News

Center City News Update - 10.03.17

Office Sector News

Two West Market Street Office Buildings Up For Sale
Two Center City office towers are coming up for sale in what has been a subdued investment market for the downtown market this year.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports Gemini Rosemont Realty is looking to sell 2000 Market St., a 29-story, 665,649-square-foot office building that it bought in March 2013 for around $110 million.

Equity Office Properties is looking to sell 1600 Market St., one of two buildings it owns in Philadelphia. The 39-story, 760,000-square-foot tower is about 80 percent leased. The Chicago company has sold 13 buildings across the country for a total of $755.7 million.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fuilHq.

New Supply Comes On-Line
A brief, on-line report from JLL provides a leasing update on newly delivered and soon-to-open office buildings in Center City. Four floors remain available at 1100 Ludlow, which is 42.9% leased and part of NRED’s larger East Market project. Looking ahead to Center City office buildings coming online in the next 12 months, the floors beneath Aramark’s space are available at 2400 Market, which is 41.0% leased, and the entirety of the completely overhauled One Franklin Tower is available.

JLL concluded that the diversity of the building locations, fit-outs, price points, and nearby amenities mean more options than ever for tenants with expiring leases and those entering the market.

To read more, please go to bit.ly/2wlsGZd.

IRR Joins Newmark Knight Frank
Philadelphia's Integra Realty Resources (IRR), along with IRR offices in New York/New Jersey, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, has joined the Newmark Knight Frank Valuation and Advisory practice.

IRR Philadelphia, a boutique real estate valuation firm specializing in income-producing properties nationally since 1980, has covered Southern New Jersey, Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley for the past 18 years, and was led by Joseph D. PasquarellaMichael Silverman, and John P. Pasquarella.

To read the press release, please go to prn.to/2xD6Sfw.

Philadelphia Among Cities Getting Creative with Amazon HQ2 Pitches
Hundreds of Wharton Business School students have a new fall semester assignment: Pitch the city to AmazonThe New York Times, in a September 25 piece about cities’ strategies to woo Amazon, also reported that dozens of start-ups have also been asked to submit testimonials about Philadelphia’s innovation economy and offer their advice on how to court the e-commerce giant.

Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney, said the city is sending delegations to Seattle to “get into the Jeff Bezos mind-set and ethos.”

She said the city would also consider overhauling its tax system for Amazon, which is seeking a location for a second headquarters -- a $5 billion investment creating an estimated 50,000 jobs.

Tax policy experts quoted by the Times however, are more skeptical of Amazon’s bidding process and how much cities stand to benefit.

To read the article, please go to nyti.ms/2xDgKFD.

Eds and Meds News

Kimmel Cancer Center Opens New Welcome Center
Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is opening a Welcome Center to serve as a central access point for patients and their caregivers.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reported that today, October 2, the Center City cancer center officially unveils its $1.2 million Welcome Center on the 900 block of Chestnut Street.

The center will host patient educational and support groups, assigning navigators to help new patients find their way around Jefferson’s campus, provide computers with access to vetted cancer information, and offer legal advice related to their cancer diagnosis.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2yeccXE.

Residential Market News

Details, Renderings Revealed For Dual Towers on Schuylkill River
PMC Property Group and Gensler have revealed renderings and new details of their proposed development on the Schuylkill River ahead of a Civic Design Review hearing on Oct. 5. Called the River Walk, the two towers will sit on what is now a surface parking lot between 23rd Street and the Schuylkill, and between Cherry Street to the north and a SEPTA rail bridge to the south.

After the city council extended the Center City District's zoning rules to the site this summer, the towers will be built by right but still are required to go through the Civic Design Review. The nonbinding process is required for any project with at least 100 residential units and/or 100,000 square feet of construction.

Curbed Philly reported that the north tower, 60 North 23rd Street, will stand 28 stories, containing 291 apartments and nearly 73,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The south tower, 2301 JFK Boulevard, will stand 31 stories, containing 321 apartments and 2,375 square feet of retail.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2yamLuO. To read the Civic Design Review report, please do to bit.ly/2xLY0Ef [PDF].

Former Hat Factory to Become Apartments
Developer PRDC Properties LLC plans to transform the former Frank P. Heid & Companyhat factory at 13th and Wood Streets into a 96-unit apartment building, just north of Center City in the Callowhill neighborhood, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 20.

The eight-story, 95,000-square-foot building is just two blocks from the new Rail Park and will feature a ground-floor restaurant, roof deck with barbecue grills and hammock lounge, and a co-working space.

