Dranoff to Build Condo Tower on Avenue of the Arts
Citing strong demand for high-end/luxury condominiums in premier neighborhoods, developer Carl Dranoff announced he will build a 28-story tower with 56 luxury condominiums at Broad and Pine Streets, instead of the hotel-and-apartment hybrid previously planned, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on August 24.
The project is being designed by architect Cecil Baker + Partners and will feature ground-floor retail and underground valet parking.
Average prices for condominiums in the area bounded by Vine and South Streets, river to river, reached $446.58/sf during the second quarter of 2017, the highest level recorded since 1980, the article noted. (Please see related item below.)
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2vawBeZ.
Demand for Condos Strong in Center City
Driving demand for luxury condominiums in Center City, like those being developed by Dranoff and Tom Scannapieco, are regional empty-nesters. According to a new study prepared by Allan Domb Real Estate and Philadelphia economist Kevin C. Gillen, Center City is the only local market where condominium towers are thriving, while condominiums elsewhere in the city have not fully gained back value lost during the Great Recession, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Driving the sales in Center City is demand from empty-nesters, the region’s wealthiest residents for an ultra-luxury product. Citywide, where demand is coming from younger buyers, condo prices are up only 1.3% from a year ago, well below the 9% rate of annual appreciation in single-family houses.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2wiAqNW.
CBRE Hotel: Continued Growth in Lodging Industry
CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research is forecasting a year-over-year increase nationally in 2018 of 0.1% in occupancy, 2.3% rise in average daily room rate (ADR), and a 2.4% boost to rooms revenue (RevPAR). In addition, CBRE is forecasting a 2.0% increase in the number of available rooms.
U.S. hotels will once again achieve record occupancy levels and continued growth in profits, during the upcoming year, the report predicts. To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2w4DIEE.
NFL Draft Economic Impact
More than 250,000 people came to the NFL Draft, held April 27-29 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, generating $94.9 million in economic impact, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on August 24.
The three-day event generated $56.1 million in direct spending and $7.9 million in state and local taxes. About 18,991 hotel room nights were booked, or 80% of Philadelphia's stock.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2xv8ghg.
Tenet Selling Hospitals
Tenet Healthcare Corporation is selling its two medical facilities in Philadelphia, Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, to Paladin Healthcare, of El Segundo, California, via its new affiliate American Academic Health System LLC, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 1.
Both Philadelphia hospitals operate as affiliates of Drexel University College of Medicineunder a contract that expires in 2022. The sale is expected to close in early 2018, pending regulatory approvals.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2vxEU4M.
Lease Extended for Society Hill Acme
Alterra Property Group abandoned its controversial plan for a mid-rise residential tower where the Acme food market currently resides on Fifth Street between Spruce and Pine Streets in Society Hill, and extended Acme’s lease for 10 years, PlanPhilly reported on September 1.
On August 30, Alterra signed an agreement with the Society Hill Civic Association and nearby neighbors, in which the neighborhood groups will withhold opposition to a CVS that will replace stores currently in place on the west side of the street.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2iMqRCc.
Indego and Barnes Foundation Promotion
The Barnes Foundation and the city’s Indego bike share have teamed up to promote the museum's artwork, the Associated Press reported on August 30.
Twenty bicycles are being decorated with replicas of paintings by such artists as Vincent Van Gogh, selected through an online poll. Indego subscription holders will enjoy free admission to the Barnes for a year after the bikes make their debut this month.
To read the article, please go to nydn.us/2wu441o.
PNC Presents Live @ Lunch Returns to Dilworth Park
The popular midday concert series at Dilworth Park continues 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. 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: Matt Santry, September 13; Joy Ike, September 20; Ernie Halter, September 27; 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.
PPA Has New Vendor for MeterUP
The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) will restart its pay-by-phone MeterUP parking app this fall, partnering with a new vendor, ParkMobile LLC, The Philadelphia Inquirerreported on August 23.
Atlanta-based ParkMobile LLC has seven years of experience in the U.S. and is used by New York City, Denver and Washington, among other cities.
The app will cost users 40 cents per transaction. The one-cent fee charged by the previous vendor, Pango, wasn’t sufficient to cover costs of the operation, and it was discontinued.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2vtgi8b.
Airport Workers Gain Union Recognition
PrimeFlight and Prospect Airport Services, which employ baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants among other airport workers, has reached an agreement that recognizes their combined 1,000 employees as members of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which should end many of the periodic strike threats at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on August 29. SEIU now represents 1,400 at PHL. Contract negotiations are the next step.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2iJNZRM.
More Bike Lane Controversies
City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell has suggested that the new protected bike lane on Chestnut Street between 33rd and 45th Streets might not be permanent, though it was installed with that intention, Newsworks reported on August 29.
The infrastructure project reorganized Chestnut Street to move biking to the north, to a former parking lane, protecting it with a row of plastic poles, and then allowing parking immediately adjacent and creating a protected bike line. In this latest round of cultural bike-wars, Blackwell announced she would see how residents react and possibly introduce a bill that would give residents a say in whether bike lanes are added in their neighborhoods.
To read the article, please go to bit.ly/2et3GM2.
Service Industry Expands
The regional service industry continued to expand in August, though employment weakened, according to responses to the Nonmanufacturing Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, with the number of full-time employees increasing for 14.0% of the reporting firms, decreasing for 11.0% and remaining the same for 73.5%.
New orders were up for 38.4%, down for 19.0%, and unchanged for 17.6%. Looking six months ahead, 55.0% of the companies expected business conditions to improve, 10.9% anticipated a downturn, and 32.9% foresaw no change.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2wBYcWW [PDF].
