Drexel, Amtrak, Brandywine Weigh Giant Development Plans

English: 30th Street Station In Philadelphia. ...

English: 30th Street Station In Philadelphia. Roughly speaking, the center of commuting in Philly, the former center of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Philly’s main Amtrak station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Officials at Drexel University, Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust and other city and West Philly institutions have been sitting down with developers in recent days to review proposals to build over the tracks at 30th Street Station and link the grandiose proposed Drexel Innovation Neighborhood and its high-rise, Rockefeller Center-like “Superblock” at 33rd and Market — whose 6.5 milllion sq ft, by itself, would be more than four times larger than the proposed new Comcast office tower — and other new Drexel-area construction to Center City, highways, the airport, Penn, and, you know, the rest of the world.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Drexel-Amtrak-Brandywine-weighing-giant-West-Philly-redevelopment.html#cKEU5LqSCK8zdcLb.99

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Comcast Could Buy Time Warner N.Y. Cable Franchises

Logo of Comcast Latina: Insigne Comcast

Logo of Comcast Latina: Insigne Comcast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Comcast Corp. could acquire Time Warner Cable Co.’s New York cable-TV properties, along with other franchises on the East Coast, in a deal with Charter Communications Inc., according to sources in the industry.

A deal would expand Comcast’s market power along the I-95 corridor between Boston and Washington.

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable-TV company, already offers cable and Internet in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

Charter declined to comment Monday. Comcast also had no comment.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140128_Industry_sources__Comcast_could_acquire_Time_Warner_Cable_N_Y__franchises.html#HAyimeAaYY2LBdix.99

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Comcast Wants To Be Your One And Only Cable Provider

English: Comcast Tower, tallest building in Ph...

English: Comcast Tower, tallest building in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) – America’s largest pay-TV operator wants to be your one and only and it’s willing to absorb the second-largest to do so.

Citing sources, Reuters reports Comcast Corp  is weighing up a potential full takeover bid for Time Warner Cable , an acquisition which would create an industry behemoth.

A full takeover is but one of three potential scenarios in consideration. The Philadelphia-based broadcasting giant is also determining whether to partner with an additional cable company to take over Time Warner or, in a less aggressive move, whether to simply pick and choose certain Time Warner Cable markets.

Time Warner Cable has been the subject of many takeover rumors of late and the latest puts a rumored offer from Charter Communications  in jeopardy. Last week, Bloomberg reported the fourth-largest cable provider was preparing its own bid for Time Warner Cable and was seeking as much as $25 billion in loans to do so. Time Warner Cable is significantly larger than the Stamford, Conn.-based business, with a market share of $37.9 billion dwarfing Charter’s $13 billion.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/comcast-wants-to-be-your-one-and-only-cable-provider/12157503

Buzz Builds On Another Comcast Tower

English: Comcast Tower, tallest building in Ph...

English: Comcast Tower, tallest building in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Comcast Corp., which runs its growing media empire from Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper, is considering building at least one new tower in Center City and is working with the prominent British architect Norman Foster, according to sources in the city’s real estate community.

Details about Comcast’s expansion plans are being kept under tight wraps, but the company appears to be focusing on constructing the first of several towers on a long, skinny, 1.5-acre site at 18th and Arch Streets, a block west of the Comcast Center. That building could eventually be part of a vertical campus including towers at 19th Street and Arch, and 18th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

All three sites are controlled by Liberty Property Trust, which completed Comcast’s sleek, 975-foot headquarters just six years ago.

Since then, Comcast has grown enormously.  With its acquisition of NBCUniversal and its move into new digital products, Comcast has filled virtually all 1.2 million square feet in its glass obelisk and needs more office space for its expanding workforce.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130913_Buzz_builds_on_another_Comcast_tower.html#gAFItxjofzd2oxPB.99

Penn President Gutmann’s Pay Tops $2 Million

English: Author: Stuart Watson

English: Author: Stuart Watson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The University of Pennsylvania sharply increased the compensation package for its president, Amy Gutmann, from $1.46 million in 2010-11 to more than $2 million in 2011-12 – a pay boost of 43 percent, according to the university’s latest tax filing.

David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast and chairman of Penn’s board of trustees, said in a statement that Gutmann’s compensation “is very much performance driven, and speaks to the extraordinary success that she has had in recent years.”

