Office Sector News
East Market Street Office Space Sold
Cohen Equities of New York has acquired 382,800 square feet of office space, floors seven through 13, at 801 Market Street for $30.5 million, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 22. The seller was LNR Partners LLC of Miami Beach. Tenants of the section acquired by Cohen include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The building's lower six floors are separately owned by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.
Cohen Equities was attracted to the property because of developments in the area such as East Market and the redevelopment of The Gallery. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fpoDC2.
Leasing Activity Robust in Third Quarter
Cushman & Wakefield's Marketbeat Office Snapshot 3Q 2016 calculates the CBD occupancy rate as 89.6% in the third quarter, down just slightly from 90.3% in the same quarter of 2015, with average asking rent higher, at $29.79, compared to $27.59 in the same period last year, and up just slightly over the previous quarter of 2016’s $29.56.
Year-to-date overall absorption was positive, with 463,973 sf filled, compared to a loss of 89,461 sf during the same period last year.
The largest lease of the third quarter was Aramark’s 297,800 sf at 2400 Market Street, where the company will relocate from its longtime headquarters at 1101 Market Street in 2018. Five Below also will move its headquarters, having leased 180,000 sf at 701 Market Street, where it will relocate from 1818 Market Street in 2018.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2fNk9WX [PDF].
Comcast Expands Fiber-Optic Lines
Comcast is nearing completion of a $30 million project that is adding 50 miles of fiber-optic transmission lines throughout Center City and University City and will extend the company’s super-fast network to 3,000 businesses and big institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and the Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals complex, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November16. The project is expected to be completed in January.
To read the article from The Philadelphia Inquirer, please go to bit.ly/2eHdsZW. To read the Comcast press release, please go to prn.to/2giAGXw.
Amtrak Issues RFP in 30th Street District Plan
Amtrak has enlisted Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to oversee a request for proposals (RFP) on a 32,000-square-foot site at the corner of 30th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, adjacent to the former Bulletin building, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 16. Amtrak is seeking a long-term ground lease or sale of the development rights, the article noted. The site is zoned CMX-5, which allows for a mix of uses and approximately 900,000 square feet of space.
The RFP represents first steps in implementing the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan, a long-range, joint master planning effort led by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT, and SEPTA. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2gipM3Q.
In related news, PennDOT is collaborating with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to study possible changes to the I-76 on-and-off ramps at 30th Street, bit.ly/2ghnFu3.
To learn more about the 30th Street District Plan, please go to phillydistrict30.com.
‘Topping Off’ Phase 1 of East Market
National Real Estate Development on November 16 celebrated the “topping off” of the 17th floor of the $250 million East Market, Phase 1, The Ludlow, at 12th and Market Streets, CBS Philly reported.
The mixed-use building will have 322 residential units and more than 130,000 square feet of parking and retail space. Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2017.
To read the article, please go to cbsloc.al/2f5EAAg.
Two Developments Receive Year’s Final RACP Grants
The former Family Court building at 34 South 11th Street, which is being converted into offices with ground-floor retail space for MOM's Organic Market and is part of National Real Estate Development’s East Market project, received a $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant in the last round of RACP awards announced on November 23, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Another $3 million grant was awarded for 1300 Fairmount Avenue, just south of the Divine Lorraine apartments, where RAL Companies & Affiliates LLC plan 486 apartment units, a supermarket, and a 6,000-square-foot public plaza.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fGwhIX.
Mixed-Use Towers Proposed at 23rd and Arch Streets
PMC Property Group has proposed two glass-and-metal towers, 28 and 32 stories, at a parking-lot site at 23rd and Arch Streets, where the now-defunct “River Walk” project had been planned, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 14. The approximated $300 million project is proposed to have, if and when it is fully built out, 612 residential units, above-ground parking, and retail space.
The company announced a June 2017 groundbreaking for the northernmost tower, with construction expected to take about a year. That building could have a 60,000-square-foot supermarket on the second floor, with parking on the first and third floors.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2gi6ydN.
Residential Market News
Americans Moving Less
The percentage of Americans moving over a one-year period fell to an all-time low, 11.2%, in 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on November 16.
Among those who moved, 42.2% said they did so for a housing-related reason, 27.4% for family-related, 20.2% for employment-related, and 10.2% for other reason.
Among regions, the South saw the greatest number of people moving out (901,000), and also the largest inflow of people (940,000).
To view the charts that are the basis for the report, please go to bit.ly/2fAkgHN.
PHLCVB Names New Chief Administrative Officer
The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) on November 17 announced that Angela Val will join the organization as Chief Administrative Officer and will manage the internal day-to-day operations of PHLCVB, reporting directly to President & CEO Julie Coker Graham. Val will be responsible for strategic planning, creating an external affairs plan, and developing business guidelines.
