Office Sector News
Saul Ewing to Open Office in Drexel’s Innovation Neighborhood
The law firm Saul Ewing this month will open an office at One Drexel Plaza, 3001 Market Street, in the proposed 10-acre Drexel Innovation Neighborhood, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on December 1.
The 270-lawyer firm with 11 regional offices has its headquarters at Center Square West, 1500 Market Street, and will keep those offices while using the Drexel space on a daily basis, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1YFt5Os.
New Lease for Coworking Space
MakeOffices, a Washington, D.C. coworking company, has leased 56,776 square feet (SF) on four floors at Seven Penn Center, 1635 Market Street, which will make it the largest coworking space in Center City when it opens in the third quarter of 2016, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on December 10. MakeOffices also has reportedly signed a deal to lease about 24,000 SF at Commerce Square.
In Philadelphia, there are approximately 30 coworking spaces totaling more than 270,000 SF, expected to climb to nearly 400,000 SF in 2016, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1NQteXF.
Eds and Meds News
Jefferson to Add ALS Clinic
The Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson, in partnership with the ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, will open an ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) clinic on January 8, which will merge with the Frances and Joseph Weinberg Unit for ALS Research to become a new comprehensive clinical and research center called the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The center at 900 Walnut Street will offer patients a research-based approach to care and multidisciplinary clinical services.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1NBVf9B.
Drexel Opens Shared Office Suite
Drexel University on December 2 opened One Drexel Plaza, a shared office suite at 3001 Market Street for start-up life-science and medical-device companies, as a preview of its larger planned development currently in the planning process, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The 20,800-square-foot newly-opened space has capacity for about 100 workers and is 80% occupied by three companies: a branch of Boston Device Development; Plexus; and Militia Hill Ventures, the article noted. The shared space allows the companies to cut expenses by sharing equipment and office amenities, and encourages collaboration.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1NJ8qkF.
Brickstone Affiliate Buys Garage
An affiliate of the Brickstone Companies, 123 South Owner LLC, has bought a two-story, 26,550-square-foot parking garage at 123-127 South 12th Street (12th and Sansom Streets), from the estate of the late Samuel Rappaport for $14.5 million, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on December 8.
Plans for the property were not announced. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Nj5XOM.
New Plan for 1911 Walnut Street
Southern Land Company has modified its plan for 1911 Walnut Street and is proposing to construct a $300 million residential tower of 47 to 51 stories, with 342 apartments, 64 to 75 condominiums, and 55,000 square feet of retail space on the first three floors, which would wrap around Walnut, Sansom and 20th Streets, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on December 11. The tower was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.
Southern Land expects to informally meet with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in January.
To read the article and view a rendering, please go to bit.ly/1TGmArr.
Refurbished Hotel to Open at Logan Square
The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton, formerly the Four Seasons, at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, officially opens on Wednesday, Architectural Digest announced.
The hotel, across the street from Sister Cities Park, has 391 guest rooms, one-of-a-kind local artworks, and the Urban Farmer restaurant. In the hotel entrance, there is a massive lit mobile featuring 400 sepia photographs of famous Philadelphians, such as Benjamin Franklin, printed on glass.
To read the article and see a slideshow of the new interiors, please go to bit.ly/1TZDli7.
Hotel Boom in Downtown
While 2015 saw record-breaking occupancy in downtown hotels, seven new projects under construction or recently completed (Such as The Logan Philadelphia, above) will expand the inventory by 1,800 rooms, approximately 16%, according to JLL’s Chart of the Week for December 7.
In addition, there also are 1,500 rooms under consideration.
To view the chart, please go to bit.ly/1MnTEDp.
Residential Market News
Average Age for Buying First Home: 27
Nest, the home technology company, surveyed 2,000 homeowners in the U.S. for their Nest Home Index, to determine various age groups’ attitudes toward home ownership and related topics.
The average age at which respondents bought their first home was 27. But the survey noted the increased mobility of younger respondents: half of those 34 and younger expect to move in the next two years and the survey found that the average number of homes lived in by both 25- to 34-year-olds and 55- to 64-year-olds was 5.4.
More than half of every age group, except those 65 and older, would sell their house if offered more than twice what they thought it was worth.
