News

CPDC Developments Newsletter - 11.28.17

Office Sector News

NYC Co-Working Company Coming to Suburban Station
Bond Collective, a design-centric workspace company, will open its first space outside New York in spring 2018 in Center City. The co-working space will be located on the top floor of the historic Suburban Station in a 22,000-square-foot space.

Features will include 25-foot-tall ceilings, wrap-around terraces, and views of the skyline and the renovated LOVE Park below. The company recently raised $50 million to expand to 30 locations by 2020.

To read more, please click here.

Duane Morris Building Purchased By Former Owner
The Center City office building on south 17th Street that houses the Duane Morris law firm has been purchased by one of its previous owners. Put up for sale earlier this year, the 20-story, 617,476-square-foot office tower at 30 S. 17th St. has been purchased by Oaktree Capital Management for $156 million, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

Oaktree initially bought the building, formerly known as United Plaza, in May 2000 for $51.7 million. Oaktree sold the building in 2005 to what is now Tier-Reit for $99 million.

Duane Morris last year renewed its lease through 2026. As part of the deal, the law firm received the naming rights to the building.

To read more, please click here.

New Aramark HQ Building To House Private Social Club 
A private social club will be coming to the new Aramark headquarters at 2400 Market St.The building, developed by PMC Property Group and Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds, has signed David Gutstadt to a 75,000 square foot lease for a private leisure and co-working space called Fitler Club.

The club will combine features from private clubs such as the Union League and millennial-focused elements such as co-working spaces. The club will open in 2019 in parts of the bottom three floors, while Aramark will occupy the top five of nine floors in full.

To read more, please click here.

Development News

1020 Market Can be Demolished
Philadelphia’s License and Inspections Review Board voted 5-0 to overturn a recent Historical Commission designation of the former Robinson department store at 1020 Market St. as a historically significant structure. This will enable PREIT, which acquired the former Robinson department store along with several other dilapidated, low-rise structures, to demolish the buildings as part of an effort to redevelop the block facing the Gallery across the street, now being transformed into the Fashion District.

To read more, please click here.

NYT Article Examines Philadelphia’s Efforts to Preserve Its Past Amid Construction Boom
An article in The New York Times on November 14 examined efforts by preservationists and the city authorities to preserve the city’s historic character amid a construction boom.

“The city is adding staff to its Historical Commission, which designates buildings as historic and must approve any demolition permits for those buildings. And Mayor Jim Kenney has set up a task force on historic preservation to recommend ways to foster economic growth without sweeping away the past, aided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which this year listed Philadelphia’s historic neighborhoods as among its ‘national treasures,’” the report noted.

The Times also described concerns about the proposed elimination of the federal historic building tax credit that has enabled the rehabilitation of more than 300 historic buildings in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2016.

To read more, please click here.

CDR Gives Logan Square Twin Tower Project A Second Thumbs Down
For the second time, the Civic Design Review board has voiced its disapproval for a pair of high-rise residential towers proposed for 23rd and Arch streets.

The advisory board expressed disappointment with design elements including the buildings’ above ground parking, which will be covered with a metal panel and aluminum framed façade rising 54 feet.

Jonathan Stavin of PMC Property Group said the developer needed to work within the physical limitations of the site. He said PMC hopes to have the entire project complete in 24 months.

To read more, please click here.

Retail News

Report Lists Walnut Street As 12th Most Expensive in U.S.
Philadelphia’s West Walnut Street is the 12th most expensive retail street in the country, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield.

The 29th edition of its report, Main Streets Across the World, tracks 451 of the top retail streets around the globe, ranking the most expensive in 68 countries by their prime rental value and enabling an analysis of trends in retail real estate performance.

To read more, please click here.

Delco Winery Brings Tasting Room, Retail Spot To Center City
A suburban winery is opening a tasting room and store in The Shops at Liberty Place. The Inn at Grace Winery's new location is its first satellite site.

Its products were previously available solely at its tasting room in Glen Mills, Delaware County, and a few area restaurants. The 2,588-square-foot Center City outpost will have tastings by the glass and bottle sales.