She most recently served as Deputy Executive Director for the 2016 Philadelphia Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2gkJzPC [PDF].
Eds and Meds News
Rothman Institute Creates New Spine Center
Rothman Institute, in a partnership with the neurosurgery department at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, has created a multimillion-dollar “spine center of excellence” that occupies an entire floor of Methodist Hospital at Broad and Wolf Streets in South Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 15.
The center’s focus is on minimally invasive, out-patient procedures and it accepts major insurance policies without requiring out-of-network charges.
The new spine center will be marketed regionally, nationally and internationally to employers and patients under a brand name that will be disclosed early next year.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fYRG1l.
$5 Billion Needed to Repair City Schools
It would cost $5 billion to meet the repair needs of schools in the Philadelphia School District, as just one-third of the District’s schools are considered in good condition, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 21.
The average city school is 70 years old, and the District is coping with years of deferred maintenance, the article noted. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2gFLxen.
Arts and Culture News
William Penn Foundation Awards City $100 Million
The William Penn Foundation has awarded the City of Philadelphia up to $100 million to be used for Mayor Jim Kenney’s Rebuild program, which aims to renovate and redevelop the City’s parks, libraries and recreation centers, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 20.
The grant is the largest in the foundation's history and will cover one-fifth of the overall cost of the program. The six-year program has a $500 million price tag: $300 million in bonds, $120 million from foundations and private donors, $32 million in state and federal funds, and $48 million in City capital funds. City officials are expected to seek City Council approval of the first of three $100 million bonds early in 2017.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2eZgmJu.
Parks and Open Space News
Holiday Market Opens at Dilworth Park Wintergarden
The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market on November 19 opened on the south side of Dilworth Park’s Wintergarden, featuring more than 30 local artisans, designers, crafters and confectionaries offering unique selections for gifts and special holiday foods in white, festively lit tents topped with original Herrnhut stars. The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market will remain open every day through Christmas Eve.
America’s Garden Capital Maze, also on the south end, features willow-branch archways, evergreens, trees, perennials, shrubs, topiary sculptures, and winter plantings adorned with twinkling mini-lights. Admission to the Maze is free.
Dilworth Park’s Wintergarden also includes the Rothman Institute Ice Rink on the north side of Dilworth Park, and 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 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.
The Rothman Institute Cabin is the perfect place for winter office parties, for both skater and non-skaters. 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.
Philly PHLASH Resumes Daily Service, Adds Mobile Site
The Philly PHLASH holiday season daily service began on Friday and will continue through Saturday, December 31, providing service to 22 stops located near holiday attractions and shopping districts throughout the downtown.
New this year is the RidePhillyPHLASH.com mobile site that allows you to track PHLASH as it arrives, along with information about nearby attractions.
To read the announcements and view locations of the 22 stops, please go to bit.ly/2f7p6h3.
Infrastructure and the Trump Administration
President-elect Donald Trump's call for a substantial investment in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure has prompted a range of speculation about what the program might be, given the minimal amount of information provided in press releases.
Cozen O’Connor notes that President-elect Trump’s proposed $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure plan would rely on approximately $137 billion of tax credits to leverage approximately $167 billion in private investments in roads, bridges, seaports, and airports. Under his plan, all projects would be required to generate cash flow so that equity investors could recoup their investment, bit.ly/2fxBG5j.
Writing in this week’s New Yorker, James Surowiecki, no fan of Donald Trump, points to a basic distinction and choice that will be faced by a Trump Administration: whether to finance infrastructure spending primarily through traditional Keynesian deficit spending by government or through tax credits, which will depend on projects that can easily generate revenue. It is the difference between easily monetized projects like toll roads and bridges or improvements to schools, repairs to existing non-toll roads and air-traffic control systems, bit.ly/2fEpIpJ.
SugarHouse Sees Substantial Increase in Revenue
Revenue at SugarHouse Casino on the Delaware River in October saw a revenue increase of 10.1%, following a 3.1% rise in September, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
In October, the casino took in $25,584,056, compared to $23,237,511 in September. The Commonwealth’s share of taxes was $6,590,755 compared to $6,174,058 in September. The City of Philadelphia collected $810,207, compared to September’s $754,254.
To see other casino revenues, please go to bit.ly/2bkEjIO.
Manufacturing, Nonmanufacturing Reports
Regional manufacturing showed modest expansion in November, though overall labor market conditions remained weak, with 17.5% of the firms reporting they had more full-time employees, 20.1% fewer, and 61.6% the same amount, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey for November. New orders were stronger, with 36.4% of firms indicating growth, 17.7% decline, and 45.9% reporting no change. Looking ahead six months, 35.9% expected conditions to improve, 6.6% predicted a downturn, and 49.6% foresaw no change. To read the Manufacturing report, please go to bit.ly/2f8SgL1.
