Second Residential Tower Planned for East Market
National Real Estate Development, the developer of East Market, plans to add a second residential tower, 1199 Ludlow Street, to be built between Market and Ludlow Streets on 12th Street, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 24.
The 21-story tower, which will rise above a two-story retail store, is designed by BLT Architects, and will add 240 residential units to the 322 rental apartments already under construction.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bEnhGU. To see plans and renderings for 1199 Ludlow Street, submitted to the Civic Design Review board, please go to bit.ly/2bOnL9L [PDF].
Post Office Substation to Leave Ninth and Market Streets
The William Penn Annex Post Office substation on the first floor of the Robert N.C. Nix, Sr. Federal Building and Courthouse at Ninth and Market Streets will be moving to the Cast Iron Building at 718 Arch Street, though a date has not been set, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 31.
The plan was announced on July 20, followed by discussion and feedback, and the decision to move. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2crzyiz.
New Apartments Coming to North Broad
A six-story building at 142 North Broad Street will be converted into 101 rental units and ground-floor retail, with construction beginning in early 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 25. The building is currently utilized for underground parking.
The renovation is being designed by BLT Architects for developer Myron J. Berman.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bGQhKH.
Center City Attracting Outside Investors
A front-page article in The Philadelphia Inquirer on August 28 relied on a variety of information and research produced by CCD/CPDC to note the recent booming investment climate in downtown real estate and development. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2byLcZ8.
Jewelers’ Row Project Appealed
A coalition of Jewelers’ Row property owners and merchants along with preservationists has filed an appeal of the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections' (L&I) approval of plans for a 16-story condo tower at 702-710 Sansom Street, proposed by Toll Washington Square, a subsidiary of homebuilder Toll Bros., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 30.
The coalition contends that L&I inspectors should not have issued demolition permits for the project because relevant notices had not been posted to all the properties, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bGR2U2.
Residential Market News
Suburban House Prices Surge But Lag Philadelphia’s
Philadelphia’s suburban housing market showed one of its strongest periods of growth this past quarter, however, the City maintained its strong lead over the suburbs, according to Kevin C. Gillen, Senior Research Fellow with the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, in a new report, Philadelphia Regional Housing Report: Q2 2016, released on August 29.
The typical suburban home increased in value by 7.5% during the quarter, while the typical Philadelphia home rose in value by 6.2% during the same period. However, Philadelphia County has shown eight consecutive quarters of positive price appreciation, while the suburbs have experienced price declines in five of the last eight quarters.
House prices in the City now are 8% higher than their previous peak before the recession in 2007. Suburban house prices are still below their pre-recession peak, and need to rise another 14% to erase their losses from the recession.
Price appreciation was positive across all regional counties led by Delaware (+12.7%), and followed by Philadelphia (+6.2%), Montgomery (+5.2%), Chester (+5.0%), and Bucks (+4.8%) in the Pennsylvania counties.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1qntloS.
$55 Million in New Revenues Forecast as Abatements Expire
The Office of the City Controller’s Financial Forecast & Snapshot, released on September 1, reports that 9,683 tax-abated properties will be returning to the City’s tax rolls during the fiscal years 2017 through 2021, adding $55 million in new tax revenues during the period.
Of the new revenue, 55%, or $30.3 million, will go to the Philadelphia School District.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2bHnmHX [PDF].
City to Host NFL Draft in 2017
The NFL Draft is returning to Philadelphia next year for the first time since 1961, and will take place April 27 through April 29 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia magazine reported on September 1.
Tickets to the draft are free and will be distributed after next year’s Super Bowl, based on a lottery.
Approximately 200,000 visitors are expected to attend the draft, creating $86 million in economic impact. The event will cost more than $15 million, with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau picking up about one third of the tab.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bW5OIH.
Marriott at Navy Yard to Expand
The 172-room Courtyard Philadelphia South at the Navy Yard, the only hotel there, will add an additional 40 guest rooms, expected to be completed by late April 2017, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on August 29.