To view the index, please go to bit.ly/1SOXCG5.
Wells Fargo’s Outlook for 2016
The Wells Fargo Investment Institute on December 1 released its 2016 Outlook report, Navigating Risk in a Year of Change, which predicts the New Year will bring a faster pace of economic growth, with the U.S. and European economies providing the most momentum.
Economic growth in the U.S. is expected to be 2.6%, and consumer price inflation, 2.0%. Interest rates likely will be raised three times at most in the coming year, the report notes.
The report also analyzes factors that will fuel growth, ongoing market volatility, and the repercussions of an aging population that may opt to continue working.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1KBSGRP [PDF].
Bloomingdale’s Opens Outlet Store
Bloomingdale's the Outlet Store opened Friday morning in a new two-level, 22,700-square-foot space at The Shops at Liberty Place, with merchandise discounted by 25% to 70%, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The new outlet joins Nordstrom Rack and Uniqlo in the expanding West Chestnut shopping district.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1O0mtJb.
$1 Billion in Demand for Downtown Retail
More than 183,000 residents, 294,000 workers, 3.1 million occupied hotel room nights and 116,000 college students in or immediately adjacent to Philadelphia’s downtown contribute to Center City’s 24-hour vibrancy and generate more than $1 billion in retail demand, according to a new report released on December 7 by the Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation.
With 76% of the people residing in the core of Center City holding at least a bachelor’s degree and household incomes averaging more than $107,000, Center City’s expanding affluent and highly educated populace has attracted more than 33 national retailers since 2013. These new popular brands augment the strong base of local boutiques and independents that make up 78% of Center City’s tenant mix.
As Center City’s purchasing power continues to increase, so does the demand in Center City’s 1,017 retailers.
Retail rents in Center City have increased more than most peer cities, rising faster than all but Miami, the report noted. To download the 24-page report, Center City Reports: Philadelphia Retail, please go to centercityphila.org/docs/CCR15_retail.pdf [PDF].
City Council Approves Casino Zoning
City Council, by a vote of 15-0, on December 9 approved Bill #150767, which would create the changes in the Special Purpose Entertainment District (SP-ENT) zoning regulations needed to build the $450 million Live! Hotel and Casino at 900 Packer Avenue.
Stadium Casino L.L.C., a partnership between the Cordish Companies of Baltimore and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, say the casino will create thousands of jobs, including 3,000 new construction jobs, which will generate approximately $145 million in estimated new wages and salaries (direct and indirect) during construction, and 2,000 new permanent jobs upon completion of the project.
To read Bill #150767, please go to bit.ly/1OKQkVh. To read the press release that followed Council’s vote, please go to prn.to/1lSveZ0.
Arts and Culture News
Pew Quiz Measures Attitudes Toward City
The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative has created a quiz that will indicate what type of Philadelphian you are: a Die-Hard Loyalist; a Dissatisfied Citizen; an Uncommitted Skeptic; or an Enthusiastic Urbanist.
The quiz is based on a survey of 1,603 adult city residents and asks that you endorse one of two statements about a topic.
To take the survey, please go to bit.ly/1O6wRO2.
To learn more about the research project, please go to bit.ly/1QdJrg0.
Patrick Morgan to Lead Knight Foundation in Philadelphia
Patrick Morgan on January 4 will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as the program director based in Philadelphia, where he will work with local leaders and other community members to find and invest in opportunities that build on the city’s vibrancy and make it a place where talent thrives, the Foundation announced on December 10.
Previously, Morgan was a member of the City of Philadelphia’s managing director's office and worked for Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis.
To read the press release, please go to kng.ht/1NJbjX7.
New CEO for Airport
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney on December 3 named Rochelle L. "Chellie" Cameron CEO of Philadelphia International Airport two days after Mark E. Gale, CEO for the last seven years, announced that he will retire in early 2016, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Cameron presently oversees day-to-day operations at the airport as chief operating officer and came to Philadelphia in 2011, after nearly 13 years with the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Airports Authority, which operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1XCJR3H.
Philadelphia Leads U.S. in Bike Lanes per Square Mile
With 426 miles of on-street bike lanes, or 4.3 miles per square mile, Philadelphia leads the big cities in the U.S. in bike lanes per square mile, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia blog reported, based on an article in Triple Pundit.