The regional service industry continued modest expansion in November and also saw growth in employment, with 27.1% of the firms reporting an increase in the number of full-time employees, only 12.8% a decrease, and 54.0% indicating the number was unchanged, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey for November. New orders were up for 34.4%, down for 21.8% and remained the same for 20.1%. Looking ahead six months, 49.3% of firms expected business conditions to improve, 15.1% foresaw a downturn, and 34.5% predicted no change. To read the Nonmanufacturing report, please go to bit.ly/2gIfM3e.
City Outperforms Metro Area in Small Business Growth
The Greater Philadelphia area lagged behind the metros of Boston, New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in small business growth rates, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census data, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 21.
Between 2010 and 2014, Philadelphia added 412 new small businesses, rising just 0.3% to 141,395, compared to the East Coast leader, Washington, D.C., which had the highest rate increase, 4.0%, and added 5,583 small businesses during the same period. Boston’s rate was 2.8% and Baltimore’s, 1.5%.
According to a CCD analysis of the same data, however, the City of Philadelphia outperformed the metro area in small business creation, with Philadelphia up 462 businesses (1.8%) between 2010 and 2014, while the suburban counties registered a loss of 50 small businesses, bringing the metro area to the net gain of 412 new small businesses, as established by the U.S. Census.
To read the Philadelphia Business Journal article, please go to bit.ly/2fNfS5R.
Governor Awards $300 Million to Port Authority
Governor Tom Wolf on November 22 announced that $300 million would be awarded to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority for improvements at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal and the Tioga Marine Terminal in Port Richmond, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The investment will increase cargo capacity by 86%, “break bulk” cargo such as wood pulp and steel by 21%, and capacity to handle automobiles by 166%.
The investment in existing terminals is in lieu of the proposed development of Southport on 195 acres on the Delaware River.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2f7h6MO.
In related news, a new $385,000 state grant to four area community colleges and Drexel University will help launch a new training program to address a growing need for skilled workers along the Delaware River's ports, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 18, bit.ly/2g4AxTb.
New Senate Leadership in Harrisburg
The Pennsylvania General Assembly on November 16 announced new leadership in the Senate, according to Capitol Recap, a subscription news service in Harrisburg.
Republicans will be led by President Pro Tempore-designee Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson); Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre); and Appropriations Chairman Patrick Browne (R., Lehigh).
The Democrats’ Leader is Jay Costa (D., Allegheny) and Appropriations Chairman is Vincent Hughes (D., Philadelphia).
CCPA’s Lunch with the City Leaders
On Wednesday, December 7, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Estia Restaurant, 1405-07 Locust Street, the Center City Proprietors Association (CCPA) will present the year’s last in the “Lunch with the City Leaders,” series, which will feature Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Center City District. Levy will discuss what’s new for 2017 and include a tax-reform-progress update.
Luncheon includes appetizer, entree, dessert and coffee. Tickets are $60 for non-members; $45 for members. To register, please go to bit.ly/2fls0ul.
CPDC Final Meeting: Save the Date
The Central Philadelphia Development Corporation's Final Membership Meeting of 2016 will be held on Tuesday, December 13, at 8:30 a.m., at The Logan Hotel, One Logan Square. Program details will be announced.
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 Friday, December 9, at email@example.com or 215.440.5533.
Make Real Change Open House
On Thursday, December 15, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the Office of Homeless Services and the Center City District will host an Open House at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Meeting Room 108 A (enter at 12th and Arch Streets, West Entrance).
More than a dozen organizations that provide food, emergency and permanent housing, jobs and social services will be staffing information tables explaining how they could do more to help homeless people if they had more volunteers, resources and money.
Philadelphia faces a significant challenge in our shared public spaces with homelessness and aggressive panhandling. Crafting solutions requires a broad, collaborative response. Please invite your neighbors, business colleagues and members of your civic or business association.
Apply to Join DVRPC Task Force
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) invites you to apply through December 11 to be a member of the DVRPC’s Public Participation Task Force (PPTF). Members learn about the regional planning process, review timely issues, and serve as intermediaries, sharing DVRPC information with other organizations and local communities across the region.
Interested citizens can attend the PPTF meeting on Thursday, December 1, which begins with dinner at 5:30 p.m. To RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, November 30.
To apply, please go to dvrpc.org/GetInvolved/PPTFApplication. For questions, please contact Shoshana Akins at 215.238.2817 or email@example.com.