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December 8 , 2014 • Volume 17 • Issue 25 • A bi-weekly email news service

Development News
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Bill Enabling $125 Million Hotel Withdrawn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 plan.

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.

Retail News
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.

Center 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 Corporation.

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. [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.

Economic News
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.

To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1vO9pKx [PDF].

Hospitality News
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.

Transportation News
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 to bit.ly/1vBZ5Xn.

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 Inquirer reported.

In addition, American Airlines on the same day also announced that it would add a new nonstop morning flight to Heathrow beginning March 29.

US Airways currently has two evening flights from Philadelphia to London.

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 route.

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.

To read 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.

PATCO will 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 Art Center.

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 to bit.ly/1xdh8ol.

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.

Government News
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 to bit.ly/1wELj89.

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 the Philadelphia 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 Studio, 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 spaces.

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 Councilman Bobby 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 fees.

The new bill would increase the taxes that companies pay by 1%.

To read Bill #130656 and its amendments, please go to bit.ly/1AvIG74.

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.

Upcoming Events
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 connections.

Panelists will include Jeffrey DeVuono, Executive 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, craffa@centercityphila.org or 215.440.5500.


The Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CPDC) is a strategic planning, research and advocacy organization whose mission is to strengthen the vitality and competitiveness of Center City Philadelphia as the region's central location for business and innovation and to reinforce Center City as a vibrant 24-hour hub for art and culture, a premier place to live and a dynamic destination for shopping and dining.

Central Philadelphia Development Corporation

T 215.440.5500 � F 215.922.7672


For corrections, suggestions, comments, etc., contact Linda Harris, at 215.440.5546 or lharris@centercityphila.org.

For changes of address or contact name, contact cpdc@centercityphila.org.

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