1760 Market Street Sold
Alterra Property Group and Stockton Real Estate Advisors have bought 1760 Market Street for approximately $20 million and plan to renovate its office space with collaborative areas and exposed ceilings, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on September 10. AFIAA, an investment adviser for pension funds in Switzerland, was the seller.
The property is near the forthcoming Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, the article noted, and rents in the building are currently $28.50 a square foot.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1EQMjv7.
Groundbreaking for Divine Lorraine Renovation
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 16 for the $44 million restoration of the Divine Lorraine Hotel, which will have 109 apartments and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor restaurants and retail outlets, continuing the revitalization of North Broad Street, Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced.
The redevelopment is led by Eric Blumenfeld Realty Management and designed by WRT.
The project is financed by a combination of private investment, historic tax credits, a loan and grant from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) is providing a bridge loan for the RACP grant. The targeted completion date was not announced.
To read the Mayor’s press release, please go to bit.ly/1F7b0n4. To view a rendering, please go to philly.curbed.com/places/divine-lorraine.
Design Center to Move to East Market
The Marketplace Design Center, formerly at 2400 Market Street, has signed a lease for 48,000 square feet at 34 South 11th Street, the former Family Court building that is being transformed as part of the $500 million East Market development in the 1100 block of Market Street and will be known as The Design Center, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on September 10.
The showrooms will open at East Market in the fall of 2016, and The Design Center has the option to expand into an additional 24,000 square feet, the press release noted.
East Market is being developed by National Real Estate Development and SSH Real Estate, who also announced they had closed on a $38.5 million construction loan from Wells Fargo to continue the renovation of 34 South 11th Street.
To read the article in the Philadelphia Business Journal, please go to bit.ly/1F2i9Vm. To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/1gfB4Am.
Nine Digital Billboards Approved for The Gallery
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) voted on September 15 to approve PREIT’s plan to include nine digital signs totaling 12,000 square feet that will face Market Street between Ninth and 11th Streets as part of the transformation of The Gallery at Market East, which will reopen as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia, PlanPhilly reported on September 15.
PREIT will make $16 million in public improvements to fulfill the requirement that accompanies the right to erect the digital signs.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Kp70tT.
Manufacturing Mixed in September
Manufacturing conditions in the region were mixed in September, according to firms responding to September’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
For the first time since February 2014, more respondents reported overall business activity had decreased (34.8%) outpacing those who indicated business had increased (28.8%), while 36.4% responded there was no change.
However, other indicators were stronger. For new orders, 40.8% reported an increase, 31.4% a decrease, and 25.5% saw no change.
Employment was stable with 63.7% of the firms reporting no change in the number of employees, while 21.2% reported an increase and 11.0% a decrease.
Looking ahead six months, 53.5% expected business to improve, 9.5% indicated an anticipated decrease, and 27.5% foresaw no change.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1Kk4wOy.
Philadelphia Remains Poorest of 10 Largest Cities in U.S.
Philadelphia remained the poorest of America's 10 largest cities in 2014, with 26% living below the poverty line (down very slightly from 26.3% in 2013), compared to a national poverty rate of 14.8%, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 17, based on U.S. Census data. The poverty rate for children in Philadelphia was nearly 37%. The report attributes much of the problem to Philadelphia’s anemic job growth.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1NAFPld.
World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit Updates
The World Meeting of Families convention officially begins tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22, and ends Friday, September 25, followed by the visit of Pope Francis on Saturday and Sunday. Plans continue to evolve and information is still being released. For schedule changes in CCD parks, please see below in Upcoming Events.
Following are some of the recently announced developments.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to lead farewell ceremony for Pope Francis, bit.ly/1NHZzFo.
SEPTA doubles the number of stations scheduled to be open during the Papal visit along the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines, cbsloc.al/1F4EZMG.
The City began towing cars in the “secure perimeter” and” “secure vehicle perimeter” yesterday, Sunday, September 20, at 6:00 p.m., and will continue to do so through Wednesday, September 23, bit.ly/1Q6IF0z.
Parking rule changes, discounts during Pope Francis’ visit, bit.ly/1OkclK7.
Product deliveries and commercial trash pickup will be available between 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on both Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, for businesses within the no-drive zone but not within the secure perimeters, bit.ly/1Qd6Bzn.
