No Holiday Cheer At The Philadelphia Gallery

MOHAMMAD HOSSAIN has sold jewelry from his Gold Center kiosk in the Gallery mall on East Market Street for 10 years, and yesterday he wore a weary expression.

Despite the holiday season, Hossain and other merchants weren’t feeling cheerful. PREIT, the owner of the Gallery, has told them to vacate by either Dec. 31 or Jan. 31.

PREIT has plans to redevelop the Gallery, which means the stores and kiosks will be moved out for at least a year.

George Thomas, who has operated a jewelry kiosk there for 20 years, said merchants are angry.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141214_No_holiday_cheer_at_the_Gallery.html#4y8Ur2uzxQh6rLqw.99

Casino Also-Rans Leave Big Question Marks In City’s Landscape

The Philadelphia Inquirer-Daily News Building ...

The Philadelphia Inquirer-Daily News Building in Philadelphia, PA. Taken from North Broad and Callowhill Streets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141122_Casino_also-rans_leave_big_question_marks_in_city_s_landscape.html#FiqqgVTmwOSW0RAU.99

Update: Philadelphia Area Restaurant Openings

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.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Update-Restaurant-openings.html#kJeUoftlBK7KtdFG.99

Killings, Shootings, Crashes Mark Violent Weekend In Philadelphia Area

The weekend in the Philadelphia region was marked by a series of violent incidents, including shootings and car crashes that have left at least eight people dead since Friday night.

The deaths include two fatal shootings in Camden and three in Philadelphia, as well as two deadly traffic accidents in South Jersey and one in Bensalem.

Other violent incidents also added to the weekend mayhem, including the shooting of a Temple University student, two double shootings and a robber who threatened to give his victim AIDS.

In Camden, authorities are investigating two deadly shootings that occurred hours apart Sunday morning.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Killings_shootings_crashes_mark_violent_weekend_in_Philadelphia_area.html#0hUiZaOfGhfvm0Iv.99

Art Commission Gives Conceptual OK To Glass Tower At 5th And Walnut

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Architect Cecil Baker and developer Tom Scannapieco went before the Philadelphia Art Commission Wednesday with their concepts for creating a 26-story residential tower at 5th and Walnut streets. They were granted conceptual approval with a few caveats, including asking the applicants to bring corrected project renderings, more detailed streetscape plans, and examples of exterior construction materials when they return to the Art Commission for final approval later this year.

The “ultra-high-end” glass tower will include 40 residential units, with two units each of about 4,000 square feet on floors five through 13, and one 8,000- to 9,000-square-foot unit on floors 14 through 26. The developers are “going after a very small, very rich segment of the population,” said Cecil Baker. There will also be a yet-to-be determined ground-floor retail component at the corner of 5th and Walnut. The building will not include a restaurant but will have a fully automated parking garage.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/Art_Commission_gives_conditional_OK_to_glass_tower_at_5th_and_Walnut.html#deMHlxaFHox30Q3Z.99

Bottom Dollar Food Stores To Close By Year’s End And Be Sold To Aldi

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.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7104718-74/aldi-stores-bottom#ixzz3ILGhsZ8R
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Planned Sunoco Pipeline Will Quadruple Gas Liquids Traffic

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. announced Thursday that it will build an enormous, $2.5 billion pipeline project that will quadruple the volume of Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids moving through the Philadelphia area.

The Mariner East 2 project, the second phase of a plan to move materials like propane, butane, and ethane from Appalachian shale-gas fields, would dramatically expand industrial activity at the company’s Marcus Hook Industrial Complex.

Sunoco Logistics said it would build a pipeline at least 16 inches in diameter to follow the route of its first Mariner East project, an 83-year-old fuel pipeline crossing Pennsylvania that the company is repurposing to carry liquids to Marcus Hook.

Industry and political leaders have rallied behind the Mariner East projects as a way to closely tie Philadelphia to the Marcellus Shale region, which now accounts for nearly a quarter of the nation’s natural gas production.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141107_Sunoco_Logistics_annouces__2_5B_pipeline_project.html#u0qiaZftbuYCVsZB.99

Snowy Look To Outlooks

DSC01676[1]Anyone serious about weather won’t care about this, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for snow and cold in the Philadelphia region.

What is of perhaps more significant is that its outlook is in line with those posted so far from some more conventional neighborhoods of the meteorological community.

AccuWeather went on record two weeks ago as calling for a snowy winter in the Northeast, with above-normal snowfall around here.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/weather/Snowy-look-to-outlooks.html#V6F1e0rcLujFSTmJ.99

Brandywine Finds Partner For 29-Story Apt. Tower At 1919 Market St.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Brandywine Realty Trust, the Radnor company that is the dominant office landlord in Center City, says it has a partner and detailed plans to build a 29-story, 321-apartment, $140 million tower on the grassy lot it controls at 1919 Market St. in Center City. The tower will also feature 24,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, mostly leased to Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and the CVS drugstore chain. Statement here.

