Office Sector News
CBD Absorbing New Demand
While Center City has long been a place where office demand is driven by existing firm expansion or movement between buildings, a recent JLL Chart of the Week for June 8 notes that of the 1.1 million square feet of recent leasing activity within Philadelphia’s central business district (CBD), 25% is net new demand, generated by tenants moving into the city from outside the market and suburban companies relocating or opening satellite offices downtown.
Leasing activity generated by existing tenants expanding their footprint includes Comcast Corporation, Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Bentley Systems and Ragus.
Limited availability of quality blocks of space, along with this new demand, will allow landlords to continue to drive pricing, the report noted.
To view the chart, please go to bit.ly/1MtPzuX.
Liberty Property Trusts Buys Lot at 19th and Arch Streets
Liberty Property Trust has acquired a 10,720-square-foot surface parking lot at 1931-1937 Arch Street for $2.45 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on June 2. The parking lot is the latest in a series of parcels purchased in the vicinity and speculation suggests that a third Comcast tower is being planned, the article noted.
Other properties purchased by Liberty include 120-22 North 19th Street, 102-18 North 19th Street; 100 North 19th Street; and 1919-23 Arch Street.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1AJll6y.
Divine Lorraine Project to Begin in July
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority on June 10 approved a $2.5 million loan as well as a $1 million grant from the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, which completes the financing needed to begin redevelopment of the Divine Lorraine Hotel, with work to begin in July, PlanPhilly reported. The project also was recently awarded a $3.5 million state grant and has a $30 million investment from New Jersey real estate lender Billy Procida.
Developer Eric Blumenfeld plans 109 apartments and retail spaces on the first two floors.
In addition, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission on June 9 approved a plan from New York-based RAL Companies to build nearly 500 apartments and an 80,000-square-foot supermarket on the vacant lot behind the Divine Lorraine, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1IvSaUv.
Apartment Tower Wins Historical Commission Approval
The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted on Friday to approve Parkway Corporation’s proposed 32-story apartment tower at 709 Chestnut Street, present site of a surface parking lot, PlanPhilly reported.
The project is designed by HLW International and is being developed by Parkway Corporation in partnership with Roseland. Plans call for 304 apartments and an automated parking garage for 125 cars.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1GCROOq.
Science Center to Expand
Wexford Science and Technology is planning a $1 billion expansion of the University City Science Center that will increase the campus’ office and lab space from 2.5 million square feet to 4 million square feet, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on June 11.
The first phase will begin this fall at 3675 Market Street, where an office tower designed by ZGF Architects will be built on the site of an existing building to be demolished.
Later this year, construction is expected to begin on a low-rise tower with 300 residential units. Five more high-rises are planned and will be used for labs, offices and housing.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1L5kSPw.
PCPC Stalls Bill That Would Allow Higher Density
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) on June 9 voted not to recommend Bill #140519, introduced by Councilman Mark Squilla, that would allow more residential and commercial density in the downtown, with residential heights raised from 38 feet to 55 feet and limits on the number of units removed and minimum size reduced to 360 square feet, PlanPhilly reported.
City Council’s Rules Committee on June 1 approved the bill.
After the PCPC vote, Councilman Squilla indicated he would not call for a vote on the bill this spring, the article noted.
To read Bill #140519, please go to bit.ly/1cvJG3Y.
To read the PlanPhilly article, please go to bit.ly/1f55lC7.
Philadelphia Metro Area Ranked 48th of 70 for Job Growth
Job creation in the U.S. has the strongest momentum in tech-oriented metropolises and Sun Belt cities where the cost of living is lower, with the San Francisco metro area ranked first for job growth, according to Joel Kotkin and Roger Hobbs, who published their findings in New Geography. Philadelphia ranked 48th of 70 large cities, improving from 51st last year.
East Coast cities in general are falling behind, with the New York City metro area moving from 7th place last year to 17th in the new rankings.
The writers, who tend to have a sunbelt and suburban bias, identify “opportunity cities” as those with lower house prices and strong job growth, including Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Ii4szz.
Eds and Meds News
CCP Produced Record Number of Graduates
Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) produced 1,993 graduates in the 2013-14 academic year, the highest number since its founding 50 years ago, according to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
While the total enrollment of 34,337 during 2013-14 made CCP the largest community college in the state, only 17.5% of degree-seeking students graduate within six years, compared to the national average of 26.5%, the report noted.
