Adam Flatt’s mother, Elaine Pivinski, opened the Lehigh Valley’s first winery in 1981.
Flatt is now on target to open the region’s first distillery next month.
Flatt, who co-owns Franklin Hill Vineyards in Lower Mount Bethel Township with his mother, is just weeks away from opening Social Still distillery in Bethlehem.
“It’s cool we have that pioneering tradition continuing,” he said.
Social Still is on target to have a soft opening the first week of December, Flatt said last week during a tour of the new operation. Work on the building is about 80 percent complete and the company is planning its first batch of vodka and gin later this week, Flatt said.
Held hostage for a year by hope that they might snag a casino license, two pieces of prime central Philadelphia real estate lost that gamble this week – but may yet cash in, as all eyes await Plan B for both locations in a hot downtown market.
Developers who had proposed casinos at Eighth and Market Streets and the former Inquirer Building at Broad and Callowhill Streets said they had no alternate plans after learning Tuesday that the city’s second gaming license would instead go to a site near the sports arenas in South Philadelphia.
But with new apartment and retail development deals being inked virtually every week in and around Center City without public subsidy, it should not be long before new plans are hatched for both, as long as property owners agree to quick action, officials and market watchers said.
One top city official said market conditions were so favorable to development that the Nutter administration would have little patience if movement were not swift at one of the locations, which has remained inert for two decades as repeated plans have fizzled: the open-air lot at Eighth and Market owned by Ken Goldenberg and other investors.
To update the crop of projected restaurant openings over the next eight weeks or so:
Mere hours old is The Crazy Sofa, a sushi/small plater, next to the Regal theater in Newtown Square (the former Roux 3).
Any day now, Collingswood will see the debut of Local Market and Cafe (714 Haddon Ave.), which will sell foods to go or eat-in and will have a coffee bar, deli, butcher, bakery and grocery sections.
Friday, Nov. 21 is day one for Latin Flavor, a Caribbean cafeteria at 627 South St.
Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership expects more than 400,000 people to jam Downtown on Friday night as Light Up Night coincides with a Penguins game, WPIAL championships at Heinz Field and a crowded Petersen Events Center in Oakland likely triggering traffic headaches and a parking shortage.
The Andy Warhol Bridge will close at 9 a.m.; the Roberto Clemente Bridge will close at 10 a.m., both remaining closed until midnight. A host of roads Downtown will close in the afternoon.
“With Light Up Night, we encourage people to use public transportation. People can look at parking on the North Shore and taking T,” said Leigh White, vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
“There’s a lot of different, good options like parking at Station Square. People can come in early and have dinner, and it’s a great day to take in other things around town.”
A wave of gun violence around the city and the possibility of unrest here stemming from events in Ferguson, Mo., have Pittsburgh police ramping up staffing and training in time for Light Up Night on Friday, when hundreds of thousands of people will converge on Downtown.
Pittsburgh police acting Chief Cameron McLay said Wednesday he plans to put patrol officers on 12-hour shifts to handle whatever arises in the next two weeks. He noted the recent escalation in deadly shootings in city neighborhoods and the impending announcement of whether a police officer will be indicted in the shooting death of an unarmed black man in Missouri.
“Quite frankly, it’s an opportunity to get my officers out and more engaged with the public,” McLay said at a news conference at police headquarters in the North Side. “To me, there are no wasted resources when I’m calling extra bodies in early. If everything is going well, it’s a great chance for my officers to celebrate with the community.”
Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability, said she spoke with McLay by phone Wednesday about the potential for a local response to a grand jury decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson.
Downtown Bethlehem? There’s an app for that.
The Downtown Bethlehem Association on Wednesday debuted its new app that puts information about local attractions, restaurants, stores, hotels, parking and events all in one place.
“It’s a way for allow people to find things in Bethlehem all in one place – on their smartphone,” said DBA President Neville Gardner, who owns Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar at Main and West Walnut streets. “Bethlehem may be a historic town, but we’re definitely in the next millennium.”
The association has been working to develop the app for more than two years, Gardner said. Smartphones are increasingly being used in making plans, officials noted.
Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based retail giant that owns 200-plus shopping malls nationwide, is sacrificing more than 400 parking spaces at its King of Prussia Plaza and Court to make room for at least 50 new stores and restaurants that it hopes will draw more wealthy shoppers to the region’s biggest retail complex.
At extra-large shopping centers such as King of Prussia, at least, “the mall business is good, contrary to some of the naysayers,” David Contis, president of Simon Malls and a corporate senior vice president, told me Monday.
His company bought out other investors to take control of the King of Prussia mall in 2011, in deals that valued the complex at over $1 billion.
Contis said he expected to attract luxury stores from outside the region and “the best of the Philadelphia eateries” to the new space, rather than shifting current tenants there.
Developer J.B. Reilly has been building apartments for 25 years, but he’s never seen demand like he’s seeing now for his high-end apartments in Center City Allentown.