Renovations are expected to cost approximately $13 million. Zoning approvals have been secured and construction is scheduled to begin in November, with occupancy in spring 2019. Monthly rents are expected to range between $1,100 for a studio and $2,600 for a two-bedroom apartment.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2xfmhCw.

Development News 

Philadelphia Ranks No. 8 in Green Construction
A new report ranks Philadelphia eighth among U.S. cities with the most certified green construction. In its rankings, real estate website ADOBO noted that the city has 909 LEED-certified residential projects, with an average of 17,901 square feet.

Topping the list is Washington, D.C., which has 2,675 LEED-certified residential projects, according to the ADOBO report. However, Curbed Philly noted that an increasing number of residential and commercial construction projects are expected to add to Philadelphia's collection of LEED buildings. In 2018, the Comcast Technology Center will aim for LEED Platinum certification, the highest level available.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fMPgns. To see the ADOBO report, please go to bit.ly/2hiKBJL.

Retail News

AMC Theatres in 2019 plans to open an eight-screen multiplex on the third floor of the westernmost portion of the Fashion District PhiladelphiaJoe Coradino announced at a CPDC forum on September 26.

The multiplex will feature reclining chairs, food and drink for in-seat nibbling, and two auditoriums that support premium-format screenings.

Renovation for the theater space will involve raising the area's roof to accommodate the auditoriums’ stadium seating.

To read the Inquirer’s coverage, please go to bit.ly/2woAqde.

Restaurants Lead Retail Leasing
Food and beverage tenants made up about 48% of all retail leasing transactions in Center City between January 2016 and June 2017, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported, based on a new report from CBRE Inc.

Nearly 100 restaurants and bars opened in 2016 in Center City, and another 15 closed or relocated. This year, there have been 25 openings and eight closings as of June 2017.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2xmB39W.

To read CCD’s recent fall retail overview, please go to centercityphila.org/research-reports/center-city-retail-market-snapshot.

Boyds Announces Top-to-Bottom Makeover
A year ahead of its 80th anniversary, the upscale apparel retailer Boyds has launched a $10 million rebranding effort.

The endeavor includes plans to renovate its Center City store’s luxurious interior and expand the family-owned business’ reach to women and online shoppers.

To read the Philadelphia Business Journal’s report, please go to bit.ly/2hswBkq. To read The Philadelphia Inquirer’s report, please go to bit.ly/2fw4ekJ.

Center City Landlord Optimistic About State of Real Estate 
One of Center City’s larger landlords of retail space remains bullish on downtown real estate. Midwood’s holdings are home to Urban Outfitters, the Cheesecake FactoryAppleH&M, and Zara.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, John Usdan, CEO of Midwood Investment & Development LLC, said Center City has been transformed in the two decades since Manhattan-based Midwood began buying properties. He cited Center City’s “job and population growth and increases in disposable income,” among other factors, as reasons to remain optimistic about the continued vibrancy of the restaurant and retail scene.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2hqTXqK.

Economic News

Manufacturing, Service Industries Expand in September 
Manufacturing improved in the region in September, according to responses to the Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, with new orders up for 44.8% of firms, down for 15.3%, and remaining the same for 38.3%.

The number of full-time employees increased for 18.4% of the companies, decreased for 11.8%, and was unchanged for 67.5%.

Looking ahead six months, 63.5% of the firms expected conditions to improve, 8.3% anticipated a downturn, and 21.0% predicted no change.

Business activity continued to expand in the region’s service sector in September, according to responses to the Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey, with new orders up for 39.3% of firms, down for 12.6%, and remaining the same for 24.3%.

The number of full-time employees increased for 21.4% of the companies, decreased for 17.6%, and was unchanged for 56.1%.

Looking ahead six months, 59.0% of the firms expected conditions to improve, 9.7% anticipated a downturn, and 30.5% predicted no change.

To read the Manufacturing report, please go to bit.ly/2yg9Fb8 [PDF]. To read the Nonmanufacturing report, please go to bit.ly/2wU7XLv [PDF].

Arts and Culture News

Catto Statue Dedicated at City Hall
A memorial statue to slain 19th-century civil rights activist Octavius V. Catto was unveiled September 26 on the south side of City Hall, where hundreds filled the roadway for the ceremony.

The installation, a 12-foot bronze statue of Catto and five granite pillars representing upturned streetcars, is titled "A Quest for Parity," and was created by California sculptor Branly Cadet, who was selected by a jury and spoke at the event.

To read the Inquirer’s coverage, please go to bit.ly/2wUmrv1.

PAFA Building New Arts Venue 
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has started work on a 277-seat hall that will provide space underground for PAFA events, plus concerts and lectures from PAFA’s partners, radio station WURD and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and also will serve as a rental space for small groups, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 21.