The school’s accreditation is under review and possibly in jeopardy; the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is expected to deliver a decision this summer. The college has a mixed record on workforce development and training for local workers and employers.
To read the report, Assessing Community College of Philadelphia, please go to bit.ly/1G0kYn1 [PDF].
Group Forming to Promote Creative Economy
The Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Select Greater Philadelphia, are joining together to form the Creative Economy Coalition, which will identify companies in the creative industry and provide them with support and resources to nurture their growth, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on June 12.
Expected to launch this summer, the Coalition plans to collect data, plan events, and establish a Patent Pro Bono program that will match inventors, small nonprofits, startups and early-stage businesses with patent attorneys.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1QtqIhh.
Aramark Named Official Retailer for Papal Visit
Aramark has been named the official retail provider of event merchandise for the World Meeting of Families from September 22 through September 25, followed by Pope Francis’s expected visit to Philadelphia on September 26 and 27, Philly.com reported on June 1. An estimated 2 million people are expected to visit the city.
Aramark will sell a range of branded merchandise from commemorative pins that cost $5 to $500 sterling silver crosses, branded T-shirts, a commemorative plush doll of the pope, and rosaries.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1dJjm84.
Hearing on SugarHouse License Renewal
On Thursday, July 9, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 115A of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold a public hearing on the renewal of the license for HSP Gaming, LP, operator of the SugarHouse Casino on the Delaware waterfront. The deadline for registration to speak at the hearing is noon on Tuesday, July 7. Written comments can be mailed, with a postmark no later than Tuesday, July 7, to:
PA Gaming Control Board
P.O. Box 69060
Harrisburg, PA 17106
Attention: Board Clerk
Comments also can be faxed before the deadline to 717.265.7416 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete information and to sign up to present oral or written comments, please go to bit.ly/1MtqRvd.
Arts and Culture News
Phillies Mural to Be Dedicated
The eight-story Phillies Mural, which highlights the team’s history and two World Series victories, will be officially unveiled and dedicated at 24th and Walnut Streets at a public ceremony on August 1 at 11:30 a.m., the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on June 11.
The project is a partnership between the Phillies and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, with artist David McShane creating the images on the 3,750-square-foot mural.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1dz7vsE.
Philadelphia Fillmore to Open in October
Musical duo Hall & Oates will open the new Philadelphia Fillmore, when the entertainment venue makes its debut on Thursday, October 1, Philly.com reported. Philadelphia Fillmore is the refurbished former Ajax Metal Factory on Richmond Street at Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. For tickets and to see other announced performers, please go to thefillmorephilly.com.
To read the Philly.com article, please go to bit.ly/1QmhQVn.
Under 30 Summit Will Return This Fall
Forbes’s second-annual Under 30 Summit, expected to bring 2,000 young entrepreneurs and leaders to Philadelphia, will take place October 4 to 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and other venues, Forbes magazine reported on June 2. The Summit will kick off with an Under 30 Music Festival and also feature the Under 30 Food Festival, the article noted.
Speakers currently booked include Mike Tyson, You Tube makeup star and entrepreneur Michelle Phan, Barbara Bush of Global Health Corps, Datto founder Austin McChord and Dannijo founder Danielle Snyder. More speakers are to be announced.
The final day of the Summit will be Service Day, when 130 of the Under 30 members will visit city schools.
To read the article, please go to onforb.es/1GiSKHq.
For more details on the Under 30 Summit, please visit forbesunder30.com.
Senior Management Named for 2016 DNC
The Democratic National Committee has chosen the senior management team that will serve under the Reverend Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on June 8.
The team is Matthew Butler, a political consultant, chief of staff; Zoe Garmendia, who served as site selection director, deputy CEO for logistics; Travis Dredd, chief of staff for the Charlotte 2012 Democratic Convention, deputy CEO for convention-complex management; April Mellody, deputy chief of staff for Pennsylvania’s Senator Bob Casey, deputy CEO for communications; Brian Bond, former executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, deputy CEO for public engagement; and Andrew Binns, technology expert for Super Bowl halftime shows, deputy CEO for Innovation.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1FM8lca.
Four Seasons Hotel to Become The Logan
The Logan Square Four Seasons hotel has closed and will be renovated before reopening on November 1 as part of the high-end Curio collection by Hilton, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported June 9. The hotel’s new name will be The Logan.
