PhillyDeals: French Building Firm Chooses Malvern For New U.S. HQ

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

John Crowe is the top North American executive for Saint-Gobain, the $55 billion- a-year French construction- materials maker that traces its roots to the group that built Versailles for King Louis XIV. Crowe has been looking for a place to build another palace – in Pennsylvania – as Saint-Gobain’s U.S. base and showroom.

To replace the company’s aging U.S. headquarters near Valley Forge, Crowe scouted sites for “an absolutely spectacular building that will incorporate all aspects of what we know as a building-materials company in terms of energy efficiency and a sustainable, open, collaborative workplace,” he tells me. Plus, a research and development center to replace the old labs in Blue Bell.

The search, extended by the recession, took Saint- Gobain six years. The company plans to announce this week that it has picked a potentially spectacular fixer-upper, an $80 million-plus expansion of the once-innovative but now-rusted and vacant complex built in 1969 by the former National Liberty Life Insurance Co. on 65 acres north of Malvern, close to the new State Route 29 ramp from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140413_PhillyDeals__French_building_firm_chooses_Malvern_for_new_U_S__HQ.html#2pYscMdh5kLGVKze.99

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Philadelphia’s Future In The Numbers

English: View of Philadelphia City Hall from t...

English: View of Philadelphia City Hall from the corner of Broad and Walnut Streets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of all the numbers that tell the story of Philadelphia today, one stands out as an unambiguous expression of confidence in the city’s future.

Last year, developers received building permits for 2,815 units of new residential housing, the most approved in a decade. Those units are worth an estimated $465 million, the highest annual amount on record.

Investors appear to be betting that Philadelphia’s population, which rose for the seventh straight year in 2013 to 1,553,165, will keep growing and that many of the new residents, young and old, will be looking for new homes and apartments.

There is some demographic evidence to support this expectation. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid growth in its population of young adults, many of them well-educated and upwardly mobile. In addition, an increasing number of aging baby boomers are leaving the suburbs and moving into the city. And the middle-class population appears to have stabilized after decades of decline.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140406_Philadelphia_s_future.html#Ukhw32j52iwf8tzl.99

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Fulton Bank Starting Temporary Fill-In Of East King Expansion Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Fulton Bank is facing another delay to its East King Street expansion project and temporary fill-in of the site.

This time, Mother Nature is the culprit.

“We’re behind due to the extreme weather” this winter, said bank spokesman Laura Wakeley on Tuesday.

In its previous timetable, Fulton planned to start filling in the 23 E. King St. site in January.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/fulton-bank-starting-temporary-fill-in-of-east-king-expansion/article_ca61c3f4-b9db-11e3-80de-0017a43b2370.html

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Bailey Park Development Takes Shape On Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bailey Park is so new, it had to be given a name.

“There is no sub-neighborhood here,” developer and architect Justin Cipriani says of the new one he is working on. “So that’s why we came up with Bailey Park.”

He is talking about a community of 11 homes and an apartment building on the fringe of Grandview Park right where Bailey Avenue and Beltzhoover Avenue meet.

He wants the area to be its own neighborhood so much that he is building a loop street around two of the homes and behind the other nine.

The street will meet city standards so all municipally provided functions — such as garbage collection and snow removal — can take place there.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/realestate/5766786-74/park-says-homes#ixzz2xYrCLBwA
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Changing Skyline: Parking Garages Threaten To Wall Off Schuylkill’s East Bank

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia spent the last decade working out a single, knotty planning problem: How should the old industrial spaces on the Delaware waterfront evolve? The consensus was that vacant land would be developed to resemble the rest of the city, with walkable streets, a mix of uses, and lively ground floors. No one was naive enough to think such projects could be realized without parking garages, but the expectation was that the structures would not dominate the river.

It’s a shame the conversation was never extended to the city’s other riverfront, the Schuylkill, which has come alive since a trail park pushed into Center City.

