Office Sector News
Beneficial Bank Moving to Market West
Beneficial Bank will move its headquarters and 300 employees from Penn Mutual Towers at 510-530 Walnut Street to the 42-floor office tower 1818 Market Street.
The building's name will be changed to 1818 Beneficial Bank Place. The move is expected to be completed by mid-February 2014. The bank will occupy four floors of the building and have a bank branch on the ground floor.
In other news about 1818 Market Street, iPipeline, an insurance-software maker based in Exton, has leased a suite on the 33rd floor of the office tower, and will join other tech firms construction-software maker Bentley Systems and cloud-mobile-device manager Fiberlink, which moved into the city in order to attract the young high-tech workers who prefer to live here.
DRWC Chooses Consultant for Waterfront Design
The executive committee of the board of directors of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) has selected Hargreaves Associates to perform preliminary design and engineering plans for redeveloping Penn's Landing, including the creation of a cap over I-95 and Columbus Boulevard in Old City. The committee voted to authorize a contract not to exceed $425,000. Hargreaves was chosen from among 15 internationally recognized design teams.
Hargreaves will study the area between Market and South Streets and Front Street and the Delaware River, and the study will include the development of a six-acre site at Market Street, redevelopment of the four-acre western and southern edges of the Marina Basin, and the extension of the South Street pedestrian bridge to Penn's Landing.
The study is expected to be completed this year. To read the press release, please go to mwne.ws/14S7dWN.
Apartment Development to Be Sold
Philadelphia-based PMC Property Group and its partner, Lubert Adler, developers of 2040 Market, a 13-story building with 282 apartments, has put the property up for sale, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on Friday.
While the apartments are 88% leased, the project won't be completed for several weeks, but the early sale is an indication of a strong multi-family market in Philadelphia, the article noted.
No listing price was attached to the development at the site of the former AAA Mid-Atlantic headquarters, which has 16,000 square feet of leased retail space and 175 underground parking spaces. Jones Lang LaSalle is marketing the property.
Arts and Culture News
'Forgotten Philadelphia' Exhibit
Philadelphia Stories literary magazine and the Philadelphia Center for Architecture will present "Forgotten Philadelphia," an exhibition that runs from April 15 through May 17 at the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street. The Center is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sundays, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.
The exhibit combines art inspired by specific heritage sites with poems and short fiction that speculate on the stories behind these hidden treasures. Through the work of local artists and writers, "Forgotten Philadelphia" explores a variety of locations, from abandoned historic buildings to forgotten parks.
For more information, please go to aiaphiladelphia.org.
Book Festival This Week
The Free Library's Philadelphia Book Festival, a weeklong celebration of literary readings, discussions, and workshops began yesterday and will continue through Saturday, April 20.
This year the festival will include activities at the Free Library of Philadelphia's central location at 1901 Vine Street, but will also offer programs at library branches across the city.
More than 40 authors will participate. For complete information, please go to bit.ly/c4TnSM.
Zoo Exhibit Opens
The Philadelphia Zoo opened its $32 million LEED-certified KidZooU exhibit on Saturday. KidZooU includes the Hamilton Family Children's Zoo and Faris Family Education Center.
KidZooU's focus is domestic rare-breed animals and has a travel and exploration system that allows animals to roam. It's the first zoo in the world where animals can explore other exhibit areas. In addition, there is a 400-foot trail where goats can walk about and an area where children can pet sheep.
Last year 1.2 million people visited the zoo. For more information, please go to philadelphiazoo.org.
Planning for Rail Travel in 2040
The Northeast Corridor Commission and NEC Economic Development Report, published on April 9, lays out goals for preparing for rail-travel needs anticipated for 2040 in the Northeast Corridor (Washington, D.C., to Boston, 457 miles), home to 2% of the nation's land area, 17% of the U.S. population, 20% of U.S. GDP, and 37% of Fortune 100 companies.