Guest rooms, meeting and banquet spaces, and a ballroom will have fresh designs, and the hotel will include a steakhouse and rooftop lounge.
The Four Seasons will move to the in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center at 18th and Arch Streets when it is completed in late 2017 or early 2018.
To read the article and view the renderings, please go to bit.ly/1IG7GQt.
Night Closures of I-676
I-676 between the I-76 and Broad Street interchanges will be closed with detours today through Thursday from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., 6abc reported. Overnight closures are expected to continue through the end of June.
The closures are due to the $64.8 million project to replace seven structurally deficient bridges between 22nd and 18th Streets. Landscaping and streetscape improvements above the expressway also are being made.
To read the article, which explains the detours, please go to 6abc.cm/1f7iZ7K.
PATCO’s Plans for Pope’s Visit
PATCO will offer special $5 one-day and $10 two-day passes with unlimited rides for the weekend of Pope Francis’ visit: Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, PlanPhilly reported.
PATCO will not sell paper or magnetic-strip tickets – and existing Freedom Card holders will be able to use their cards and will pay a $2.50 flat fee, instead of zoned prices, the article noted. PATCO has ordered 75,000 extra cards for the World Meeting of Families.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1HL2iFU.
GoPhillyGo.com Coming This Summer
The Clean Air Council with the cooperation of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers (DVARP) this summer is expecting to activate its new online tool that allows users to map a trip in the Philadelphia region and combine a variety of travel modes, including biking, walking and public transit, DVARP announced in its recent newsletter.
The technology also will allow the user to customize the trip based on preferences for amount of leisure and exercise desired.
To visit the website, please go to gophillygo.org.
Apple Launches Philadelphia Transportation App
Philadelphia is one of six cities to be mapped in a new Apple app that will provide real-time public transit information in the city, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on June 10.
Full information for buses, subway and train lines will be displayed along with arrival and departure times, a rundown already offered by an app launched by SEPTA, but will have the additional convenience of showing step-by-step directions to the closest stop or station, depending on your current location.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1S4XVwV.
Parks and Open Space News
Final Approval for Rail Park
The Philadelphia Art Commission on June 3 gave final approval for design plans created by Studio| Bryan Hanes and Urban Engineers for the $9.6 million Reading Viaduct Rail Park.
Phase 1 will be a 0.80-acre curving park that will start at 13th and Noble Streets and stretch southeast to the south side of Callowhill Street. The land is owned by SEPTA, will be leased to the Center City District (CCD) for renovation purposes, and upon completion, will be turned over to the City of Philadelphia. The 1300 block of Noble Street also will be enhanced, extending the park to Broad Street.
On June 9, Councilman Mark Squilla announced at the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation’s Membership Meeting that the City of Philadelphia would contribute an additional $1 million to the project, bringing their contribution to $2.8 million. The project is just awaiting a decision on a $3.5 million Commonwealth Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to go out to bid. To make your own contribution to support construction, please go to donatenow.networkforgood.org/ccd.
To read an article in PlanPhilly about the announcement, please go to bit.ly/1QT2Y0K.
To view plans for the Reading Viaduct project, please go to centercityphila.org/about/viaduct.php. To view a complete set of renderings, please go to studiobryanhanes.com/work#/viaduct/.
New Capogiro Cart and Farmers’ Market at Dilworth Park
Capogiro Gelato Artisans, a family-owned gelateria using locally- sourced ingredients and handpicked produce, on June 4 debuted its custom-made cart that is open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the north side of Dilworth Park.
Capogiro offers sorbetto and gelato in a variety of flavors derived from local seasonal fruits, plus Italian classics such as nocciola and Sicilian pistachio, and many more! The cart will relocate to the southern end of the park next to the Albert M. Greenfield Lawn each Tuesday night for Pictures in the Park, which continues through July 7.
Also, every Wednesday throughout the summer and fall, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Center City District, in collaboration with Farm to City, is offering convenient shopping at the Farmers’ Market at Dilworth Park.
McCann’s Farm of Elk Township, New Jersey, has an array of fresh vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini.
PetAl Plants & Flowers of New Jersey stocks a wide variety of houseplants, flowers and vegetable starters, and Philly Muffin offers freshly baked breads.
For complete information about all the amenities and activities at Dilworth Park, please go to dilworthpark.org.