Like the Delaware, the Schuylkill is dotted with tracts of empty land crying out for housing, offices, and retail. But while little new has been built on the city’s big river – save for the suburban-style SugarHouse Casino – the Schuylkill is now sizzling with likely projects.

Predictably, each of the three proposals would front the river with a large, unsightly garage. They range from One Riverside’s modest, one-story garage at Locust Street to NP International’s multilevel, mega-development at Cherry Street. If built as designed, they would turn the bustling Schuylkill waterfront into Philadelphia’s own Great Wall of Parking.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20140328_Changing_Skyline__Parking_garages_threaten_to_wall_off_Schuylkill_s_east_bank.html#FYw7GIe2AssxRvpe.99

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Allentown Planners Warm To Cottage Houses Proposed At Former Montex Plant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

A developer proposing a community of cottage-style houses at the former Montex Textiles plant in Allentown hopes to start working on the homes by the summer.

The 52-home complex, first proposed last year, emphasizes shared community green spaces and pedestrian-friendly streets to encourage a “front-porch culture” among neighbors.

The Allentown Planning Commission reviewed the sketch plan for the Sixth and Cumberland streets project today, and although a final vote will be held in the future, the early feedback was generally favorable.

“I think it’s a refreshing approach,” commission Chairman Oldrich Foucek said of the project, which is called Trout Creek Cottages.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/03/allentown_planners_warm_to_cot.html

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Wilkes University Buys Bartikowsky Building

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Fresh off a $33 million science center construction project on its campus, Wilkes University announced plans Wednesday for a central location for its school of business.

But it will spend less than one-tenth what it did for its last building project.

The university announced it would spend $3 million to renovate the University Center on Main, at 169 S. Main St., transforming it into the new home of the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership. The recreation center and Gambini’s Cafe will remain in the building. The school of business will use 35,000 square feet of the 82,000-square-foot building.

In addition, Wilkes University has purchased the former Bartikowsky Jewelers building at 141 S. Main St. for $1.2 million from the Bartikowsky family with the goal of renovating the 25,000-square-foot space to accommodate administrative offices and a student services center, which includes the registrar and financial aid offices, human resources and accounting offices.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1236395/Wilkes-University-buys-Bartikowsky-building

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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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How Does LDS Church Finance A $70M Temple?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Along the two blocks of North 17th Street on either side of the Vine Street Expressway in Center City, remarkably different financial trajectories of two religious groups are playing out.

At the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, south of Vine, church leaders are turning property accumulated over generations – such as cemeteries – into cash in a bid to fill huge financial gaps.

About a block north, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans this week to build a meetinghouse and a 32-story residential tower next door to its $70 million temple, already under construction. The apartment tower alone could cost $75 million to $90 million, a real estate expert said.

Where do the Mormons get the money?

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140214_Two_churches__different_financial_trajectories.html#rE4QE48B2I9s6zuS.99

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Mormons To Build 32-Story Tower Near Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The Mormon Church plans to build a 32-story apartment tower and a public meetinghouse on a vacant lot next to the Vine Street Expressway, filling in a key piece of the no-man’s-land that has long separated Center City and North Philadelphia’s rebounding neighborhoods.

The private development by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls for 258 apartments, 13 townhouses, and retail shops at 16th and Vine Streets.

The meetinghouse will have a chapel, courtyard, multipurpose space, and a center to research genealogy, said Michael Marcheschi, senior real estate manager for the church’s national special projects department.

The development, announced Wednesday by Mayor Nutter and church officials, will stand next to the Mormon temple under construction on Vine Street and set for completion in 2016.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140213_Mormons_to_build_32-story_tower_in_Center_City.html#xda8G1b8kTLrO4VA.99

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Luzerne County Site Proposed For 1,000-Plus Homes Sold

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

A developer has purchased 1,623 acres in three municipalities that had been proposed as a site for more than 1,000 new homes.