The report is part of NEC Future, a comprehensive planning effort launched by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in February 2012. Among the goals for 2013 are: creating prototypical rail-service plans; identifying operating impacts and capacity requirements; and defining infrastructure improvements and estimated capital costs.
The NEC Commission is also studying alternatives such as adding additional short spurs connecting to the main line to ease congestion along the Northeast Corridor.
Key to planning for 2040 is investment in infrastructure. Some of the major expenditures would include replacing the Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel at a cost of $1.5 billion; replacing at a cost of $720 million the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey; and replacing the Susquehanna Bridge in Cecil County, Maryland, at a cost of $850 million, the report noted. All three structures are more than 100 years old.
To read the report Critical Infrastructure Needs on the NEC, please go to bit.ly/UzXAst [PDF].
To read the Preliminary Alternatives Report, please go to bit.ly/YqhCGO [PDF].
NYC Tests High-Tech Touchscreens in Subway
New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority and Control Group, a technology and design consultancy, have teamed up for a 30-month pilot program using high-tech kiosks with 47-inch touchscreens in selected subway stations, according to an article in Gizmodo, an online tech magazine. The kiosk allows the user to tap a destination and the screen displays the fastest route and estimated travel time. The kiosks also allow travelers to access neighborhood maps.
While there are phone apps that provide similar information, the kiosks don't need an Internet connection and their use is free. Control Group covered the costs of the project in order to maintain creative control.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/YQUTSO.
Parks and Open Space News
Flea Market in Sister Cities Park
The Center City District (CCD) is sponsoring the Sister Cities Park Flea Market at the park at 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, on Saturday, April 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thirty vendors will participate offering antique and vintage merchandise. Milk & Honey Café will be open for coffee, lunch or snacks. Sister Cities Park is part of the Fairmount Park system and is managed and maintained by the CCD. Please visit SisterCitiesPark.org.
Noontime Concerts in Collins Park
Beginning Tuesday, May 6, John F. Collins Park, which is owned and maintained by the CCD, will host twice-weekly free acoustic concerts from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through September 26. Bring your lunch and enjoy this peaceful pocket park and some great music!
Sister Cities Park International Festival
A new Sister Cities Park International Festival celebrating Philadelphia's 10 Sister Cities that stretch the globe from Europe and the Middle East to Asia, will enliven the park at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, May 11, from noon to 5:00 p.m.
The afternoon festivities will include dance, music, cooking demos, foreign language lessons and hands-on fun for adults and kids alike. And you can stop by the Milk & Honey Café for lunch, coffee, cold drinks, or a snack.
For complete details, please go to centercityphila.org/life/sister_citiesintlfest.php.
City Has First Revenue Collections Officer
Mayor Nutter on April 3 named Thomas Knudsen as the City's first Chief Revenue Collections Officer, with responsibility for increasing the collection of all forms of revenue owed to the City. Knudsen will share best practices among City departments and develop new methods to encourage departments to increase collections.
The creation of a Chief Revenue Collections Officer position is the latest development in a multi-year effort by the Nutter Administration to increase tax and other revenue collections. The position of Chief Revenue Collections Officer was a key recommendation in a detailed study of City revenue collections processes and overhead costs by FTI Consulting, a global consulting firm, on behalf of the City.
Streets Department Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson will become Revenue Commissioner.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/10MmrZ7.
Bill Would Eliminate Homestead Exemption
Among the bills being looked at by City Council concerning Mayor Nutter's Actual Value Initiative (AVI) is Bill #130081, introduced February 7, by Councilman Bill Green. Currently in the Committee on Finance, the bill would eliminate the homestead exemption, thus lowering the tax rate for everyone. Mayor Nutter has proposed a $15,000 homestead exemption and a tax rate of 1.3204%.
To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/12SV6c9.
Mayor Vetoes Sick Leave Bill
Mayor Nutter on April 3 vetoed Bill #130004, known as the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" legislation. Introduced on January 24 by Councilman William K. Greenlee, the bill would have required employees in all types of firms to be given paid sick leave. City Council passed the bill on March 14 by a vote of 11-6, but 12 votes are needed to override a veto. Mayor Nutter vetoed a similar bill in 2011.
