2400 Market Street Sold
The Marketplace Design Center, 2400 Market Street, has been sold to a partnership consisting of PMC Property Group and Lubert-Adler for $42 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
Preliminary plans call for a $100 million makeover that would keep the lower floors as the Marketplace Design Center, with upgrades to the first floor and new retail space to accommodate a grocery store, restaurant and coffee shop, the article noted. Office space would be outfitted to appeal to start-ups and tech firms.
The property consists of two buildings — 2400 Market Street, approximately 370,000 square feet, and 12 South 23rd Street, which is about 120,000 square feet. The building has the potential to strengthen connections between Center City and University City.
Loeb Partners was the seller of the building and Jones Lang LaSalle arranged the sale.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1hmBS4q.
Chestnut Street Mixed-Use Project Underway
Aquinas Realty Partners on April 9 officially broke ground for AQ Rittenhouse, a new 12-story apartment building at 2021 Chestnut Street, the former site of the YWCA, according to Multi-Housing News. The new building will include 110 units with ground-floor restaurant and retail. The adjacent school, Freire Charter High School, will occupy a lower level of the building.
Apartments will be a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units with a 24-7 doorman and an interesting mix of common area amenities: a central courtyard and second-floor garden; a sky terrace offering a hot tub, grills, and fire pits; a fitness center, dog wash room, and a bike storage and repair shop. The project is expected to be completed by late fall.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/ORkER9.
Office Sector News
New Comcast Tower Passes Design Review
The Civic Design Review Committee on April 9 approved plans for the proposed Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, PlanPhilly reported. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1gjSNUt.
Chestnut Street Property Sold
Investor Michael Plante of Denver has purchased the two-building complex that includes 2301 Chestnut Street and 2300 Ionic Street, for $23 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on April 3. The properties total 141,763 square feet and take up an entire block.
Both buildings were constructed in 1925 but were renovated in the early 1980s. The design firm KlingStubbins occupies the entire complex as its headquarters and has almost nine years remaining on its lease, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1shmXNi.
Eds and Meds News
Jefferson to Unite Hospital with University
Thomas Jefferson University, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and its 800 employed physicians will be united under unified leadership, Jefferson President and CEO Stephen K. Klasko announced on April 10, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The new plan will create a university and research infrastructure focused on emerging health professions, a coordination of inpatient and outpatient facilities and Jefferson physician practices, and a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation that will act as an incubator for start-up ideas and companies.
Jefferson will partner with American Well, a Boston company that develops mobile and web technology, to expand access to medical services via mobile phones, computers, and televisions.
Jefferson will be looking to create “breakout” courses and schools in areas such as the business of health, population health analytics and decision support, and health-care entrepreneurism.
In addition, Jefferson will select areas for specialties, such as cancer research, molecular genomics and personalized medicine, neurosurgery, and orthopedics.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1i9FqHe.
NY Times Article Heralds Drexel’s Ambitious Plans
Drexel University’s vision for developing a 12-acre site at the eastern edge of its campus and also building over a 75-acre rail yard was the subject of an article in the New York Times on April 8. The plans for a 6.4 million-square-foot hub of sleek new buildings for technology incubators, academic offices and retail space will be vetted with a two-year feasibility study of the rail yard idea.
Philadelphia is experiencing an influx of technology-related jobs at large employers like Comcast and Independence Blue Cross, as well as the arrival of venture-capital firms that can provide financing for smaller businesses and start-ups, the article reported.
To read the article, “Drexel Works to Build Up Philadelphia,” please go to nyti.ms/1ndbGcX.
Chestnut Retail Building Sold
Midwood Management of New York has bought 1725 Chestnut Street for $2.2 million, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on April 10.
Laurence Steinberg of CBRE | Fameco represented the seller. Plans for the building have not been announced.
The 1700 block of Chestnut Street will soon be home to American Eagle Outfitters, Nordstrom Rack, and Forever 21, with Uniqlo coming to the 1600 block.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1exbMXD.
Arts and Culture News
Philadelphia Aiming at World Heritage Designation
The Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) and Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s administration are working together on an effort to have Philadelphia designated as a World Heritage City, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on April 3.
Denis Ricard, secretary general of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, toured the city for two days in late March, and visited Independence Hall (currently a World Heritage site), the Constitution Center, the Barnes Foundation, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Navy Yard, the article noted.
Philadelphia is being considered because of its role as the birthplace of modern democracy, its religious tolerance, and its historic leadership in medicine and education.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1qGzkii.
DeShields to Lead Multicultural Congress
The Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, on March 24 announced that Gregory DeShields would be the organization’s new Executive Director, effective April 14.
DeShields most recently served as the Managing Director of Business Development for Temple University Fox School of Business & School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. He has been a member of the MAC Board of Directors for more than 10 years and serves on the board of the Center City District.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/1g412nF.