His company, City Center Lehigh Valley, announced Sept. 8 it was accepting deposits for 170 apartments in the under-construction Strata Luxury Flats at Four City Center. Two months later, almost half have deposits on them.
“I’ve been in the apartment development business my whole career and we’ve never experienced this kind of demand – even close to this kind of demand,” Reilly said Friday.
The interest in the apartments is tied to the new attention on Allentown’s downtown, Reilly said. In recent months, new restaurants, office space and a minor league hockey arena have opened, with Reilly leading much of the development.
WEST NORRITON TOWNSHIP, PA – Gangster vegan?
Like “jumbo shrimp”, the two words are contradictory and seemingly incompatible,
After all, vegans are peace-loving, sandal-wearing hippie types, and gangsters are hoodlums who are prone to violence, so the two breeds have no business ever hooking up in any sensible world.
Welcome to Vince DePaul’s world.
The Norristown native admitted he set out to bedevil the traditional vegan stereotype by naming his specialty raw food market in Jeffersonville Gangster Vegan Organics. But playing around with incongruities is only a small part of DePaul’s story.
Until a few years ago, Ash Khalil ate meat.
Learning the health benefits of a nutrient-rich diet made of mostly plant-based foods inspired him to open the iCreate Cafe in Pottstown in 2012.
Those who visit the cafe often describe it to others as a mix of vegan, vegetarian and in some cases gluten-free menu musts, with strong Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences in many of the dishes.
Khalil is an eight-year survivor of kidney cancer and said not once did his doctors ever talk to him about the foods he ate and how they might have impacted his health situation.
Leaky roofs and outdated structures are one big reason why about 20 percent of downtown Greensburg storefronts are vacant, despite businesses clamoring to move in, according to the Greensburg Community Development Corp.
The nonprofit plans to purchase four of the dilapidated buildings within the next year, and pursue private and public grants to fix them up and resell them to private owners, said Steven Gifford, its executive director.
Downtown real estate is in demand, with more businesses wanting to move into storefronts than there is space available, according to Gifford. Despite this, about one-fifth of the city’s 138 storefronts remain vacant, often because they are too run down or unsafe to occupy.
The development corporation has identified seven buildings with leaking roofs, and another five that cannot be occupied because of building code deficiencies, such as missing sprinkler systems and staircases.
Next May or so, Matt Keasey will be able to take his foot off the proverbial brake.
That’s when Keasey will no longer need to ration how much of his Spring House Brewing beer he sells to his wholesale distributors.
By then, Spring House Brewing’s new city brewery and brew pub will be operational, replacing a smaller brewery in Conestoga.
“It’s difficult,” said Keasey, the founder, brewmaster and co-owner.
The Belgium-based owner of Bottom Dollar Food stores plans to close its 66 store locations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets and sell the assets to discount food competitor Aldi Inc. for about $15 million.
Aldi said the purchase is part of an expansion plan that will add 650 stores nationwide by the end of 2018.
Delhaize Group of Brussels said all stores are expected to remain open as Bottom Dollar Food stores until yearend. After that, banner will be retired. The sale of stores and leases to Aldi is expected to be completed by March 31.
Whole Foods Market is on its way to Lancaster County.
But shoppers who have been waiting a long time to read a sentence like that could have to wait three more years before they actually walk through the doors of the natural and organic food grocer.
Whole Foods Market announced Thursday that it has signed a lease for a 40,000-square-foot store in the Shoppes at Belmont, a mixed-use development planned at the corner of Fruitville Pike and Route 30.
“The people in and around Lancaster have been asking for a Whole Foods Market for some time now — and we’re excited to make it a reality,” Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic regional president, said in a press release.
Responsible hospitality. The night-time economy. A “sociable city” plan.
They’re buzzwords for a basic concept.
Nightlife, and the neighborhoods in which it happens, are resources that need to be planned and managed, from transportation and parking to permitting and policing. And that involves comprehensive coordination between community business owners, an array of city agencies and institutions like universities.
“Like our transit planning, like how we manage special events, these economies will benefit from planning and management,” said Maya Henry, the city’s new night-time economy manager, a $65,249-a-year position created by Mayor Bill Peduto to coordinate those efforts. “My job is to bring the lens of the night-time economy to all of those places that already exist in city planning.”
Way back in the 1990s, I started going to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
Every March, I’d go back to find not only that the festival had gotten bigger and bigger – too big, it became clear this year, when four people were killed by a runaway drunken driver – but also that the city was mushrooming along with it.
In Austin, the livability factor is high – warm temperatures, live music, BBQ – and the stream of transplants so steady it doesn’t take long for new residents to start moaning about how everything was better before people who arrived after them came to town.
Which brings me to the latest indicator that everybody has figured out Philadelphia is a cool place to live. It’s the modeled-after-SXSW Forbes Under 30 Summit, the money magazine’s inaugural gathering of boldface billionaires and tech titans (and upstart entrepreneurs who wish to emulate them) that will take place in its planned-to-be permanent home from today until Wednesday.