Pearl Properties Buys 1700 Chestnut
Pearl Properties has bought 1700
Chestnut Street, an eight-story building that is home to Nordstrom
Rack on the first three floors, and the real-estate company will
develop the top five floors into apartments, the Philadelphia Business
Journal reported on Friday. The building has a separate entrance on 17th
Street that will give residents access to the upper floors. The sale price
was not announced.
Pearl owns six properties stretching from 1600
Chestnut to 1912-18 Chestnut, the article noted. The company specializes
in mixed-use buildings that showcase retail on the lower floors and offer
residences and some office uses on the non-retail floors.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/15Td6GH.
Bill Enabling $125 Million Hotel Withdrawn
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson on December 2 withdrew in committee Bill
#140858, which he introduced on October 30 and which would rezone the block bounded by 16th, 17th, Chancellor, and St. James Streets to allow for the development of a $125 million boutique 12-story Hudson
Hotel, PlanPhilly reported.
Johnson recalled the bill so that the developers and
hospitality workers could continue negotiations and also to address
concerns about the fate of Little Pete's diner at 219 South 17th Street.
The building housing the diner is to be demolished under the development
City Council�s last session of 2014 is scheduled for
Thursday, December 11, so the bill can�t be heard until sometime next year,
likely in late January or early February, the article noted. The bill has
already been recommended by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
The development plan for the hotel calls for 300 rooms
and 40 executive suites and is being designed by DAS
Architects. The penthouse
floor would house an exclusive dining venue with panoramic city views, and
two stories of luxury retail shops are part of the plan. All parking spaces
at the hotel would be underground.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1yTQi2Z.
New Caf� for Independence Mall
La Colombe, the caf� and retailer of coffee, has signed a lease for approximately 1,700 square feet of ground-floor retail space at the Dow building on the corner of Sixth and Market Streets, completing an overall $20 million reinvestment strategy for the Independence
Mall, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on December 2. The project will create a new stairway to the caf� on the southwest corner of Sixth and Market, removing a wall and creating a more welcoming gateway to the Market East retail district.
Development partners Keystone
Property Group, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and Parkway
Corporation have recently made other upgrades
to the building, including the addition of a 20,000-square-foot permanent
beer garden and renovations to the parking garage.
To read the article,
please go to bit.ly/1I0NExu.
To see renderings, please go to bit.ly/1I0NK8p.
City Retail Is Dynamic, Expanding, and Diverse
While 77% of retailers in Center City are boutiques, independents and regional firms, shopping choices have significantly expanded with the opening of large-scale national retailers Century
21, Nordstrom Rack, and Uniqlo, according to a new report issued December 3 by the Center
City District and Central Philadelphia Development
Growing demand, driven by 180,000 residents, 300,000
workers, 121,000 college students in or immediately adjacent to downtown
and 3 million annually occupied hotel room nights, has made Center City
an attractive location for both high-end and fast-fashion retailers who
value Center City�s highly concentrated, cosmopolitan, and diverse customer base.
Other new arrivals in 2014 include Vince,
Timberland, Vans, Calypso St. Barth, My.Suit, American Eagle Outfitters, and Goorin
Brothers; Michael Kors and Forever
21 soon will open.
For other retail trends,
demographics, and pedestrian counts, please see Center
City Reports: Retail, December 2014, available at centercityphila.org/docs/CCR14_retail.pdf.
Reading Terminal Market General Manager Stepping Down
The general manager of Reading Terminal Market, Paul
Steinke, will relinquish his post, effective December 31, in order to run for an at-large City Council seat in next year's May primary, Philly.com reported.
Steinke plans to make the official announcement of his
bid for office in January, the article noted.
Steinke has served as the market's manager for 13 years,
oversaw several important renovations, and led the market to open on Sundays,
among other accomplishments. Steinke�s earlier roles include founding executive director of the University City District and founding finance director for the Center City District, in 1991.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/12XMrXU.
Free Parking on Saturdays
The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is offering free metered parking every Saturday in December, beginning at 11:00 a.m. through New Year's Day.
It's also offering an $8 flat fee in all PPA garages,
including its newest garage, The Family Courthouse Garage on Arch Street,
on Saturdays and Sundays.
For other parking tips, please visit www.philapark.org.
Nonmanufacturing Strong in November
Business activity for the region�s nonmanufacturing sectors continued to improve in November, according to firms responding to the Nonmanufacturing
Business Outlook Survey from the Federal
Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
General nonmanufacturing activity increased
for 52.9% of the reporting firms, slipped for 11.8%, and remained
unchanged for 32.4%. Sales/Revenue rose for exactly half (50.0%)
of the firms, fell for 17.6%, and remained the same for 29.4%.
The number of full-time employees increased
for 26.5% of the firms, decreased for 11.8%, and remained the same
for more than half (58.8%).
Looking ahead six months, more than
three-quarters (79.4%) of the reporting companies expected business
to continue to improve, only 2.9% expected activity to slow down,
and 2.9% expected business activity to remain the same.
the report, please go to bit.ly/1vO9pKx [PDF].