The Oval to Open in Mid-July
On Wednesday, July 15, at noon, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation will cut the ribbon on The Oval pop-up park, which will have a beer garden, food trucks, games, and free special events that rotate on a daily basis. The Oval at 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Eakins Oval across from Sister Cities Park) will remain open through August 23 and will feature the installation “Summer Kaleidoscope” created by artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
The Oval will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, but the beer garden will be closed on Sundays.
For hours and a list of free activities, please go to theovalphl.org/about/.
Residential Market News
Two Apartment Buildings Sold
MRP Residential has bought 400 Walnut Street, which has 67 units and 5,000 square feet (SF) of retail and 1930 Chestnut Street with 5,000 SF of retail and 144 units for just over $60 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on June 4. The seller was Turchi Properties.
MRP Residential plans to spend $60,000 per unit renovating both properties, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Iq5Enj.
Council Approves CCD Board Members
City Council on June 11 adopted Resolutions #150310 through #150315, which will reappoint Chris Terlizzi, Ernest Jones, Harold Epps, and Larry Howard to the board of the Center City District, and also appoint new members Peter Soens and Julie Coker.
The CCD greatly appreciates the service of all its board members and welcomes new members Peter Soens and Julie Coker.
Council Passes Resolution Urging Change in Uniformity Clause
City Council on June 11 adopted Resolution #150552, which urges the Pennsylvania General Assembly to modify the uniformity clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution so that commercial and residential properties can be taxed at different rates with the increment dedicated by law to wage and business tax reduction. The change in the Constitution is a key tenet in the Philadelphia Growth Coalition’s strategy for growing 50,000 to 100,000 jobs in Philadelphia over the next 10 years.
The Coalition is advocating that the City of Philadelphia tax commercial real estate at a rate 15% higher than residential homeowners (1.54% compared to current rate of 1.34%) and use those revenues to lower the wage tax below 3% by 2025 and cut the net income portion of the Business Income & Receipts tax in half by 2025.
The Resolution was introduced on June 4 by Councilman Ed Neilson and approved by a voice vote with only one “no” vote.
To read the resolution, please go to bit.ly/1HbQReu.
To learn more about the Philadelphia Growth Coalition, please go to philadelphiagrowthcoalition.com. To sign up for news via email from the Coalition, please go to bit.ly/1HXf8kB.
$70 Million Tax Increase Package Up for Final Council Vote
City Council’s Committee of the Whole on June 10 approved three bills that would raise an estimated $70 million for the School District of Philadelphia.
Bill #150533 would create a 4.5% cumulative increase in the Real Estate tax, to generate an anticipated $50 million in additional funding for the School District: bit.ly/1IOAPJt.
Bill #150534 would increase by 12.5% the City’s Parking tax, to raise $10 million: bit.ly/1B8qZiY.
Bill #150535, would raise the business Use & Occupancy tax by 7%, generating $10 million: bit.ly/1Gjnt48.
The projected revenues fall short of the $105 million request from the School District. The bills are scheduled for a vote at City Council’s final session Thursday before it adjourns until September 10.
Young People Not Voting in Local Elections
Only 12% of registered millennials — 38,686 people — turned out to vote in the May mayoral election, Billy Penn, the online news site, reported. Millennials make up about 32% of the registered voters but only 14% of people who actually voted, the article noted.
While millennials make up the largest group of registered voters, their voting participation is the lowest of all the groups. In the statewide fall 2014 gubernatorial election, millennial turnout was about 23%. In the 2011 city primary, about 17,000 millennials voted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1GhcfNv.
The Knight Foundation earlier this month released a report, Why Millennials Don’t Vote for Mayor, and reasons cited for poor participation were low trust in government, lack of information, high mobility and low home ownership. The research was conducted in several cities, including Philadelphia.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1MpqzWd [PDF].
Center City District Sips
Center City District Sips continues this Wednesday, June 17, through September 2, at more than 80 official participating bars and restaurants in Center City. From 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. each Wednesday, participating establishments will offer $5 cocktails, $4 wine, $3 beers and half-priced appetizers.
This year Rosa Blanca Café in Dilworth Park joins the festivities, offering outdoor seating and views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the 11,160-square-foot fountain, grassy lawn, trees and flowers! Center City District Sips is sponsored by 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey.
For complete information and a list of participating bars and restaurants, please go to ccdsips.com.