Walker & Dunlop Commercial Property Funding structured and closed the $10 million mezzanine loan for the hotel room expansion, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2cmQJ4X.
Eds and Meds News
85 Applications from Pre-K Providers
The City of Philadelphia received applications from 85 education providers for the expanded pre-kindergarten classes that will begin in January, the Philadelphia Daily News reported on August 22.
The City's pre-K program will expand by an additional 1,000 seats for the 2017-18 schoolyear, and will add an additional 1,000 seats each year until September 2020, when 1,500 seats will be added.
Applications from potential students will be accepted beginning in October. For more information or to sign up for pre-K updates, please go to phila.gov/education. To read the Philadelphia Daily News article, please go to bit.ly/2bheokj.
Outdoor Seating Enhances Vitality of Downtown
Sidewalk cafés have increased by 439% since the Center City District began conducting surveys in 2001 and now number 372 with 5,579 seats at restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and ice cream parlors between Vine and South Streets, river to river, according to a new report from CCD/CPDC released today.
The animation of city sidewalks has been joined as well by non-food retailers such as nail salons and art galleries, parks and formerly barren office district plazas. In addition, summertime outdoor pop-up beer gardens have gained popularity in recent years.
Adding together all these outdoor seating locations between Vine and South Streets, river to river, the number rises to 431, up 4.6% from 2015, with 6,322 sidewalk seats, up 4.4% from 2015.
To download the new report, Outdoor Seating 2016, please go to centercityphila.org/docs/CCR16_outdoorseating.pdf [PDF].
Arts and Culture News
Paintings by Sarah McEneaney at Locks Gallery
Sarah McEneaney: When You Wish, an exhibit of 20 acrylic paintings by a co-founder of the Friends of the Rail Park, opened at the Locks Gallery, 600 Washington Square, on Friday, August 26, and will continue through Saturday, October 8. The opening reception is this Friday, September 9, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
McEneaney depicts the viaduct’s transformation and the changing architecture of Trestletown, the gallery’s press release noted.
For more information, please go to bit.ly/2bRj0NV [PDF].
Parks and Open Space News
WPF Awards Grant for Wintergarden at Dilworth Park
The Center City District Foundation has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation (WPF) to create in collaboration with Greater Philadelphia Gardens a large-scale Wintergarden in Dilworth Park as a way of diversifying winter attractions in Dilworth. The Wintergarden will celebrate Philadelphia’s horticultural heritage and be in place for three months.
In addition to this new winter public-space amenity, the Rothman Institute Ice Rink will reopen on November 11, accompanied by the popular Rothman Cabin in its second season. The park will also host a Holiday Market.
If you would like to host an event at Dilworth Park or in the Rothman Cabin, please contact Sarah Anello at 215.440.5507 or email@example.com. For information on Dilworth Park, please go to dilworthpark.org.
New Standards for Parks, Playgrounds
Mayor Jim Kenney on August 24 signed Bill #160304, introduced by Councilwoman Cindy Bass on April 14, which requires that all parks or playgrounds owned or controlled by the City offer fitness and play equipment for people of all age groups, as well as opportunities for children and adults with special needs, Newsworks reported.
Funding for the upgrades and modifications will come from revenue generated by the new tax on sweetened beverages.
To read Bill #160304, please go to bit.ly/2bqT36V. To read the Newsworks article, please go to bit.ly/2bCEz2D.
Outdoor Plaza of American Revolution to Open
On September 15, the Museum of the American Revolution will open its outdoor plaza in advance of the museum’s opening in April 2017, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The plaza will offer a display of cannons, words from the Declaration of Independence engraved on the wall, and two large-scale bronze sculptural panels depicting iconic paintings from the revolution, to be installed later this fall.
Also on September 15, museum officials will unveil a stone engraving dedicating the building at Third and Chestnut Streets to Board Chairman H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite Lenfest.