PopeBus to provide park-and-ride service to regional rail stations for Papal visit, bit.ly/1Ql2Dog.
Maps of street closures, secure zones, ticketed zones, etc., bit.ly/1gvi9lp.
Real-time travel information about the state's highways during the Papal visit, bit.ly/1gpgTA1.
No mail delivery in ZIP codes19102, 19103, 19104, 19106, 19107, 19130, 19122 and 19123, bit.ly/1iqL5g1.
Aretha Franklin to join Andrea Bocelli, Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra in Saturday night concert on the Parkway; Mark Wahlberg to host, bit.ly/1EYFsQp.
Music to be performed for Pope Francis at Independence Hall includes the Philly POPS, a mariachi band, an African dance and drum ensemble, an Andean ensemble, and a tango performance, bit.ly/1KsCiEE.
Eds and Meds News
Science Center Renamed
The University City Science Center has been renamed uCity Square, a rebranding strategy that is part of a $1 billion expansion in partnership with developer Wexford Science & Technology, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 15.
Ten buildings will be added to the existing 17 and will include pedestrian-friendly shopping, apartment towers, and a sprawling public plaza, and will expand the space to 6.5 million square feet from its current size of 2.5 million square feet. The project is in the early stages, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1iVBii4.
Five Below Opens Flagship Store on Chestnut Street
Trendy teen retailer Five Below opened its flagship and largest store in the U.S. on September 10 at 1529 Chestnut Street, where it fills two floors and 13,000 square feet in the former Arcadia Theatre.
Five Below has 400 stores in 26 states, with colorful accessories such as cell phone cases and chargers, and other items attractive to teens. All items are $5 or less.
Five Below joins newcomers Uniqlo and Nordstrom Rack on the West Chestnut shopping corridor that continues to attract national retailers.
To read an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, please go to bit.ly/1KJl2gB. To read the press release, please go to cnnmon.ie/1KdppKc.
1513 Walnut Street Sold
Stoltz Real Estate Partners of Bala Cynwyd has purchased 1513 Walnut Street from Ritten Properties for $14.15 million, or $1,400 per square foot, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on September 11. The 9,826-square-foot building was renovated in 2012 and is occupied by Brooks Brothers.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Kg8DhW.
Arts and Culture News
Philadelphia Theatre Company Regains Control of Its Home
The Philadelphia Theatre Company has regained ownership of its space, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts, after purchasing it for $5 million from TD Bank, which had repossessed it after the theater troupe stopped making mortgage payments in 2012, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 17.
The purchase price is being covered by $3 million in gifts, plus a $2 million loan from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). Contributing toward the $3 million are the William Penn Foundation, Aileen K. and Brian L. Roberts Foundation, Rachel and Drew Katz Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Independence Blue Cross.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1YlMvc8.
Please Touch Museum Files for Bankruptcy
The Please Touch Museum has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Philadelphia with the objectives of shedding most of its $60 million debt and negotiating a deal in which the City, owner of Memorial Hall where the museum is located, will maintain and repair the building, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 12.
The museum will remain open during the proceedings and the museum could be out of bankruptcy by year's end, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1VS2tsb.
New Leader for SEPTA
SEPTA’s board of directors has named Jeffrey Knueppel, currently deputy general manager, to replace General Manager Joseph M. Casey, who has been with the agency for 34 years and will retire after the Papal visit, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on September 27.
Knueppel, at SEPTA for 27 years, has served as deputy general manager since August 2012 and spent more than six years prior as assistant general manager and chief engineer.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1FQdDoa.
New Executive for PennDOT’s District 6
Kenneth M. McClain has been appointed as the District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 6, which covers the five-county Philadelphia region.
District 6 covers Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, where PennDOT owns and maintains 3,562 miles of state highway and 2,767 bridges.
To read the announcement, please go to bit.ly/1Lutb2W.
Indego Bike Share to Expand Locations
The City of Philadelphia’s bike-share program, Indego, with 72 stations currently in operation, will add 24 new stations next year, with the aid of a $1.5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on September 15.
The new locations will be chosen with priority given to those that provide accessibility to the waterfront and city parks. Indego launched on April 23 and was immediately popular.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1F4BG7W.