AHA Books 2019 Convention
The American Heart Association (AHA) has selected Philadelphia as the host city for its 2019 annual meeting, which is expected to bring 25,000 people to the city and fill more than 51,000 hotel room nights, generating more than $67 million in economic impact for the region, the Philadelphia
Business Journal reported on November 26.
The AHA cited the new management at the Philadelphia
Convention Center as one of the reasons it made the decision, and added
that great things are happening in Philadelphia.
To read the article,
please go to http://bit.ly/1HLNF8B.
Foreign Investment to Aid Turnpike Connection With I-95
More than 100 investors from outside the U.S., most
of whom are from China, have applied to invest $500,000 each in the
long-awaited Pennsylvania Turnpike connection with I-95, The
Philadelphia Inquirer reported on November 30.
Since September, the Pennsylvania
Turnpike Commission has been circulating a proposal in China that seeks 400 investors to provide
$200 million of the $420 million project. In exchange, the investors expect
to get permanent residency in the U.S. for themselves and their families,
the article noted.
The plan derives from the federal Immigrant
Investor Program that grants EB-5 immigration visas to foreigners who
provide at least $500,000 to U.S. projects that create 10 or more American
jobs. Similar EB-5 deals have provided funding for the Pennsylvania
Convention Center, the Temple University
Health System, and the Comcast
Center, according to the article.
The rest of the money for the project is expected
to come from federal and turnpike funds.
To read the article, please go
New Flights to London
Delta Air Lines announced on November 24 that it will begin new nonstop service from Heathrow
Airport to Philadelphia with airline partner Virgin
Atlantic, beginning April 8, The Philadelphia
In addition, American Airlines on the same day also announced
that it would add a new nonstop morning flight to Heathrow beginning
US Airways currently has two evening flights from Philadelphia
The change is part of an agreement with the U.S. Justice
Department to merge US Airways with American Airlines, made last
December. US Airways gave up a Heathrow flight from Philadelphia to a competitor,
so as not to have a monopoly on the route, and Delta picked up
The new American flight will leave Philadelphia at 9:55
a.m. and arrive in London at 10:10 p.m., the article noted, with the return
American flight departing London daily at 8:20 a.m., arriving in Philadelphia
at 11:35 a.m.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1yxcmAh.
Walnut Street Ramp to I-76 Closed on Tuesday
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) last week announced that the Walnut
Street ramp to eastbound I-76 will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, December 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for bridge deck repairs.
Walnut Street motorists wanting to access eastbound I-76,
toward the airport and Walt Whitman Bridge, will be detoured over
34th Street, Civic Center Boulevard, University Avenue, back to 34th Street,
to the Wharton Street ramp to I-76 East, the press release noted.
the press release, please go to bit.ly/10EX54a.
Bridge Construction Begins Again
On December 4, PATCO trains began operating on a revised schedule as contractors began work on the next phase of the Benjamin
Franklin Bridge rehabilitation project. The new schedule affects midday service between Thursday and early Monday morning, and will remain in effect until early February 2015.
Trains will operate on a single track from 10:00 a.m.
Thursday through early Monday morning and passengers may face periodic 12-
to 16-minute gaps in train service because of track outages.
run on a regular full-service schedule starting Monday mornings
and lasting through Thursday mornings' rush hour. In addition, trains will
operate every 15 minutes in both directions during off-peak hours Monday
through Friday, and every 30 minutes Saturday and Sunday.
For more information,
please visit www.ridepatco.org.
Parks & Open Space News
FrostFest at Sister Cities Park
FrostFest, the Center City District�s celebration of wintertime and holidays, continues at Sister
Cities Park, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for the next two Saturdays � December
13, and 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Come celebrate with music, family-friendly activities,
free carriage rides around the park, ice-carving demonstrations, a chance
to see Santa Claus, and sweet treats from Logan Square
Cafe. Among other
activities will be the Franklin Institute Traveling Science Show � Hot and Cold; Costume Carolers from Dickens' A
Christmas Carol at the Walnut Street Theatre; and crafts from the Philly
In addition, there will be Coloring Sheets from
Disney On Ice presents
Frozen presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt,
and a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets to the show at the Wells
Fargo Center, December 25 through January 4.
All visitors also will receive
a special discount coupon to the Rothman
Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park.
For more information, please go to ccdparks.org/sister-cities-park.
For a recent article about the evolution of the CCD into
an organization that manages parks and that appeared in the newsletter
of the International Downtown Association, please go
Ice Skating in Dilworth Park
The all-new Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park will remain open seven days a week through February 22, 2015, and will have special hours on the holidays.
Admission is $3 for children, ages 10 and under, and
$4 for adults. Skate rental is $8. The Rothman Institute Ice Rink is open
to the public Monday through Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday, 3:00
p.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; and Sunday 11:00
a.m. to 8:00 p.m. A four-week Learn-to-Skate program is available on Sunday
mornings at 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. For details on all the activities at
the rink, please go to dilworthpark.org/rothmanicerink.