Cohen said the trustees “feel that we have the best university president in the country in Amy Gutmann and we believe her compensation should reflect that reality.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130831_Penn_president_Gutmann_s_pay_tops__2_million.html#r8Dc31lcog2pkSVw.99

Comcast Plans To Hike Rates, Start Charging For Adapters

Comcast Building new

Comcast Building new (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the spring of 2010, Comcast Cable required Lancaster and Elizabethtown subscribers of the “expanded basic package” (channels 25-78) to get digital TV adapters, and the first two adapters were free.

The cable provider, however, never said the adapters were free forever and, effective March 1, Comcast will charge Lancaster-area subscribers $1.99 per digital television adapter or digital transport adapter.

The price remains unchanged for “limited basic” (channels; 2-7, 9-13, 20-24 and 96) customers, who can get up to three adapters at no additional cost. The DTA price is unchanged.

The company previously charged subscribers $1.99 a month for each adapter beyond two.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/809857_Comcast-plans-to-hike-rates–start-charging-for-adapters.html#ixzz2Jf6eUFDP

More Copper Thefts Reported In The Midstate

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Copper remains a tempting target among thieves in the midstate.

Today state police in Lykens reported the theft of an unknown amount of copper from the Lykens Borough Pump Station at Pottsville and Market streets in Wiconisco Township. Police said the theft occurred overnight Sunday July 22 into Monday July 23. Brass items were also taken.

Police in North Middleton Township last week reported that more than $3,000 worth of copper was taken from a Comcast storage building on Newville Road. That case remains unsolved, township police said.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/07/more_copper_thefts_reported_in.html

Pottstown Borough Budget Meeting

Today, November 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm, Pottstown Borough Council and borough staff discussed the proposed 2011 borough budget.

I must commend Jason, Janice, Councilor Weand, the Finance Committee and our borough staff for the effort they put into finding ways to cut costs and maintain services.  I do not think it is possible to ask Jason a question he can not answer.  Janice Lee has more than earned her salary by walking into the abyss aka borough finances and taking the bull by the horns!  So much has been accomplished to get our financial house in order.  As I said in an earlier post, accounting is boring to write about however, the changes implemented by Jason, Janice and Finance will pay huge dividends down the road.  We now have a clearer financial picture than ever before.  Frankly, things are not all that bleak now that Generally Accepted Accounting Principals have been returned to borough hall.

Council asked some tough questions of Jason, Janice and the department heads.  I was impressed with how well the questions were answered and the manner with which our borough staff handled themselves.

The bottom line is that council unanimously approved the 2011 budget with a 3.1% tax increase.  The increase equates to $25.66 per year on a home assessed at $85,000.  We have a $177,000 deficit that unfortunately makes this necessary.  The increase can go down if more spending cuts are found or unexpected revenue comes in before the end of the year.  However, the increase can not go any higher than 3.1%.  The projected property tax collection rate is 92% for 2010.

Getting to a zero tax increase would mean selling a park, laying off Parks and Recreation staff, cutting programs or messing with the paid driver’s health benefits in the Fire Department.  Our parks are a big plus for existing borough residents and attracting new residents.  We can barely maintain our parks system with the staff we have and cutting programs affects the quality of life for our residents.  Fire Department drivers can not afford to pay their health benefits at their current salary levels.  It is not their fault costs are skyrocketing.

The assessed value of all Pottstown real estate came in a million dollars higher than projected which also helped the process.  The rate of decline in assessed property value seems to be leveling off and council is hopeful that this trend may reverse itself as some development projects in the pipeline are completed.  Unfortunately, the assessed property value of Pottstown still declined $1.9 million dollars from last year.  This brings in less tax revenue. 

PCTV has agreed to reduce their management fee to $331,000.  The borough can ill afford to absorb their $147,000 revenue shortfall so going forward they need to break even.  PCTV has lost revenue because of the recession and now when FIOS comes to Pottstown, Verizon will not allow PCTV to be a for-profit community access channel.  PCTV could potentially lose 25% of their viewers as residents switch from Comcast to Verizon.  Council will be scrutinizing PCTV very closely in 2011.  PCTV is trying to get grant money, however, until such time as a grant is received, they will still continue to struggle.