Brandywine’s 50-50 joint venture partner for 1919 Market is Berwyn-based LCOR CalSTERS, a successor to the former Linpro Co., which now manages property investments for the California State Teachers Retirement System. The partners arranged to borrow $88.9 million for the project, pricing the credit at Libor plus 2.25%. Equity investment is $59.2 million, split by the two partners; Brandywine’s half includes the $13 million value of the land. The company projects a cash yield (rent/cost) of 7% a year (vs 8% for Brandywine’s $385 million FMC office/apartment tower, and 7.6% at Brandywine’s $158 million Evo apartment project, both in University City).

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/New-29-story-tower-proposed-for-1919-Market-St-.html#bOWzSHLeSA7BBpJU.99

Report: Bright Millennials Flocking To Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The number of educated millennials living in Center City ballooned 78 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a report released Monday.

“The Young and Restless and the Nation’s Cities,” published by cityobservatory.org, found that 25 to 34 year olds with at least a bachelor’s degree have been flocking to major metropolitan areas, fueling economic growth and stimulating urban revitalization.

Philadelphia ranked sixth among major cities which have attracted young college graduates to their booming city centers. New York City topped the list followed by San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Report_Number_of_educated_millennials_living_in_Center_City_skyrockets.html#MqLbhuE2OgqeDAdH.99

Dan DeLuca: Forbes Under 30 Fest A Big Sign Philly Is World-Class Cool

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

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.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20141019_Dan_DeLuca__Forbes_Under_30_fest_a_big_sign_Philly_is_world-class_cool.html#L2smIJJ3RURuueoT.99

Changing Skyline: Subsidized Housing Deal May Benefit Developers More

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

You could probably fit every unit of affordable housing being built in Philadelphia today inside one of the fancy glass skyscrapers going up in University City, and still have a couple of floors left over. That’s not because the new towers are so immense, but because the city produces so little subsidized housing for the poor and working class.

It wasn’t always that way. From the 1950s through the Clinton years, the federal government financed thousands of units of affordable housing. Though the results weren’t always well-designed, the programs did at least ensure the poor had places to live. But in the last decade, federal money dried up and cities were left to their own devices. It’s no accident that wage stagnation has become a hot issue as low-cost housing has become harder to find.

So, as with many urban improvements these days, cities have begun to look to the private sector to pick up the slack. The strategy is called “inclusionary housing,” and it involves trading zoning bonuses for apartments.

Developers get to put up taller, denser towers. Cities get a bunch of units in the new buildings that can be rented at below-market rates. Low-wage workers get fabulous apartments with skyline views.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/20141017_Changing_Skyline__Subsidized_housing_deal_may_benefit_developers_more.html#TCCsm4dMWl0uHb5b.99

Archdiocese Of Philadelphia: Reviewing 14 More Parishes For Possible Merger, Closure

Weeks after completing its last round of parish mergers and closures, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday that 14 more parishes in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties could be combined with nearby churches or shuttered.

This time, the archdiocese is targeting three clusters of churches for cutbacks:

In Delaware County’s Springfield Township, the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi, Holy Cross, and St. Kevin.

In Montgomery County, the parishes of St. Alphonsus in Maple Glen, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph in Ambler, St. Catherine of Siena in Horsham, St. Genevieve in Flourtown, and Holy Martyrs in Oreland.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20141013_Archdiocese_of_Philadelphia__reviewing_14_more_parishes_for_possible_merger__closure.html#u17H63eOuBCeur6k.99

Philadelphia Archdiocese Sells Delco Property, 2 Others For $56.2M

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Thursday announced the sale of three suburban properties for $56.2 million and said it will use the proceeds to help plug gaps in its balance sheet.

In addition to the previously reported sale of a 200-plus-acre property in Delaware County to Jenkintown-based Goodman Properties for $47 million, the Archdiocese said that it had an agreement to sell a 454-acre property in Northampton County for $5.5 million, and that it had sold 55 acres in Chester County for $3.7 million.

The $3.7 million from the sale of excess land at the St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, a behavioral-health center for clergy and woman religious, was deposited into the archdiocesan priests’ pension fund, which previously had a $76.3 million deficit. The buyer was Woodbine Partners L.P.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141003_Archdiocese_sells_Delco_property__2_others_for__56_2M.html#85J5QPF07OFiZsCw.99

Scranton Commuter Tax Struck Down By Judge

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Scranton commuters will not have to pay a commuter tax.

Senior Judge John Braxton of Philadelphia issued an order today striking down Scranton’s commuter tax.

The judge dismissed two procedural objections made by petitioners opposing the commuter tax, but agreed that Act 205 doesn’t give the city power to exclusively levy a tax on commuters. The wage tax had to be levied on both nonresidents and residents.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/commuter-tax-struck-down-by-judge-1.1762802

Frontier Airlines To Return To Philadelphia

English: Frontier Airlines N929FR at FLL.