The new developer — Deep Woods Lake LLC — plans to proceed with plans to construct around 1,042 homes on the land in Dennison, Butler and Foster townships, Wilkes-Barre Attorney Bruce Phillips said Friday.

Phillips’ firm — Wetzel Caverly Shea Phillips & Rodgers — is representing Deep Woods and also has represented the seller, Crystal Penn Ridge LLP, as it attempted to obtain development approval for the project, he said.

“I know the new owner wants to continue these plans, but I don’t know the timetable,” Phillips said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1179845/Site-proposed-for-1000-plus-homes-sold

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East King Street Building To Fall For New Building To Rise

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

The three story building at 26 E. King St. in downtown Lancaster has been a furniture store, a bank, and a drug store.

But in recent years, it has been empty and it has been neglected.

And, in the near future, it could be replaced.

On Thursday, members of the Lancaster city Historical Commission voted to recommend approval of plans to demolish the existing building and construct a new three story building in its place.

Read more: http://www.lancasteronline.com/business/east-king-street-building-to-fall-for-new-building-to/article_5fbf78ea-84a5-11e3-8553-001a4bcf6878.html

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Construction Of Apartments Underway In Live/Work Worthington neighborhood

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

It’s taken a little time, but Keystone Custom Homes’ Worthington at Township Square neighborhood is quickly taking shape, with its residential and commercial/retail areas complementing each other.

There’s a lot going on in the community, including a new model home and work on the apartment phase of the subdivision, said Janette Hawkins, vice president of marketing and information technology at Keystone.

The Manheim Township smart-growth development will feature 259 houses — 196 singles, 33 duplexes and 30 townhomes — along with rentals above the commercial space.

The model house is a 3,197-square-foot Manchester with traditional elevation, including a wraparound front porch, a stone front and three reverse gables with pent roofs.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/937185_Construction-of-apartments-underway-in-live-work-Worthington-neighborhood.html#ixzz2oqzkUxdL

47-Story Hotel/Condo Building Set For South Broad Street

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The developer Carl E. Dranoff is partnering with Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment Group to build a 47-story, mixed-use luxury boutique hotel and condominium tower at Broad and Spruce Streets, across from the Kimmel Center, for more than $200 million.

The 422,838-square-foot SLS International, which Dranoff said would be Pennsylvania’s “tallest structure built for residential use,” is being designed by New York-based architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, whose chairman, A. Eugene Kohn, is a Philadelphia native.

The tower will rise 562 feet – 14 feet higher than the City Hall tower. Construction is expected to start next fall and take two years.

Dranoff said approvals for the project were at “the 3-yard line,” with Councilman Mark Squilla set to introduce legislation in City Council to extend the zoning designation CMX-5, which allows a higher building floor area in relation to the lot, past Spruce Street to Pine Street.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20131217_47-story_hotel_condo_building_set_for_South_Broad.html#IlL8VeqUSgPMoCJT.99

Groundbreaking Set For Reading Hotel And Convention Center

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Albert R. Boscov was excitedly making and receiving countless phone calls in his Exeter Township office Monday after getting word that the last of the financing for a downtown hotel and convention center was finally in place.

He immediately began making plans to break ground Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the 700 block of Penn Street across from the Santander Arena.

“It’s been a long wait but we got it,” Boscov said.

The renowned retailer has been working on the block-long, four-star hotel, which will cost at least $56 million, since 2007.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131217/NEWS/312169896/1052#.UrDeuPRDsxI

Construction Of Philly’s Mormon Temple Without Caffeine, Smoking, Swearing

It’s been two years since ground was broken in Center City on a massive Mormon temple and visitors’ center, and it might just be one of the more remarkable construction sites in recent city history.

Let’s just say the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS) goes by its own rules — not those typically found in local union handbooks. And it makes sure those rules are enforced.

No smoking. No coffee. No swearing.