The city ranked fifth in total mileage, behind San Jose, Los Angeles, Tucson and San Diego, all West Coast cities that tend to be less dense than those on the East Coast, the article noted.
To read the blog item, please go to bit.ly/1NoGMxA. To read the article in Triple Pundit, please go to bit.ly/1NsJKgu.
PATCO Project Nears Completion
PATCO’s $103 million renovation of its track structure on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge is expected to be completed by year’s end, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on December 1. Rail service will return to a normal schedule after two years of intermittent disruptions.
The work, funded by the Delaware River Port Authority, included replacing railroad ties, cabling and power boxes, plus signaling and communications equipment and will give the track structure 25 to 30-plus years of life expectancy, the article noted.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1InXLzH.
Five-Year U.S. Transportation Bill Signed by President
President Barack Obama on December 4 signed into law a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill, the first long-term national transportation spending package in a decade, the political website The Hill reported.
The plan calls for spending approximately $205 billion on highways and $48 billion on transit projects over the next five years.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), H.R. 22, reauthorizes the collection of the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax used to pay for transportation projects, and also includes $70 billion to close a $16 billion deficit in annual transportation funding that has developed as U.S. cars have become more fuel-efficient, the article noted.
The FAST Act also renews through September 2019 the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), which provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and insurance against losses to exporters and their overseas customers.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1IKwP8h. To read H.R. 22, please go to http://1.usa.gov/1YWS0xa [PDF].
In an article titled “The Urban Planner’s Guide to a Post-COP21 World,” Next City explains why buses, mayors, city budgets and density matter now more than ever. To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1YaaihI.
SEPTA Extends Service to Wilmington
Beginning today, SEPTA trains will allow for later travel between Philadelphia and Wilmington, in response to an online petition to extend late night and weekend service, PlanPhilly reported on December 3.
The last train from Temple University will leave for Wilmington at 11:25 p.m., a two-hour extension. The last train from Wilmington now will leave at 12:25 a.m., instead of 10:48 p.m. The State of Delaware will pay for the expansion of the service.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1Nh0GHi.
In related news, SEPTA on Sunday changed schedules throughout the Regional Rail system to alleviate the growing problem of trains arriving late, especially the Warminster, West Trenton and Airport Lines, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on December 10. The changes are designed to bring the on-time rate on those lines up to SEPTA's standard of 92%.
The Warminster and West Trenton Lines now end at 30th Street Station instead of Philadelphia International Airport, and the Airport Line is shortened.
To view the new schedules, please go to septa.org.
Survey on Parking Conditions in the City
The Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition and its member civic organizations are conducting a study of parking conditions in Philadelphia. The first step is a survey that gathers information about parking experiences in the city. You don’t need to own a car to take the survey.
The Center City Residents Association, one of the participating organizations, received 383 responses in 48 hours. More than 80% of respondents indicated parking is extremely tight in the evenings, during both weekdays and weekends. More than half of the respondents indicated they did not own a car and over 92% walk and use public transit. The survey remains open.
If you live in Center City and want to take the survey, please go to svy.mk/1TDvIx1.
Spirit Airlines Adds Two New Routes
Spirit Airlines will add daily nonstop flights from Philadelphia International Airport to Detroit and Fort Lauderdale, beginning April 29, in addition to the nonstop daily to Los Angeles, announced last month and beginning April 14, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1lBuwji.
Parks and Open Space News
Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park
With more than two dozen specialty vendors, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park adds new craft and gift shopping opportunities through Sunday, December 27, on the southern end of the park, complementing the Rothman Institute Ice Rink on the north.
The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market is open Sunday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 11:00 to 8:00 p.m. On Christmas Eve, December 24, market hours will be 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the market will be closed on Friday, December 25. For information on all the exciting activities at Dilworth Park, please go to dilworthpark.org.
Science Center Adds Pocket Park
The University City Science Center has completed its Innovation Plaza, a pocket park that formerly served as a pedestrian walkway on 37th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on November 30.
The attractively landscaped new plaza provides benches, game tables and an “Innovators Walk of Fame,” which relates the region’s history of innovation.
To see photos and read the article, please go to bit.ly/1ToG4kQ.