To read more, please click here.

Hospitality and Tourism News

26-room hotel planned near Art Museum
An affiliate of Philadelphia-based MMB Contractors Inc. plans a four-story hotel at the current site of a vacant former medical office building at 2225 Spring Garden St. The proposed hotel, to be built at a cost of $2.39 million, will have 26 guest rooms, according to plans filed with the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

The MMB affiliate bought the existing 60-year-old, 6,800 square-foot building on 3,880 square feet of land for $1.16 million in August 2016, according to city records. The project is subject to Historical Commission review because the structure, which would be demolished, is within the Spring Garden Historic District.

To read more, please click here.

International Visitors Numbers Up In 2016
The number of overseas visitors to Philadelphia notched up 0.9% in 2016 and generated about $979 million in economic impact to the region, including $593 million in direct spending.

Last year, 644,200 international travelers came to Philadelphia, up from 638,000 in 2015, according to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), based on data from Tourism Economics. The top five countries for international travelers were the United Kingdom, China, Germany, India, and France.

To read more, please click here.

Arts and Culture News

Academy of Natural Sciences Names Scott Cooper New President
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has named as its president and CEO a museum administrator with a background in construction, architectural conservation and helping the public connect with research and collections.

Scott Cooper, currently vice president of collections, knowledge, and engagement at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, Canada, will take the helm at Philadelphia’s natural history institution in mid-December. His predecessor, George W. Gephart Jr., retired this past summer after seven transformative years that began with the Academy’s affiliation with Drexel University.

To read more, please click here.

Transportation News

SEPTA Launches New App, Updates Emission Reduction Plans
SEPTA has launched the latest version of its app for iPhone and Android users, promising the most up-to-date information on travel times and easier-to-understand navigation as well as alerts to improve the commuting experience.

The app, which first launched in 2013, will also give commuters an option to “favorite” a trip to make it easier to find the next time. SEPTA began investing in more real-time data in July to provide more accurate information to commuters. The changes will continue through next year.

SEPTA has also recently unveiled details of its updated Energy Action Plan, which outlines how the transit agency intends to make improvements toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

To read more about the app, please click here.

To read more about the Energy Action Plan, please click here.

Report: Ride-Hailing Services Likely Increasing Urban Congestion
Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are attracting large numbers of passengers away from public transit, biking and walking, according to a report from the University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. It is the first-ever study with representative data from major cities across America on ride-hailing and its impact on travel decisions.

The report concludes that a significant number of travelers are substituting ride-hailing in place of public transit, biking, and walking. These trips are most likely adding vehicles, and traffic congestion, to the roads of major metropolitan areas, the researchers said.

To read more, please click here.

Economic News

Manufacturing, Service Industries Continue Expansion in November
Manufacturing improved in the region in November, according to responses to the Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, with new orders up for 36.3% of firms, down for 15.0%, and remaining the same for 48.4%.

The number of full-time employees increased for 27.8% of the companies, decreased for 5.2%, and was unchanged for 67.0%.

Looking ahead six months, 56.5% of the firms expected conditions to improve, 6.4% anticipated a downturn, and 32.8% predicted no change.

Business activity continued to expand in the region’s service sector in November, according to responses to the Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey, with new orders up for 34.8% of firms, down for 18.4%, and remaining the same for 22.2%.

The number of full-time employees increased for 29.8% of the companies, decreased for 8.3%, and was unchanged for 57.5%.

Looking ahead six months, 44.7% of the firms expected conditions to improve, 13.3% anticipated a downturn, and 37.0% predicted no change.

To read the Manufacturing report, please click here. To read the Nonmanufacturing report, please click here [PDF].

PICA: October Tax Collections Outpace Last Year
The City of Philadelphia collected $211.6 million in General Fund tax revenue in October 2017, the fourth month of FY2018, compared to $193.8 million in October 2016, an increase of 9.2%, according to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority(PICA).

Increases in wage, earnings, and net profit taxes drove growth in overall collections for the month. The strong October also ensured the continued double-digit increase in total year-to-date collections.

