CPDC Developments Newsletter - 06.23.20

Recovery & Reopening News

Philadelphia Could Move To Green Phase Of Reopening By July 3

Mayor Jim Kenney has signaled that Philadelphia could move to the green phase of reopening as soon as July 3 if COVID-19 cases continue to decline. The city has been in a modified yellow phase of Pennsylvania's reopening plan since June 5.

Among the activities that would be allowed to resume in Philadelphia under the green phase are outdoor group recreational and sports activities, gyms and indoor exercise classes, schools and colleges, libraries and museums, indoor shopping malls, outdoor performances and small outdoor events (up to 50 people), and restaurants with indoor seating (with occupancy restrictions).

Council Committee Advances Bill To Expand Outdoor Seating

A City Council committee has advanced a legislation that would allow for expanded sidewalk cafes and expanded right-of-way use for outdoor seating. CCD President Paul R. Levy testified in favor of Council Bills 200351 and 200352 because they support job recovery. He also urged City Council and the Kenney administration to think more boldly about expanded and coordinated uses of the curb lane to create more opportunities for small businesses to succeed.

The legislation passed the committee unanimously. It now goes to the full Council.

In a new CCD/CPDC survey of restaurants and retailers on their desired uses of outdoor space, 90% of restaurants and 85% of retailers said they were making interior changes to their businesses to accommodate social distancing upon reopening. To compensate, many are looking to use outdoor spaces for shopping and dining and to facilitate pickup or delivery.

CCD/CPDC Survey Gauges Customer Views On Retail, Restaurants

A second CCD/CPDC survey was distributed via email to residents in Greater Center City to determine respondents’ purchasing patterns during the shutdown and the factors that will make them most likely to return to restaurants and shops as the reopening gains momentum.

The return to shopping and dining will be slow and gradual, influenced by how well and consistently businesses address public concerns about public health and safety, as well as the City of Philadelphia’s flexibility in encouraging the expanded use of public space on sidewalks and streets to accommodate seating and customer waiting lines. Overall, the survey findings suggest that those businesses that clearly post and follow safety protocols will be the most successful in restoring customer confidence.

Rethinking Policing

The New York Times Magazine moderates an in-depth discussion, featuring five experts from a variety of disciplines, about present-day policing and their views on changes that should be made.

The Philadelphia Inquirer examines the history of the Fraternal Order of Police and interviews current and former police department officials and local lawmakers on the union’s influence in the city and its future.

In The Philadelphia Citizen, Executive Director Larry Platt in an opinion piece offers his perspective on proposals to “defund the police” and provides suggestions for changes locally.

Office Sector News

N.Y. Architecture Firm Plans 25 Local Hires

Architectural firm Bergmann has established a new multi-disciplinary design team focused on health and safety protocols implemented because of the coronavirus, seeking to help companies reconfigure their office spaces to comply with those measures. The Rochester, N.Y.-based firm, which has offices in Center City, is planning to increase its 75-person local staff to 100 employees over the next two to three years, a company official told the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The firm’s new design team includes interior designers, architects and mechanical engineers. It also includes those specializing in environmental health and safety, clean room standards and the design of those specialized spaces.

Eds & Meds News

Drexel Releases Plan To Reopen Its Campus This Fall 

Drexel University will hold both in-person and online classes this fall as the university plans on resuming campus operations through a “hybrid approach to learning, research and student life,” President John Fry stated. Drexel’s academic year will start on September 21 with both online and in-person classes. The school also will limit how many people can be on campus, in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

The 10-week term will end December 14, but all in-person instruction will wrap up after the Thanksgiving break and students will complete the last week of the term and finals remotely. Drexel’s plan is similar to the approaches being taken by other colleges and universities in the city, including the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University.

Jeff CEO: Center City Facility Will Be 'Not Like Anything That Exists Today' 

Jefferson Health plans to expand its Center City footprint with the addition of a multimillion-dollar ambulatory care center about a block from its main hospital. CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko told the Philadelphia Business Journal that the outpatient facility will be “not like anything that exists today."

He said the goal is to provide a center where everything that isn't acute intensive care can be provided. The health system expects to provide more detailed information about its plans in September.

CHOP, IBX sign new network provider agreement

Independence Blue Cross (IBX) and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have signed a new long-term agreement. In a joint statement, the two organizations said the five-year deal "represents a shared goal" of improving community health care for children in the Philadelphia region.

As part of the new agreement, IBX and CHOP plan to look at expanding their existing value-based program beyond primary care practices. Other terms of the five-year agreement are being kept confidential.

Jazz Pharma Approved By FDA To Market Cancer Drug

The Food and Drug Administration has granted marketing approval to a cancer therapy for which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has acquired the U.S. marketing rights. The drug, called Zepzelca, was approved as a treatment for relapsed small cell lung cancer.

Jazz has its global headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and has one of its two major U.S. locations in Center City. Zepzelca, which is administered by an intravenous infusion, is expected to be commercially available next month.

Hospitality News

Local Firm Developing Travel App To Boost Businesses

Philadelphia marketing agency Octo Design is developing a travel app called Rallie, which will let users know in real-time which local businesses are open and the services they’re offering as the reopening process continues.

Rallie is being designed to enable users to select local data and itineraries for restaurants, entertainment and cultural sites depending on the services the businesses have available that day. The app could also provide the tourism and hospitality industries with data on consumer behavior and spending.