The below-ground center in the Hamilton Building is part of a $6.4 million, 15,000-square-foot subterranean project that also creates a new gallery for exhibiting student work and storage for post-World War II paintings.

Demolition of the current basement is underway and construction is expected to be in December, with an opening in January 2019.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2xlrW7K.

Transportation News

Frontier Adds Flights
Frontier Airlines will begin nonstop seasonal flights next spring from Philadelphia to Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; and Omaha, Nebraska, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 26.

With the new service, which is a mix of seasonal and year-round flights, Frontier will provide service to 24 cities from Philadelphia.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2xLgB31.

SEPTA Releases FY18 Operating Budget
SEPTA’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Operating Budget of $1.45 billion assumes transportation service levels will remain generally consistent with FY17, while Operating Revenue for FY18 is projected to increase by $35.1 million, or 7.1% over FY17, attributable in part to a fare increase effective July 1. Subsidies that include, federal, state and local funds total $914.6 million. FY18 expenses are $1.45 billion.

SEPTA ridership has fallen from a high of 339.3 million in FY12 to 308.3 million in FY17, due to factors such as increased competition and moderate gas prices, the report noted.

SEPTA anticipates the next fare increase will occur in FY2020.

To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2jLHwGI [PDF].

Curbed Philly Lists Six ‘Game-Changing Transportation Projects’ 
Philadelphia has made strides in its transportation infrastructure, from increasing its bicycle lanes to phasing out transit tokens in favor of reloadable cards, but a September 18 report from Curbed Philly presented a list of “potential game-changers.”

Among the list-toppers: Amtrak’s $6.5 billion plan to transform 30th Street Station and surrounding areas into an innovative transit hub and mixed-use neighborhood; SEPTA’s $500 million proposal to extend the Broad Street Subway to the growing Navy Yardcomplex; and the recently announced capping of I-95 and Penn’s Landing, part of a $225 million project to enhance access to the Delaware River and create more green space.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2f5w5nZ.

Planned Rollout of Protected Bicycle Lanes Has Slowed
In the 2015 mayoral race, then-candidate Jim Kenney pledged to build more than 30 miles of protected bicycle lanes in Philadelphia to accompany the 400-plus miles of unprotected lanes already separating bicycle and car traffic.

The city has since won funding for 13 protected bicycle lane projects, which would fulfill the pledge, but construction has sputtered. Advocacy groups and the city face an uphill battle installing bike lanes in many neighborhoods, where residents say they reduce the number of on-street parking spaces.

Advocates told PlanPhilly that they want Kenney to do a better job explaining the safety benefits of bicycle lanes for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2fBomlo.

Vision Zero Plan Aims to Make Streets Safer
Mayor Jim Kenney on September 28 unveiled Philadelphia's Vision Zero action plan, a three-year guide to improving transportation safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. The announcement came nearly a year after Kenney signed an executive order creating the Vision Zero Task Force. That group was charged with developing a plan to bring traffic-related deaths to zero by 2030.

The plan’s top concern is mitigating crashes within a "high injury network" of streets where more than half of traffic deaths and severe injuries occur. Potential remedies include installing red-light cameras, reducing speed limits, and installing medians or left-turn lanes.

Traffic crashes resulted in 432 deaths (72 of them children) and 1,200 severe injuries from 2012 to 2016.

To read the Vision Zero report, please go to bit.ly/2wXUoj8 [PDF]. To read the PhillyVoicearticle, please go to bit.ly/2xOnY9W.

Parks and Open Space News

October 11-15 Is Octoberfest At Dilworth Park
Dilworth Park’s annual five-day fall festival takes place from Wednesday, October 11 to Sunday, October 15. Featuring games, entertainment, giveaways, and a craft beer and cocktail garden, all set to the tunes of live music and DJs, presented by Live Nation. New this year, the Made in Philadelphia Fall Market showcases local makers selling art, photos, accessories and jewelry, skincare, glassware, wood crafts and much more.

For more information on Dilworth Park, please visit dilworthpark.org.

PNC Presents Live @ Lunch at Dilworth Park
The popular midday concert series returns on Wednesday, October 4, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m., and will continue each Wednesday through October 18. Enjoy lunch on the PNC Terrace with your favorite specialty from the Dilworth Park Café.

Here’s the musical lineup: Nelly’s Echo, October 4; Matt Cusson, October 11; and Philly Keys, October 18.

For information on all the events at Dilworth Park, please go to dilworthpark.org.