Rothman Rink also
offers birthday party packages that include party space, skating
admission and skate rental, as well as selections from Rosa
Blanca caf�, for groups of 10 or more. Group rates are available for other parties of 10 or more. For reservations, please email Groups@RinkManagement.com.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA�, PNC and 6abc (WPVI) have provided additional generous support for the Rothman Institute Ice Rink.
UIL Withdraws Offer to Buy PGW
UIL Holdings Corporation on December 4 announced it had withdrawn its $1.86 billion offer to buy Philadelphia
Gas Works (PGW), The
Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
City Council President Darrell
L. Clarke announced
on October 27 that council would not hold hearings or a vote on the proposal.
Council�s handling of the PGW proposed sale set off a series of very strongly worded editorials criticizing the decision. Despite intense lobbying by business leaders to approve the sale, and UIL's offers to modify the terms to satisfy Clarke's stated concerns, no Council members stepped forward to introduce the legislation to sell PGW, the article noted.
To read The Inquirer article, please go
Land Bank Resolution Approved by Council Committee
City Council�s Public Property and Public Works Committee on
December 1 approved a resolution adopting a first-year strategic plan for
Land Bank, a new entity created last year to help speed the redevelopment
of thousands of vacant properties and buildings in the city, PlanPhilly reported.
The strategic plan was developed by Interface
a local planning firm, in coordination with City Council, City agencies,
and nonprofit and development groups. A new set of data show that the Land
Bank could immediately target 8,000 publicly owned vacant parcels, as well
as an additional 24,000 privately owned, vacant, and tax-delinquent properties.
The Land Bank first will focus on transferring single
vacant lots to property owners as side yards or community gardens, then
move on to creating more mixed-income communities, economic opportunities
on neighborhood commercial corridors, and preserving and creating new green
The resolution is expected to come up for a vote before
the full council on Thursday, December 11.
To read the PlanPhilly article,
please go to bit.ly/1vMh2T4.
To read the resolution, introduced on
November 13 by Councilwoman Maria D. Qui�ones-S�nchez and
Henon, please go to bit.ly/1rXN61h.
New Regulations for Billboards Introduced
Councilman Bobby Henon on December 4 introduced amendments to Bill
#130656 and also introduced a new bill, #140970, both of which establish new regulations for signs and billboards. Both could be voted on Thursday.
The new legislation allows companies to convert billboards
into digital displays, which are currently prohibited, so long as they also
remove two standard billboards, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted. Companies
must submit an annual inventory of all signs, and adhere to limits on the
brightness of the digital displays. Billboard owners would be able to construct
and modify signs without going through the city and would be able to increase
the height of those signs in certain cases. Owners would also pay higher
The new bill would increase the taxes that companies
pay by 1%.
To read Bill #130656 and its amendments, please go to
To read Bill #140970, please go to bit.ly/1yn5SS0.
To read The Inquirer article, please go to bit.ly/1vnMTET.
Budget Secretary Confirms $2 Billion Deficit
Budget Secretary Charles Zogby held the administration�s mid-year budget briefing on December 3 and confirmed prior estimates of a nearly $2 billion planning deficit heading into the coming fiscal year, according to the PLS
Reporter, a subscription service that covers the Pennsylvania Legislature.
Zogby noted that In the coming fiscal year, mandated
spending increases in debt service, corrections, public school employee
retirement, and the Department of Human Services coupled with the unavailability
of $2 billion in previously used one-time revenue sources and lower than
anticipated lottery revenues are the drivers of the planning deficit.
He also noted additional difficulties in potential risks
to the current year�s budget, state store profitability eroding as sales growth no longer outpaces operating costs, the cost of employee benefits increases, and the fact that most state union contracts expire in June 2015.
How Is Downtown Doing?
How is the Center City District doing? Please take
a minute to complete our Customer Satisfaction Survey. You will be
entered to win $250 in restaurant gift certificates. Also, please
share this with young professionals in your firm. The survey can
be found at howisdowntowndoing.com.
CPDC Membership Meeting
The Central Philadelphia Development
Corporation's Membership Meeting will be held Tuesday,
December 16, at The Union League of Philadelphia,
Grant Room, 140 South Broad Street, with Registration & Breakfast at 8:00
a.m., and program at 8:30 a.m.
The program will be �Linking Center City & University
City: Can the Schuylkill River Be Like the Chicago River?�
With major development projects planned on both
sides of the Schuylkill River, PennDOT scheduling bridge improvements
and Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, and SEPTA undertaking
a new master plan, there is a significant opportunity over the next five
years to link Philadelphia's two largest employment nodes with seamless
pedestrian connections surrounding a major regional transportation hub
connected to the Northeast Corridor. Hear about the large-scale developments
planned along the Schuylkill and what the possibilities are for improved
Panelists will include Jeffrey
Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Brandywine Realty Trust;
Keith Orris, Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations and Economic
Development, Drexel University; Natalie Shieh, Project Director, 30th
Street Station District Plan, Amtrak; and Jonathan
Stavin, Executive Vice
President, PMC Property Group.
Business casual attire is required, and
please 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 December 10, to Carol Raffa, firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.440.5500.