To read the article and see a rendering of the museum, please go to bit.ly/2bMLO8a.
Acela Service to Expand on Northeast Corridor
Amtrak will purchase 28 new train sets for the Acela service on the Northeast Corridor, increasing the number of seats by 40% on service between Washington, D.C. and Boston, Vice President Joe Biden and Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez announced on August 26. The new train sets will be possible through a $2.45 billion loan to Amtrak from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau via its Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program.
The loan will also be used to provide necessary track upgrades between the New Carrolton and Baltimore stations, and perform station and platform improvements at Moynihan Station, Washington Union Station, Baltimore Penn Station, and New Carrolton Station.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2bV13NX.
SEPTA Adds Supplemental Buses on Regional Rail Lines
SEPTA begins supplemental express bus service today (September 6) for selected Regional Rail lines during the morning and afternoon commutes, 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., with hourly departures, PlanPhilly reported. Regular bus fares will be charged.
Ridership demands are expected to increase before repairs for the cracked equalizer beams in 120 Silverliner V railcars can be completed. The railcars have been out of service since early July and are anticipated to return by November, bit.ly/2blJEQL.
In related news, four of SEPTA’s Silverliner V cars, equipped with new equalizer beams, on September 1 returned to service on the Regional Rail’s Fox Chase Line, bit.ly/2bZRNLs, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
New Information Board Coming to 30th Street Station
At 30th Street Station, Amtrak will replace the Solari departure board with a digital board that has synchronized audio and visual information, Billy Penn reported on August 25.
Most stations have already made the changeover, including New York’s Penn Station, which replaced its Solari board in August. No date was announced for the 30th Street Station replacement.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bQgTbS.
No TIGER Grants for City This Round
Philadelphia, the only city to win at least one grant in the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program’s first seven rounds (including the CCD’s $15 million TIGER grant for Dilworth in 2010), was shut out this cycle when 535 city and state agencies applied for $9.3 billion, awarded to 40 winners, PlanPhilly reported on August 26.
The City’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems had requested $17.9 million for improvements and extensions to the city’s trail network.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bw6tQp.
Ribbon Cut on PPA Garage at Eighth and Market Streets
The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) on Monday, August 29, reopened the newly renovated $33 million Eighth and Market Streets garage, which PPA transformed over four years, adding 1,200 parking spaces and colorful lighting.
The glass-enclosed garage is part of the revitalization of the East Market Street commercial district and has Wills Eye Hospital as an anchor unit.
To read the article, please go to cbsloc.al/2bzyOSz.
New License Plates Help Fund Bicycle Safety Efforts
The new “Share the Road” license plate, designed to help fund bicycle safety, is now in stock and ready to be shipped, PennDOT announced on August 31. Cost of the plate is $40. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2cgdBiF.
In related news, the Vision Zero Alliance announced its formation on August 3 with the goal of creating safer streets through new design, automated enforcement, and education, PlanPhilly reported.
The Alliance comprises the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, AAA-Mid Atlantic, the African American Chamber of Commerce, 5th Square, the Clean Air Council, Run 215, Jefferson Hospitals, Public Health Management Corporation, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bWFwrh.
Indego Offering Unlimited Parking
The Indego bike station at 18th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard will offer unlimited valet bike parking from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on weekdays to accommodate the rush of bike commuters seeking spaces in the morning, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 31. Riders can drop their bicycles off and will not need to find an open dock.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2clkK3M.
Service Industry Continues to Grow in August
The service industry in the region continued a steady expansion during August, according to firms responding to August’s Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey, conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, with new orders up for 37.6% of the companies, down for 22.9%, and remaining the same for 18.1%.
The number of full-time employees was up for almost one quarter of the companies (24.3%), down for 14.4%, and remained the same for 59.5%.