Spring Guide to Philadelphia Available
The new spring edition of the Philadelphia Official Visitors Guide has been released by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau in three formats – print, online, or via a free app for iPads or iPhones. Copies, which provide a full listing of events in the city, are also available at Independence Visitor Centers, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Amtrak's 30th Street Station, PHL International Airport, and local attractions.
To view the guide, please go to bit.ly/1hA7qz2.
New SEPTA Budget Includes Funding for Stations at City Hall
SEPTA’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Capital Budget, released earlier this month, totals $571.8 million and the 12-year Capital Program totals $6.8 billion, compared to FY 2014’s Capital Budget, which totaled $308 million, and the 12-year Capital Program, which totaled $3.7 billion. The dramatic increase is attributable to the passage of Act 89 of 2013.
Included in the capital plan is $146.47 million for renovation of the City Hall and 15th Street Stations at Dilworth Plaza. The design is scheduled for 2014-2017. Construction on the 15th Street Station is set for 2015-2018, and for City Hall, 2018-2020 (Please see Page 42 of the budget proposal linked below).
The new proposed budget is being referred to as a “Catching Up” capital program and includes improvements to infrastructure, replacement of rail vehicles, expanding capacity to address ridership growth, and improving accessibility. In addition, this budget continues to fund the New Payment Technology project, expansion of the Authority’s fleet of hybrid buses, installation of federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) signal technology, vehicle overhauls, capital leases, and debt service.
Approaching the end of the 12-year capital program, SEPTA will review the feasibility of restoring trolley service to Route 23, which runs from South Philadelphia through Center City, to Chestnut Hill, and Route 56, with $319 million budgeted toward that goal.
To review the budget, please go to bit.ly/1epgvjS [PDF].
Note: A public hearing on the Proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Capital Budget is scheduled for April 28 at the SEPTA Board Room, Mezzanine Level, 1234 Market Street. Sessions are at 11:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Northeast Corridor’s Economic Impact
As mandated by Congress, the Northeast Corridor Commission has issued a report on the important role that Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor rail service plays in supporting economic activity and opportunities between Boston and Washington, D.C. The report, The Northeast Corridor and the American Economy, released this month, documents the importance of the rail line to large and small firms that use the NEC to access talented workers and capital, to transport goods from major manufacturers in the Midwest to East Coast ports, and use the NEC to access global markets via east coast ports, and to the workers who hold the 7 million jobs within five miles of an NEC rail station.
The annual economic output of the region served by the NEC is $3 trillion, and workforce contributes $50 billion annually to the American economy.
An unexpected loss of the NEC, even for a single day, would cost up to $100 million per day as a result of higher congestion on roadways and lost productivity, the report noted.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1htJeUM [PDF].
Parks and Open Space News
City and State Budget Funds for Reading Viaduct
The City of Philadelphia has allocated $1.8 million over two years (2015 and 2016) in its capital budget, while the Commonwealth has included $3.5 million in its Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for Phase 1 of the Reading Viaduct project, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on April 6.
Phase 1, which is being overseen by the CCD, will transform a 1/4-mile portion of the viaduct, known as the SEPTA Spur, into a public green space. The park, which begins at Noble Street and veers toward 11th Street, will have landscaping, stairs to street level, and benches, and will serve as an amenity for the burgeoning Callowhill neighborhood.
Expected to cost $8.6 million and designed by Studio| Bryan Hanes and Urban Engineers, the new park will have entrances on North Broad Street at Noble Street, at 13th and Noble, and on Callowhill between 11th and 12th Streets. Construction documents are complete and construction could begin this year.
To read the Inquirer article and to see a rendering, please go to bit.ly/1ikLc4Y. For more information on the project, please visit centercityphila.org/about/viaduct.php.
Residential Market News
$150 Million to Renovate Two Apartment Complexes
Aimco, the Denver real estate company that owns the Sterling apartments at 1815 John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Park Towne Place at 2200 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will invest more than $150 million to upgrade the two complexes, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on April 4.
The renovation at Park Towne Place will include an upgrade to the swimming pool, the addition of a restaurant, and the three-acre park that fronts the complex will be reactivated.
The work is currently underway.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/PHwRZw.
Building Permits Surge in 2013
In 2013, developers received building permits for 2,815 units of new residential housing, the most approved in a decade, and worth an estimated $465 million, according to Philadelphia: The State of the City, A 2014 Update, released by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative on April 5.
A CCD/CPDC report, Housing Resurgence, published in March, found that in 2013 more than 1,700 units of multifamily housing were completed between Girard Avenue and Tasker Street, the largest number of multifamily units completed in the downtown since the CCD began tracking construction activity in 1998. In addition, construction underway suggests that as many as 2,600 new units will be delivered to the market in 2014 and 2015, including 1,700 additional apartments, 560 units of single-family housing, and 340 new condominium units.