Is the Urban Revival at Risk?
Writing in the New York Times, Richard Florida suggests that the urban revival that swept across America over the past decade or two may be ebbing, due to rising house prices, concerns about gentrification, increases in violent crime, and anti-urban politics. Based on a recently published analysis by demographer William H. Frey at the Brookings Institution, 14 of America’s big cities lost population in 2015-16 compared with just five in 2011-12.
Since 2000, Philadelphia began to turn around population decline with a net addition of 49,892 residents between 2000 and 2015, almost all of the increase (83%) occurring since 2010, noted in the CCD/CPDC report, Philadelphia: An Incomplete Revival. However, more than 70,000 residents have left the city since 2010, with 40% moving to adjacent suburbs. Foreign immigration, births, and in-movers such as empty nesters and millennials created the growth.
Cities are our greatest economic drivers, Florida writes, and their continued revival is critical.
To read the New York Times article, please go to nyti.ms/2gpZARD.
To read the Frey analysis, please go to brook.gs/2eQN4eb.
To read Philadelphia: An Incomplete Revival, please go to bit.ly/2wBSMtz.
City Sees Slight Decline in Unemployment
Philadelphia’s unemployment rate was 6.9% in July, compared to 5.1% or below in the suburban counties, however, Philadelphia’s year-over-year decrease was 0.7%, stronger than the 0.4% and 0.5% in the surrounding suburban counties, according to the July Economic Report from the Office of the City Controller, released on August 30. The city’s civilian labor force increased by 1,600 and the number of unemployed decreased by 5,200 over last July.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2wlubJn [PDF].
PICA: Major Growth in All Major City Tax Categories in FY2018
The City of Philadelphia collected $237.9 million in General Fund tax revenue in July 2017, the first month of FY2018, compared to $180.1 million in July 2016, an increase of 32.1%, according to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA).
The City experienced year-over-year growth in all major tax categories, with real estate transfer tax revenue increasing 49.6%, compared to a projected growth of 4.3%. Real estate tax collections increased 19.0%, compared to a projected growth of 11.7%. Sales tax collections increased 14.0%, compared to a projected 5.6% increase; and business income and receipts tax (BIRT) revenue increased 268.4%, compared to a projected 12.6% growth rate.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2gIEP7G.
In another PICA report that looked at Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), General Fund tax revenue for the City of Philadelphia was $3,048.7 million, a decrease of $23.2 million from the initial FY17-21 Plan, attributable to decreases in the real estate transfer tax, $16.7 million; real estate tax, $11.8 million; beverage, $6.5 million; and business income and receipts tax (BIRT), $6.5 million, according to the PICA Staff Report: City of Philadelphia Quarterly City Managers Report for the Fourth Quarter of FY2017.
Decreases were partially offset by increases in the sales tax, $9.1 million; net profits, $4.6 million; wage and earnings, $2.9 million; and parking, $1.6 million.
Obligations were $4,221.7 million, an increase of $34.6 million from the Plan, attributable to a $28.8 million increase in the Employee Benefits category, driven by an increase in health/medical, $12.6 million, and pension costs, $10.8 million.
To read the report, please go to bit.ly/2gtY5pd [PDF].
RFQ Issued For 4601 Market Street
The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the 15-acre site at 4601 Market Street that was to become the new Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) headquarters and which includes the six-story, 325,000-square-foot Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building, Curbed Philadelphia reported on August 24.
The PPD will be moving to 400 North Broad Street when renovations are completed, opening up a major development site on the 700 block of Race Street.
There will be a mandatory tour of the 4601 Market Street property on Wednesday, September 27, at 10:00 a.m. for interested developers. Proposals are due by Wednesday, November 01.
City Posts RFP for Delinquent Property Tax Recovery
On August 25, the City of Philadelphia issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a securitized sale of the City’s Real Estate tax claims (liens), which could bring in as much as $400 million in revenue that can be used for schools, the pension fund and neighborhood revitalization, Newsworks reported. Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 13.
The City is owed approximately half a billion dollars, and the winning bidder will design, implement, and manage the sale, an initiative advocated by Councilman Allan Domb.
To read the article and hear an interview with Councilman Domb, please go to bit.ly/2xyBsEq.
Google and City Complete Trekker Project
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) and the Fairmount Park Conservancy (FPC) on August 30 announced the completion of the Google Street View Trekker project, which captured imagery of the city’s parks and trails and various cultural attractions such as the Philadelphia Zoo.
The images were captured from May through October 2016. Philadelphia is the first major city in the United States to partner with Google on this type of mapping, the press release noted.
City Council, PA General Assembly to Return From Recess
Philadelphia City Council will return for its fall session on Thursday, September 14. The Pennsylvania House reconvenes on September 11 and the Senate on September 18.
Center City District Restaurant Week
Center City District Restaurant Week takes place Sunday, September 10, through Saturday, September 19, offering three-course dinners for only $35 per person and many will offer a three-course lunch for $20, not including tax, alcohol and gratuity.
Follow us on Twitter for updates @PhilaRestWeek.
Transportation Technology and Trends
On Wednesday, October 18, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) will host a daylong conference, Changing Lanes: A Transportation Conference on Technology, Trends, and Change, at the Union League, 140 South Broad Street.
More than a dozen speakers are scheduled. Early Bird pricing is available through Friday, September 8, with tickets ranging from $75 to $160, and afterward, $90 to $199.
For more information and to register, please go to bit.ly/2wNruB6.