To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/UHekfb.
Bill Would Extend Intern Credit
Bill #130273, introduced on April 11 by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., would extend the Philadelphia Internship Tax Credit through 2014. The credit allows a business to claim a credit against business income and receipts tax liability in an amount equal to the lesser of $600 or 40% of the compensation paid to an intern employed by the business. The credit would have expired in 2013.
To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/10ZOBO6.
Adapting Aging Rail Lines into Parks
On Monday, April 29, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Next City and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will present "From Tracks to Parks: The Next Generation of Urban Green," at the Academy, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
A discussion on how to adapt former rail corridors to create distinctly local parks that serve the needs of their neighborhoods and cities will be moderated by Beth White, Chicago Region Director of The Trust for Public Land. The panel includes:
Todd Antoine, Deputy Director for Planning, Great Rivers Greenway District; Ben Helphand, Co-Founder and Board President, Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail; Paul R. Levy, President and CEO, Center City District; Leah Murphy, Senior Associate Urban Designer and Planner, Interface Studio LLC; Danya Sherman, Director of Public Programs, Education & Community Engagement, Friends of the High Line; and Jamie Simone, Program Director for the Urban Parks Program, Chicago office of the Trust for Public Land.
The event is free, but registration is requested at trackparks-eorg.eventbrite.com.
Forum on Bike Sharing
On Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m., at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Mayor Nutter and the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) will present a forum on the City of Philadelphia's plans to launch a bike-sharing system by the end of 2014.
On the program are representatives from cities that currently have bike-sharing systems. The evening will conclude with a brief presentation by the City on plans that will enable Philadelphians, commuters and visitors to check out iconic, sturdy bikes from self-service docking stations and drop them off at other stations.
Guest speakers will be: Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, City of Philadelphia; Nicole Freedman, Executive Director of Boston Bikes; Parry Burnap, Executive Director of Denver Bike Sharing; Chris Holben, Bike Sharing Project Manager, District of Columbia Department of Transportation; Andrew Stober, MOTU, City of Philadelphia.
Tickets are limited. To register, please go to phillybikeshareforum.eventbrite.com.
LOVE Your Park Week
The second-annual LOVE Your Park Week will be May 11 to 18 and will begin with a system-wide volunteer park cleanup on Saturday, May 11. The week will continue with various events throughout the week hosted in parks across the city. For complete information about LOVE Your Park Week, please visit loveyourpark.org.
Public Hearing on Charities and Tax-Exempt Properties
The City Council's Rules Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday, June 18, at 10:00 a.m. on Resolution #130029, which charges the committee with examining the issue of charitable organizations and the exemptions from property taxes they are accorded, even if they use the property for commercial use.
The resolution quotes a joint study by The Philadelphia Inquirer and PlanPhilly that documents 41,074 parcels fully or partially exempt from property taxes at a cost of $528 million to the City.
To read the resolution, please go to bit.ly/14VcRaH.
Deadline Approaching for Energy Benchmarking Report
The deadline for complying with the new energy benchmarking requirement for commercial properties is June 30.
Any commercial building with indoor floor space of 50,000 square feet or more and all commercial portions of any mixed-use building where a total of at least 50,000 square feet of indoor floor space is devoted to any commercial use is required to file a report using a benchmarking application to report the previous year's electricity, natural gas, steam, heating oil, and water usage.
The energy benchmarking reporting requirement is the result of Bill #120428, passed unanimously by City Council in June 2012, and signed into law by Mayor Nutter on August 27, 2012.
To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/10PSSVR.
Correction for Developments of April 1
Regarding the item titled "PCPC Approves Development Plan for Whole Foods," developer Neal Rodin called to say he is not partnering with Toll Brothers, Inc., as has been reported in the press. Rodin is building about 300 new apartments in a new development with a large Whole Foods on the ground floor and underground parking at 22d Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.