Mayor-elect Kenney: Cut Wage Tax
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney wants to cut the city wage tax and favors the proposal of the Philadelphia Jobs Growth Coalition to increase the property tax on commercial real estate to compensate for the reduction, Kenney announced at the December 9 meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) at the National Constitution Center, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Kenney indicated he would strive to cut the wage tax to 3.0% for residents, and noted that the plan to increase commercial property taxes would require a change in state law, a three- or four-year process.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1ORGpfX.
Also at the event, GPCC presented its Roadmap for Growth: A Vision for the City of Philadelphia. Some of the issues identified for the new mayor to address include improving access to capital for business owners, developing more neighborhood business improvement districts, improving preK-12 education, and investing in infrastructure, especially Philadelphia International Airport and the Port of Philadelphia.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/1M7GllY [PDF].
Kenney Adds to His Administration’s Staff
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney on December 3 announced four staff members. Nina Ahmad, local leader of the National Organization for Women, will serve as Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement, and Anne Gemmell will become the City’s Pre-K Director, both new posts, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported. Stephanie Monahon was named Chief Service Officer and Nellie Fitzpatrick will remain in her role as the Director of the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs, bit.ly/1NC9oU6.
The following day, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Kathryn Ott Lovell, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, was to be named Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, bit.ly/1XCJR3H.
On December 9, Kenney announced that Rasheia Johnson, a Senior Vice President at Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC, will serve as City Treasurer; Anna Wallace Adams, now Chief of Staff in the City's Finance Department, will be Budget Director; and Catherine Paster will remain as First Deputy Finance Director, bit.ly/1NT1qlh.
On Friday, Kenney announced that Samantha Phillips will continue to serve as Director of the Office of Emergency Management; Christine Knapp, currently a Deputy Chief of Staff at the Water Department, will serve as Director of the Office of Sustainability; and Eva Gladstein, currently Director of the Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, will serve as Deputy Managing Director for Children and Families, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, bit.ly/1Ngxd2w.
Added Registration Fee Will Fund Street Improvements
Philadelphia’s first Vision Zero legislation, Bill #150670, sponsored by Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Councilman Mark Squilla, passed City Council on December 10, and imposes an additional $5 fee on all motor vehicle registrations, with the estimated extra $3.5 million per year dedicated to roadway improvements, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia announced. Vision Zero is an initiative dedicated to reducing traffic-related deaths.
To read the announcement, please go to bit.ly/1J0Xxtz. To read Bill #150670, please go to bit.ly/1Z4gNPX.
Land Bank Ready for Business
Mayor Michael Nutter on December 9 announced that 150 property deeds had been transferred from the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation to the Philadelphia Land Bank, with 500 more expected to be transferred before year’s end, along with an additional 833 City-owned properties, whose transfer was approved by City Council on December 10, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The Land Bank was created to lessen blight and streamline the process of assembling vacant properties for redevelopment.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/1ReRAkx. To learn more about the Land Bank, please go to phillylandbank.org.
Tomorrow! CPDC Meeting: Looking to 2016
The Central Philadelphia Development Corporation will hold its final meeting of the year tomorrow, Tuesday, December 15, at 8:30 a.m., in the Union League’s Grant Room, 140 South Broad Street.
With 2015 drawing to a close, new housing, hotels and retail are under construction across Center City, a response to the downtown's growing residential population and the number of overnight visitors. What other factors are driving this positive transformation? How strong are these trends for 2016? What are the uncertainties or risks for over-building? What could Mayor-elect Jim Kenney do that would be most helpful to sustain momentum and prompt growth in other sectors?
Speakers will be Joseph D. Pasquarella, MAI, CRE, FRICS, Senior Managing Director, Integra Realty Resources – Philadelphia; Julie Coker Graham, Executive Vice President, PHLCVB; and Steven Gartner, Executive Vice President, CBRE.
Business casual attire required; no denim please.
CPDC members are encouraged to invite both young professionals and other members of their firms to attend this meeting.
Hold the Date
In 2016, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Center City District as well as the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation. We are planning a special evening event in Dilworth Park on May 5, 2016 – more information to follow.
Developments will be taking a holiday and will return next year on Monday, January 11, 2016. Happy holidays and an extraordinary New Year to all!