Praying optional — but encouraged.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Construction_of_Phillys_Mormon_Temple_without_caffeine_smoking_swearing.html#BeIx151RoqqI1YFX.99

Changing Skyline: For A West Schuylkill Site, Time To Bridge Its Moat

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)

Editor’s note:  There are some really exciting projects going on in Philadelphia as of late.

To hear the champions of Philadelphia’s university district tell it, the west bank of the Schuylkill is poised to give Center City’s skyline a run for its money.

Last week, Brandywine Realty Trust announced plans for its third riverfront skyscraper, a sharply faceted, 47-story office-and-apartment tower at 30th and Walnut Streets. West Philadelphia office space now commands higher rents than the aging behemoths in the city’s legacy downtown. Such is the clamor to live close to the big campuses that at least five residential high-rises are in the works.

It’s nice to see the city’s skyline stretching west. But a clutch of shimmering skyscrapers do not a neighborhood make.

Overlooked in all the hoopla over Brandywine’s latest project, FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, are the conditions on the ground. The site is cut off from the Schuylkill waterfront by a large, triangular moat, which looks down on the train tracks that feed into 30th Street Station and is one of several barriers that make walking there an unpleasant, and often hair-raising, experience.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20131108_Changing_Skyline__For_a_West_Schuylkill__time_to_bridge_its_moat.html#4677tKeG0ScuYbfb.99

Brandywine To Build 47-Story FMC Tower In University City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

FMC Corp. has agreed to move its headquarters from 1745 Market St. in Center City into the new tower that Brandywine Realty Trust has been trying to build, NE corner of 30th and Walnut Sts. in University City, for the past 5 years. The $341 million FMC Tower will rise 47 stories — 650 feet — and include 575,000 sq ft of offices, 10,000 sq ft of retail — plus 260 apartments. Adjoins a 2,000-space parking garage built by Brandywine that also serves IRS workers at Brandywine’s former 30th St post office nearby.

FMC will move its headquarters staff — currently 546 bosses and workers — to the new tower by June 2016, spokesman Jim Fitzwater told me. FMC will lease 253,000 sq ft for 16 years; the University of Pennsylvania will rent another 100,000 sq ft on four floors for 20 years.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Brandywine-to-build-47-story-West-Philly-tower-FMC-a-tenant.html#w8IKD7yI7Ry0uc0p.99

Prospect Of Jobs Draws Thousands To Camden Site

Map of New Jersey highlighting Camden County

Map of New Jersey highlighting Camden County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The news that a company coming to Camden would be accepting applications for as many as 1,000 positions brought double that number of people to a job fair whose organizers combined it with a political rally Monday afternoon.

Amir Khan, a Camden mayoral candidate, hosted the ribbon-cutting for Acts Industries L.L.C., a maker of modular temporary housing units that is leasing a former factory building at East State Street and River Avenue.

Khan, who said he has no financial stake in the company, said he was a friend of Acts owner Irv Richter, who is also chairman and chief executive of the Evesham-based construction management company Hill International.

Khan, who last year failed in a bid to open a charter school catering to suburban children, said he persuaded the businessman to locate Acts, a subsidiary of AlphaGen International, in Camden instead of Mississippi.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131015_Prospect_of_jobs_draws_thousands_to_Camden_site.html#rzHGfjxPUWvGmlOb.99

Large Logan Square Project Approved

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

PHILADELPHIA - Development in the fast-changing area around Logan Square will pick up momentum after Wednesday’s final zoning approval of a $140 million project featuring a new Whole Foods market and 293 high-end apartments.

Rodin Square, named after developer Neal Rodin, is coincidentally located a block north of the Rodin Museum. It will replace the current Best Western hotel.

The project will take up almost all of the block between 21st and 22d Streets to the east and west, Spring Garden Street to the north, and Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street to the south.

Rodin, chairman of International Financial Co. L.L.C., said he expected to break ground in January or February. Construction could take two years, he added.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131010_Massive_Logan_Square_rental-commercial_project_approved.html#7Vpr12Bz3dkhmWXb.99