English: Frontier Airlines N929FR at FLL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frontier Airlines – with new owners, a new management team, and a new logo on its planes – is coming to Philadelphia with flights to seven cities.

Denver’s hometown airline will announce Tuesday nonstop flights from Philadelphia International Airport to Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, Fla., and Cancun, Mexico, in December, and to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago next spring.

“These are underserved markets with very high fares,” Frontier chief executive officer David Siegel said. “We’re going to expand the market, stimulating it with low fares and dropping in a little bit of capacity.”

Frontier hasn’t flown scheduled service from Philadelphia since January 2013, soon after it began flights from Trenton-Mercer Airport.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140930_JETTING_BACK_IN.html#sifzAxdbfOBcouvv.99

Philadelphia’s New Gem: A Stroll On The Schuylkill

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Let New York gloat about completing the High Line. Philadelphia is about to debut a linear park that might be even more impressive: the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk.

As wonderful as the High Line is, it merely allows people to wend their way through Manhattan a few stories above its bustling streets. When the latest segment of the Schuylkill Banks trail opens to the public Thursday, you’ll be able to walk on water, under the glittering gaze of the Center City skyline.

The new 15-foot-wide walkway dives into the river at Locust Street, and doesn’t crawl back onto dry land until it reaches the South Street Bridge, a joyous journey more than 2,000 feet long. Along the way, you’re borne over the water like Huck and Jim on their raft, simultaneously a part of the world and temporarily removed from it.

Big puffball canopies of trees sweep past. Trains rumble by, keeping time with your step. Cars whoosh along the expressway on the opposite bank. In the evening, as the lee shore fades to black and lights flicker on, the city can feel as distant as outer space. Cars and trains devolve into abstract streaks of color. Only the lapping river is a reminder that the solid earth remains nearby.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20140928_Changing_Skyline__A_Stroll_on_the_Schuylkill.html#3zXOsHclp7lMEyYi.99

Coming Soon (Again) To The Big Board: Sunoco

English: Sunoco Logo

English: Sunoco Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunoco’s storied name, absent from the New York Stock Exchange since the Philadelphia company was acquired by a Dallas energy firm in 2012, will return to the Big Board this year.

Energy Transfer Partners L.P. (ETP), a Dallas pipeline company that became Sunoco Inc.’s parent company two years ago, announced Thursday night that it will give its recently acquired Texas convenience-store company, Susser Petroleum Partners, a new name that is kind of an old one – Sunoco L.P.

The new Sunoco L.P., which will trade under the ticker symbol SUN, will eventually become the corporate umbrella for ETP’s growing portfolio of fuel stations and convenience stores, including Sunoco Inc. ETP had said it intended to drop its retail assets into the Susser partnership when it announced the $1.8 billion acquisition in April.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140927_Coming_soon__again__to_the_Big_Board__Sunoco.html#D5YWhWdiMwxH7yS5.99

Wawa’s Pizza Will Probably Make You Sad

When Wawa announced earlier this week that it had begun selling pizza, it seemed—for however brief a moment—that the pizza gods had smiled down on this city, giving us yet another treat made convenient.

Finally,” we Philadelphians thought, “a place to grab a pie at literally any time of day. And it’s Wawa, so surely the pizza is decent.”

Indeed, Wawa seemed equally confident, rolling out their newfound pizza program at all of the chain’s stores under a “Deep Dish Focaccia Pizza” moniker. What’s more, it’s available in five styles—plain, pepperoni, buffalo chicken, veggie and bacon-jalapeño—so you can change up your order depending on your preference—and all for about $6 a pop.

Unfortunately, though, what we’re dealing with here is pizza in name only.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/food_department/Wawas-pizza-will-probably-make-you-sad.html#Jpz5C35DqcBUciSw.99

Why Philly Area Gets Slighted By ‘Best Places’ List

Two of Philadelphia’s bigger burbs got mentions in Money Magazine’s annually perplexing exercise titled “Best Places to Live.”

If that seems disappointing, know this: The fault lies not in ourselves. It’s a very limited list.

Overall, Bensalem, ranked at No. 43, was the only area municipality to make Money’s Top 50, which was led by not-exactly-famous McKinney, Texas; Maple Grove, Minn.; and Carmel, Ind., in that order.

Money lauded Bensalem’s “access to stunning state parks” and such leisure options as concerts at the TD Bank Amphitheater, gambling and racing at the Parx Casino and Racetrack, and shooting at the Philadelphia Gun Club, noting “the local job market benefits from the presence of Fortune 1000 company Charming Shoppes as well as Ibanez Guitars and Tama Drums.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillylists/Local-town-No-2-for-Best-Places-to-Be-Rich-and-Single.html#7eG0vfTvDgxtwcMI.99