Transportation News

Jetblue Reinstating Service At Philadelphia International Airport 

JetBlue Airways said it is reinstating service at some airports that it suspended a month and a half ago, including at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). JetBlue's return is the latest in a spate of good news for the airport, which has been significantly affected by the downturn in travel caused by COVID-19.

American Airlines, the dominant carrier at PHL, said earlier this month that it would ramp up service out of the airport in July after substantially reducing flights over the last few months because of the coronavirus pandemic. That announcement came shortly after Frontier Airlines said it will launch six new routes out of PHL this year.

Amtrak Selects Team For 30th Street Station Redevelopment

An Australian firm hired by PennDOT to reconstruct a series of 548 bridges across the state has been selected by Amtrak to oversee the management and $300 million to $400 million renovation of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Renovations are expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2025.

Amtrak has retained Plenary Infrastructure to enter into a 50-year master development lease that includes a long-term ground lease for the renovation of 30th Street Station. Under the agreement, Plenary under Plenary Americas USA Ltd. and its team will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the station. The company has enlisted Gilbane Building Co., Johnson Controls Inc. and Vantage Airport Group Ltd. to be part of the team.

SEPTA Seeks Free Fares For Kids, More Time For Free Transfer

Under new revisions to SEPTA’s fare restructuring plan, children would ride free across the system, while SEPTA Key Travel Wallet users would get a longer time frame to take advantage of a free transfer. Pending approval of SEPTA’s board this week, the changes would take effect July 1.

In its original plan announced in March, SEPTA proposed reducing the fare to $1 for riders ages 5 through 11 and to offer one free transfer during its current 90-minute window. The latest adjustments would mean that children under 12 traveling with a fare-paying adult would ride free, and that the transfer window would be two hours. Currently, children are charged a full $2.50 cash fare and transfers are $1 with a SEPTA Key.

SEPTA also intends to introduce new three-day passes in the fall, giving flexibility to workers outside the standard 9-to-5 schedule. The passes are likely to find newfound importance amid new teleworking policies for office workers.

Under New Contract, Indego Bike Share Will Expand

The City of Philadelphia is turning over maintenance and expansion of the popular Indego bike share system to privately owned Bicycle Transit Systems, based in Philadelphia. The contract is expected to start in January, with more bicycle docking stations appearing in the middle of next year.

Community input will help determine locations of new stations. Indego, sponsored by Independence Blue Cross, launched in 2015 and now has about 1,400 bikes. It will expand to at least 3,500 bikes over the next three to four years.

Bottom of Form

Economic News

Philadelphia Fed Survey Data Suggests Signs Of Stabilization

Nearly 54% of firms responding to a new weekly survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported decreases of more than 5% in new orders or sales for the week ending June 14 (down from 61% one week earlier), while 16% reported increases of more than 5% (up from 10%). More than 26% reported changes between -5% and 5% (up slightly).

A larger share of manufacturers reported overall decreases relative to non-manufacturers, while a larger share of non-manufacturers reported little to no changes. Nearly 4% of the firms reported a temporary shutdown for the same week (unchanged from the previous week); none reported a permanent shutdown.

Development News

PES Refinery Sale Expected To Close This Week

A sale of the shuttered Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery site to a Chicago-based real estate developer is expected to close this week for $27.5 million less than planned, the bankrupt refiner said in a court filing. Hilco Redevelopment Partners won an auction in January to buy the 1,300-acre South Philadelphia refinery for $252 million, with plans to transform it into a mixed-use industrial park that could create 18,000 jobs in 10 years.

Hilco, citing economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and higher-than-expected environmental costs tied to cleaning up PES land, asked to amend the agreement and delay the sale earlier this month. PES agreed to lower the price contingent partly on Hilco finalizing the deal by June 26. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware must sign off on the amended sale agreement.

CCD News

CCD Unveils New Banners Created By 8 Local Artists

CCD teamed up with a group of local artists to create a major display of new banners, currently being installed across Center City, to coincide with the partial reopening of businesses and the gradual return of workers and visitors to the downtown. The talented women who designed these original works of art are Dora Cuenca, Molly Egan, Nilé Livingston, Karina Puente, Angela Rio, Miriam Singer, Gerri Spilka and Gina Triplett. 

In all, nearly 200 vibrant banners are lining highly visible stretches of the central business district including Market, Chestnut and Walnut streets, west of Broad Street; East Market Street; the Washington Square area; Midtown Village (13th Street), Avenue of the Arts (South Broad Street); John F. Kennedy Boulevard; and around the perimeter of City Hall. The designs were reviewed and approved by the city’s Art Commission.

The new banners not only signal the reopening of the city, but the expected return of arts, cultural and civic events in the near future. To help support that, the CCD is offering at no additional cost extended banner installations, beyond the typical four-week run, as well as free spots for banner clients on some Dilworth Park concourse digital screens. For more information, contact JoAnn Loviglio at

Air Grille At Dilworth Park Now Open Daily

The Air Grille at Dilworth Park is now open for the season. Stop by the new location adjacent to City Hall. Our partners at Brulee Catering are serving sandwiches, salads and more, every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Capriccio Café Now Open Daily

Capriccio Café at Cret Park is now open for the season. Stop by our location at 16th and the Parkway for your morning coffee, fresh-made sandwiches and salads, as well as cocktails in the evening, daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.