To read the Pew report, please go to bit.ly/1hxC6kx [PDF].
To read Center City Reports: Housing Resurgence, please go to centercityphila.org/docs/CCR14_housing.pdf [PDF].
City Tax Collections Dip in February, Increase in March
City of Philadelphia General Fund tax collections totaled $440.6 million in February, according to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), a 2.5%, or $11.3 million, decline from February 2013. However, collections through the first eight months of fiscal year 2014 (FY14) increased by 1.4%, or $21.9 million, compared to FY13.
Wage and earnings tax collections totaled $127.3 million in February, an increase of $8.3 million (7.0%) over February 2013.
Real estate transfer tax collections were $9.8 million in February, an increase of $1.0 million (10.9%) compared to February 2013.
The growth in the first eight months of FY14 represents increases in wage, earnings and net profits ($26.4 million), business income and receipts ($10.1 million), real estate transfer ($7.9 million), and sales taxes ($6.1 million), the report noted.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1jc4DjC [PDF].
In March, City General Fund tax collections totaled $313.6 million, an increase of $43.6 million (16.2%) over March 2013, according to PICA. Collections through the first three quarters of Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) totaled $1,941.9 million, an increase of $65.5 million, or 3.5%, over the same period in FY13.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1oUGcx3 [PDF].
Mayor Sends PGW Legislation to Council
Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s administration sent legislation to City Council on April 10 to approve the $1.9 billion sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works to UIL Holdings, a New Haven-based utility company, for $1.86 billion; however, no Council member introduced the legislation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The deal must be approved by Council and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. City Council has hired Concentric Energy Advisors of Marlborough, Massachusetts, at a cost of $425,000, to review the plan.
Mayor Nutter wants to sell the utility and use the proceeds to pay down the city's pension obligation.
To read the Inquirer article, please go to bit.ly/1lQICrV.
April CPDC Meeting: 'State of Center City'
The Central Philadelphia Development Corporation's (CPDC) first Membership Meeting of 2014 will take place Tuesday, April 22, in the Grant Room at the Union League of Philadelphia, 140 South Broad Street. Registration and breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m., with the program beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Please join us for the release of the CCD/CPDC's 2014 State of Center City report and an accompanying panel discussion on the future of the downtown economy. Panelists will be Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, City of Philadelphia; James L. Paterno, Founder at Stockton Real Estate Advisors, LLC; Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D, MBA, President and CEO of the University City Science Center; and Christophe Terlizzi, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, CRE Finance at First Niagara.
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 no later than April 15, to Carol Raffa, email@example.com or 215.440.5500.
How Rail Can Benefit Cities
The Rail Users’ Network and SEPTA Citizen Advisory Committee will hold a daylong forum, “Passenger Rail and Rail Transit Improve the Economic Vitality of Cities,” at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 190 North Independence Mall West, Eighth Floor, on Friday, May 2, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The forum will focus on how transit-oriented development improves the local economy; planning for better rail transit in the Philadelphia area; and improving transit/regional rail connections with Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor and beyond.
The keynote speaker will be Dena Belzer, CEO of Strategic Economics, Berkeley, California. Belzer will speak about transit-oriented development's ability to alleviate a wide range of urban and metropolitan problems, from traffic congestion and air pollution to sprawl, long commutes, and shortages of affordable housing.
Featured speakers will include Byron Comati, Director of Strategic Planning and Analysis, SEPTA; and Drew Galloway, Chief of Northeast Corridor Planning, Amtrak.
There also will be four different panel discussions.
For the entire agenda, please go to bit.ly/1g1sMpj.
Cost is $65 if registering before April 15, $75 after that date; fee includes continental breakfast and lunch.
To register, please go to railusers.net.
Millennials and Cars
Pennsylvanians for Transportation Solutions (PenTrans) will present a panel discussion, “Millennials Sans Cars - Are They Making History?” on Monday, May 19, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street.
Recent headlines point to a drop in cars on the road – especially among Millennials. Nationally and in the Philadelphia region, young professionals in their early thirties or new to the job market are less eager to own or drive cars and more inclined to choose transit, walking and biking. The change extends to teenagers as well. Is this a trend or a blip?
PenTrans brings you a panel of presenters - including Millennials themselves - to illuminate the facts and to highlight the key questions about future transportation policy.
Tickets cost $20 for students, $50 for PenTrans members, and $65 for nonmembers. To register, please go to conta.cc/1kvDv37.
Temple Leading Consortium on Education Funding
Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics (CORP), Penn State’s College of Education, the University of Pittsburgh’s Center on Metropolitan Studies, and others, have formed a consortium to study and explore a review of options for improving public school finance in Pennsylvania.
The university consortium plans to hold the first of three symposiums on public school finance at the Marriott Hotel in Conshohocken on Friday, May 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
For more information on the consortium, please go to bit.ly/1gjVk19.