Looking ahead six months, 44.1% anticipated business conditions to improve, while 9.7% expected business to worsen, and 44.4% responded they expected no change.
To read the report released on August 23, please go to bit.ly/2bJWPcs.
New ‘Philly Tech Guide’
Philly Startup Leaders, a community of entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and government officials, recently released the Philly Tech Guide, an overview of the area’s companies, large corporations, networking opportunities, incubators, coworking spaces, investment opportunities, academic institutions, and job opportunities, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on August 29.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2bGoxpI. To view the guide, please go to phillytechguide.com.
Philadelphia Has Highest Unemployment in the Region
Philadelphia’s unemployment rate in June was 6.9%, the highest of all the counties in the region, and substantially higher than the national unemployment rate of 5.1%, according to JLL’s Chart of the Week for August 25. The overall regional unemployment rate was 5.2%.
Salem County, N.J. was the only other county with the unemployment rate a full percentage point above the national rate, at 6.3%. Chester County had the lowest, 4.1%.
To view the chart, please go to bit.ly/2bJLKcM.
PICA Approves City’s Five-Year Plan
The Board of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) on August 31 announced it had approved the City of Philadelphia’s Five-Year Plan for FY17-21 by a vote of 4-1, noting the City’s solid revenue performance in FY16 and efforts to move toward higher fund balances.
Risks to the plan include negotiated union wage increases that could exceed projections, an underfunded pension fund, and uncertain real estate tax projections due to the delay in conducting an annual citywide valuation of properties as was intended under AVI.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/2bBTY8w [PDF]. To read the PICA staff report on the plan, please go to bit.ly/2bRtKKl [PDF].
Two City Council Public Hearings Wednesday, September 7
The Rules Committee will hold a public hearing on Bill #160612 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 400, City Hall. The bill would establish the Headquarter Hotel Neighborhood Improvement District for the W Hotel and Element by Westin at 1441 Chestnut Street, with the NID serving as a guarantor of the tax-increment financing already approved for the Chestlen Development project. To read the bill, please go to bit.ly/2bPCpBv.
Later in the day, the Committee on Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation will hold a public hearing at 1:00 p.m., in Room 400, City Hall, to hear testimony on Resolution #160640, which authorizes hearings on the City's Operating Budget for Fiscal 2017 to examine the financial condition of the City. To read the resolution, please go to bit.ly/2c60oIH.
Fall CPDC Meeting: Dr. Hite to Speak About Philadelphia Public Schools
On Tuesday, September 27, at 4:00 p.m., in the Meade Room of the Union League, 140 South Broad Street, the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation will hold its Membership Meeting. The program will be Funding & the Future for Philadelphia's Public Schools.
For the last decade, respondents to the CCD/CPDC’s annual customer satisfaction survey have always listed “Reduce the Wage Tax,” “Reduce Business Taxes” and “Improve Public Schools” among the three top changes that would improve Center City as a place to live and do business. In the last several years, as state budget crises have directly impacted the School District, “Improve Public Schools” has moved to the number-one priority from survey respondents.
Dr. William Hite, Superintendent, Philadelphia School District, and Uri Monson, Chief Operating Officer, Philadelphia School District, will discuss how Philadelphia’s schools are funded, what more is needed to provide certainty and what are the District’s priorities for both city-wide and Greater Center City’s public schools.
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 to Danielle Allen by Wednesday, September 21 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.440.5533.
Center City District Restaurant Week
Center City District Restaurant Week begins Sunday, September 11, and continues through Friday, September 16, and Sunday, September 18 – Friday, September 23. Participating restaurants will offer three-course dinners for only $35 and three-course lunches for $20. To see the full list of restaurants and their menus, please go to CenterCityPhila.org/restaurantweek. On the site, you also can make easy online reservations through OpenTable and enter a contest to win 52 gift certificates from Center City restaurants. Keep up with all the news about Center City District Restaurant Week news on Twitter: @PhilaRestWeek.