaders and has leadership positions in several business, professional and civic groups, including chairing the board of the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation.
Tickets are $25. To register, please go to conta.cc/2fklR4p.