City Opens New Operations Center to Control Traffic
The City of Philadelphia on September 15 opened a new Traffic Operations Center (TOC) that will receive live video feeds from traffic and surveillance cameras from around the city and region and will be operated by the Streets Department, Police Department, SEPTA, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, according to a press release issued by Mayor Michael A. Nutter. The center is in Feltonville in North Philadelphia.
At TOC, traffic engineers can view videos in real time and adjust traffic signals to clear roadways and provide faster responses to emergencies.
To read the Mayor’s press release, please go to bit.ly/1NGiYqc.
New App Hails a Cab
Beginning in October, passengers in Philadelphia will be able to electronically hail cabs and pay for the rides using the Way2ride app, which can be used on iPhones and Android phones. The ride can be paid for in cash or by using the app, according to the company that makes the app, Verifone.
Approximately 1,400 of the 1,600 licensed taxis in Philadelphia are equipped with Verifone equipment.
To read the press release, please go to bit.ly/1LjueqE.
PATCO Will Offer Free WiFi
PATCO and Comcast are partnering to provide PATCO with free WiFi, which will be available in early October, KYW reported on September 17.
Riders can use their Comcast login and password to get online or open their web browser, agree to the terms of service and provide an email address.
To read the article, please go to cbsloc.al/1OjErVO.
Parks and Open Space News
First of Ornate New Gates Opens onto Dilworth Park
On Wednesday, September 9, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Center City District unveiled the first of four pairs of monumental gates 146 years after City Hall’s architect, John McArthur, Jr., created their ornate design for the north, south, east and west entrances to the building’s central courtyard.
Vitetta Architects, preservation architects for the restoration of City Hall, developed construction documents from McArthur’s original conceptual drawings, creating gates that are more than 25 feet tall and weighing approximately 3,200 pounds, even though they use lighter-weight stainless steel frames and aluminum castings. The documents were put out for competitive bid and Robinson Iron Corporation was selected to fabricate the gates in partnership with the structural engineering firm Keast & Hood of Philadelphia.
The CCD is managing the project on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, which contributed $1.5 million to the project, while the CCD was able to raise the remaining funds through a generous grant from the William B. Dietrich Foundation.
The three remaining pairs of gates will be installed by Thanksgiving.
May Primary Set Two Records
The May 19 Democratic primary set a record for the lowest turnout in the party’s history and the highest spending on an election ever in the city, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 8.
Of 806,000 registered Democrats, only 234,000 voted, while Democratic candidates spent $28.7 million, or $122 per Democratic voter. In the Republican primary on the same day, candidates spent $630,000, the article noted.
To read Tom Ferrick’s analysis, please go to bit.ly/1Ns2Pmv.
Voter Registration Now Online
Residents of Pennsylvania now can register to vote online and have until October 5 to register for the November elections, Newsworks reported on September 9. The online system requires the same information collected using a traditional paper registration.
To read the Newsworks article, please go to bit.ly/1V0DO2k. To visit the voter registration website, please go to bit.ly/1NBq1i4.
Bill Would Increase Heights and Density
Councilman Mark Squilla’s Bill #140519-A, which adapts the Zoning Code to allow additional height and density in some commercial and residential properties in some parts of Center City, is expected to come up for a vote in City Council on October 1, PlanPhilly reported on September 17.
Among the changes, the bill would reduce the minimum lot size for buildings in the highest-density, single-family category.
Squilla introduced the bill last year at the request of the Building Industry Association.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1MhywNJ. To read Bill #140519-A, please go to bit.ly/1iofgnJ.
CPDC Meeting: Start-ups, Coworking and the Independent Economy
On Tuesday, September 29, at 4:00 p.m., the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CPDC) will hold its fall Membership Meeting in Lincoln Hall at the Union League, 140 South Broad Street.
Until recently, nearly all older “B” office buildings were being converted to residential use, but lately there has been a significant increase in coworking spaces and leases to smaller, creative firms for upper floors of older buildings. How deep and sustainable is this demand?
CPDC will be releasing a report, funded by the Knight Foundation, on the independent workers who have emerged as a growing sector alongside traditional wage and salaried employment. Based on surveys of independent proprietors, start-up entrepreneurs and occupants of coworking spaces in Center City, the report will help answer questions about the makeup of Philadelphia’s independent economy, the diverse occupants of coworking spaces and what impact they may have on commercial real estate and the growth of Center City’s office sector.