Government News

BRT Now Works Four Days Per Week
Dealing with a large backlog of appeals, the Board of Revision of Taxes has begun meeting four times a week through at least the end of the year to decide pending appeals and brace for an expected onslaught of new ones in 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirerreported.

A large increase in appeals is expected because the assessed value of commercial property jumped 50% so far. The board has received 1,145 appeals of fiscal year 2018 valuations, and has made decisions on 124 of those.

The board, which had been criticized for holding hearings only twice a week, has been holding hearings four times a week since September 11.

The deadline for 2018 appeals is today, October 2. Instructions on filing an appeal can be found at phila.gov/brt/appeals.

To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2wU3rgi.

PICA: Five-Year Plan Adjusted to Absorb FOP Award
The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) is recommending approval of the City’s new FY2018-FY2022 Five-Year Financial Plan, revised since the original plan was approved in July, after a Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) arbitration award resulted in $247.2 million in additional labor costs to the General Fund, PICA announced on September 19.

In the July Plan, the City had set aside $200 million in reserve for future labor agreements and arbitration awards. The reserve was emptied to fund the FOP award issued in August, with the excess $47.2 million funded by adjustments to the year-end fund balances in each of the five years.

Revenue projections, as presented in the Revised Plan, are unchanged from the July Plan.

To read the revised report, please go to bit.ly/2xvFLm6 [PDF].

Upcoming Events

Build the Rail Park Happy Hour with Greensgrow Farms
On Wednesday, October 4, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., stop by the Build the Rail Park Happy Hour at The Trestle Inn339 North 11th Street, featuring $7 Ryed The Rails Cocktail, Happy Hour Specials, and Go Go by The Trestle Specials, with 20% of all sales benefitting the Rail Park, Phase 1 construction.

Greensgrow Farms will join the fun with a pop-up farmers market with seasonal vegetables and other produce, plants from their garden center available for purchase, as well as information on their CSA program, workshops, and ways to get involved at their locations in Kensington and West Philadelphia.

For more information, please visit thetrestleinn.com.

Groundbreaking for Eastern Tower Community Center
A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for Friday, October 6, for the 195,000-square-foot Eastern Tower Community Center, 1001 Vine Street, a mixed-use building that will offer recreational space, a green terrace, education lab, fitness center, and event space in the Chinatown community.

The 20-story building is a joint project from the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and JNA Capital.

For more information, please visit bit.ly/2xwJ5O5.

New Homeless Facility
Project HOME, the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA will launch a new homelessness facility on November 6, Hub of Hope, a new concourse engagement center that will be open throughout the year, as an alternative for those who had been sleeping in Suburban Station. Project HOME will staff and operate the 11,000-square-foot facility, where homeless and at-risk individuals will find food, showers and laundry facilities, as well as expanded physical and behavioral healthcare, housing counseling and other social services.

The First Annual Benefit for the Hub of Hope will take place Monday, November 6, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 12th and Market Streets.

For information on sponsorships and attendance, please contact Pamela Sarne McCormick at HubofHope@septa.org by October 18.

Talking Transportation at Upcoming Conference
On Wednesday, October 18, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and WTS Philadelphia are hosting “Changing Lanes,” a conference for transportation and planning professionals, at The Union League.

At 9:15 a.m., the opening panel discussion features eight women in transportation sharing their reflections on how the industry has changed over the course of their careers. The panelists are Denise Berger, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey; Rochelle Cameron, Philadelphia Division of Aviation; Secretary Jennifer Cohan, Delaware Department of Transportation; Rina Cutler, Amtrak; Dana Hecht, New Jersey Department of Transportation; Mary Peters, Former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary; Secretary Leslie Richards, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; and Renee Sigel, Federal Highway Administration

The daylong event costs $90 for those in the nonprofit and government sectors and $199 for those in the for-profit and private sectors. Business attire required.

For more information and to register, please visit bit.ly/2wgVi67.

Temple University Libraries Present New Season of Public Programs
Temple University Libraries have released the fall lineup for their Beyond the Page series of public programming.

The free series of programs invites scholarsartists, and experts to present their work and engage visitors in timely conversations. This year’s programming is curated around community and the way languages, institutions, people, and places shape lives.

For the schedule of events, please visit bit.ly/2xLk6Xj.

Transportation Survey

Transportation Survey for West Market and JFK Boulevard
CPDC members with offices in the West Market Street and JFK Boulevard area are encouraged to participate in a five-minute online transportation survey. The goal is to determine how office workers arrive at work, their perceptions of safety while walking, driving, or bicycling on these streets, and their reactions to one proposed plan for improvement.

The survey closes at midnight on October 20. To participate, please go to bit.ly/2ydoGOZ.