Through October, the business income and receipts tax (BIRT) increased by 26.4%, compared to a projected growth of 12.6%; the real estate tax decreased by 0.4%, compared to a projected growth of 11.7%; the realty transfer tax increased by 35.1%, compared to a projected 4.3% growth rate; and the City sales tax collections increased by 12.9%, compared to a projected growth of 5.6%.

To read the report, please click here.

Government News

Philadelphia Steps Up Collection Of Unpaid Property Taxes
Philadelphia has reduced the total taxes owed to the city by at least one third. City Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin told WHYY-FM that 9,000 properties were removed from the delinquent rolls over the last year, and that delinquent taxes owed to the city have been reduced by 31% in the last four years.

Collectors are using different tactics depending on the circumstances, including offering payment plans tailored to individual incomes.

To read more, please click here.

Philadelphia Launches New Online Mapping Tool
After more than three years in development, Philadelphia has launched Atlas, a new online mapping tool that pools a wide array of information about any property into one place.

Atlas compiles all available data from a single address into one comprehensive database, including deed information, permits, 311 data, crime statistics, zoning appeals and the registered community organization (RCO) associated with that property. It also includes historic images dating back to 1860.

The tool will benefit the city’s open data initiative as well as developers, preservationists and community groups, said Mark Wheeler, Philadelphia's chief geographic information officer and deputy CIO for Enterprise Data and Architecture.

To read more, please click here.

Parks and Open Space News

Amtrak Reveals Designs For Plaza Overhaul At 30th Street Station
Amtrak has revealed its preferred design concept for a large public plaza that would surround 30th Street Station on all four sides. The Station Plaza project aims to transform the area into a pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically pleasing civic space, expanding improvements made by the University City District to create the “Porch” on the south side of the station.

Among the major proposed changes is an entryway to a planned underground concourse between 30th Street Station and SEPTA's subway and trolleys. The plan also calls for separate pickup and drop-off areas at opposite sides of the station for taxies or ride-sharing companies.

Amtrak has said it plans to start construction on Station Plaza by around 2020 and complete it between 2025 and 2030.

To read more, please click here [PDF].

Rothman Rink and Cabin Are Open for the Season
The Rothman Institute Ice RinkRothman Institute Cabin and America’s Garden Capital Maze are open for the season. For holiday shopping, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market offers gifts and holiday foods made by local artisans in festively lit tents.

The Deck the Hall Light Show presented by Independence Blue Cross in collaboration with 6abc is now lighting up the Dilworth Park side of City Hall with an animated light show, synchronized with holiday music and created by Klip Collective. The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market and the Deck the Hall Light Show presented by Independence Blue Cross are open until January 1. The Rothman Institute Ice Rink and the Rothman Institute Cabin are open until February 25, 2018.

To read more, please go to dilworthpark.org/wintergarden.

CCDF Thanks You for Your Support

Less Than $15,000 To Go In Our Rail Park Challenge
The Center City District Foundation is grateful to the CPDC members who have contributed toward the $50,000 Rail Park challenge. With less than $15,000 to go, CCDF hopes this season of giving will inspire you and your firm to help us reach our goal and complete the Rail Park. You can make an impact by visiting supportccdf.org or mailing a check, payable to CPDC, to 660 Chestnut St., Philadelphia PA 19106 (attn: Katie Andrews, Development Manager).

Upcoming Events

Join Us For Parkway 100: Reimagining the Future of the Boulevard
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, join us Tuesday, December 19 for an exclusive preview of a portion of an upcoming Sam Katz documentary that looks at the history and development of the Parkway, setting the stage for a panel discussion of challenges, opportunities and recommendations about what should be next.

The preview of Parkway 100: Reimagining the Future of the Boulevard will take place at 8:30 a.m. on December 19 at Sky Philadelphia (formerly Top of the Tower), Three Logan Square, 1717 Arch St., Vista Room.

CPDC members are encouraged to invite both young professionals and other members of their firms to attend. Please RSVP by Wednesday, December 13 to Romina Gutierrez at rgutierrez@centercityphila.org or 215.440.5543.