A panel of speakers will discuss the new report with Moderator John P. Derham, Senior Managing Director and Market Leader, Cushman & Wakefield of Pennsylvania.
The speakers will be Wayne L. Fisher, Executive Managing Director, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank; Lauren Gilchrist, Vice President and Director of Research, JLL; Peter C. Soens, Partner, SSH Real Estate; and Paul R. Levy, Executive Director, Central Philadelphia Development Corporation.
Business casual attire is required. No denim.
CPDC members are encouraged to invite both young professionals and other members of their firms to attend this meeting. Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 23, at Noon, to Carol Raffa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.440.5500.
Free Lecture Focuses on Ecodesign
On Monday, October 5, at 6:00 p.m., at University of Pennsylvania School of Design's Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, Larry Beasley, Distinguished Practice Professor of Planning at the University of British Columbia and Founding Principal, Beasley and Associates; and Jonathan Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Practice, PennDesign, will give a free lecture and present their book, Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs.
In their book, Barnett and Beasley seek to demonstrate that ecodesign can help adapt the built environment to both a changing climate and a rapidly growing world.
For more information about the event, please go to bit.ly/1KP67Bs.
A Variety of Activities at Dilworth Park and Schedule Changes
Rosa Blanca Café is usually open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. This week the Rosa Blanca Café building will be closed on Thursday, September 24, to prepare to provide food and beverages from tents in the park from Friday, September 25, through Sunday, September 27. The café will be closed on Monday, September 28, and will resume regular hours on Tuesday, September 29.
The fountain at Dilworth Park will be off on Thursday, September 24, to provide the maximum viewing area for the Papal parades and will be turned back on Tuesday, September 29. Planting beds and other park features will be protected with fencing.
Other Scheduled Activities:
Farmers’ Market at Dilworth Park – Every Wednesday through November 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, houseplants and flowers are stocked with Farm to City’s finest. There will be no Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, September 23.
PNC presents Live @ Lunch – On Wednesdays, from Noon to 1:30 p.m., with no performance on September 23. On September 30, PHILADANCO!, as featured on WHYY-TV’s Friday Arts, and the Brass Student Ensemble from the Curtis Institute of Music, as featured on WHYY-TV’s On Stage at Curtis, will be featured performers. These performances kick off WHYY’s celebration of the PBS Arts Fall Festival. On October 7, Alize Rozsnyai, coloratura soprano and ArtistYear Fellow for the Curtis Institute of Music, will perform.
Octoberfest presented by Saul Ewing will fill the park from October 21 through October 25 with games, vendors, DJs and live music to accompany the 21+ Saultoberfest Beer Garden by Rosa Blanca Café.
Save the date! The Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park reopens November 13!
Please visit DilworthPark.org/events for complete schedules and details for all events. For complete information on Dilworth Park, please go to DilworthPark.org.
Activities at Sister Cities Park and Schedule Changes
Logan Square Café will be closed on Thursday, September 24, to prepare to provide food and beverages from tents in the park from Friday, September 25, through Sunday, September 27. The café will be closed on Monday, September 28, and will resume regular hours on Tuesday, September 29. The Children’s Discovery Garden will be closed Thursday, September 24, through Monday, September 28. The Independence Visitor Center will be closed all week and will reopen on Tuesday, September 29. To provide the maximum viewing area for the Papal parades, Sister Cities Fountain will be turned off on Thursday, September 24, and will be turned back on Tuesday, September 29. Planting beds and other park features will be protected with fencing. All attractions in the park will resume regular hours on Tuesday, September 29.
Fall Family Fun Days with Furry Friends – On two Saturdays, October 10 and October 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Sister Cities Park will celebrate fall with music and family-friendly activities, including free hay rides, face painting, balloon twisting and treats from Logan Square Café.
For more information, please visit SisterCitiesPark.org.
Other Park Schedule Changes
Café Cret at Cret Park, 16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will be closed on Thursday, September 24, to prepare to provide food and beverages from tents in the park from Friday, September 25, through Sunday, September 27. The café will be closed on September 28 and will resume regular hours on Tuesday, September 29.
John F. Collins Park at 1707 Chestnut Street will be closed Friday, September 25, through Monday, September 28. The park will resume regular hours on Tuesday, September 29.
To check for other CCD updates during the World Meeting of Families and the Papal visit, please go to ccdparks.org.