U.S. Steel To Relocate Corporate Headquarters On Former Civic Arena Site

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pitt...

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, with the new corporate logo of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

U.S. Steel will move to a new, five-story corporate headquarters on the former site of the Civic Arena in a deal that will provide a corporate anchor tenant for the 28-acre property where $440 million in development is planned, officials said Monday.

The company plans to lease the 268,000-square-foot building for 18 years, the company said at a news conference at Consol Energy Center.

U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi, Gov. Tom Corbett, Pitsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse attended the announcement against a backdrop of artist renderings that showed people strolling a plaza of concrete, grass and trees in front of a conceptualized version of the building.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/7229038-74/conference-press-ceo#ixzz3K0W5WwYJ
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Residents Start To Move Into South Side Lofts Affordable Artists Complex In Bethlehem

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Some residents have moved into a new affordable housing complex in South Side Bethlehem that includes the redevelopment of the former St. Stanislaus Church.

Residents have started to move into the South Side Lofts apartments at East Fifth and Atlantic streets while apartments next to the church on Hayes Street will be occupied starting next month, according to officials at Housing Development Corp. MidAtlantic, the apartments’ developer.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 46 apartments was held Tuesday. Read more about the project here.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/residents_start_to_move_into_s.html

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

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

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

Icehouse Condos’ Next Phase Begins In Fishtown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Nearly a decade after he started the project, James Maransky has finally finished the second phase of the Icehouse, his 36-unit condominium development at Thompson Street and Columbia Avenue in Fishtown.

EnVision Group, his company, now will break ground on a third phase. One block over from the Icehouse on Columbia, it is developing Moyer Street Court townhouses.

Maransky, founder of EnVision and a green-roof professional who specializes in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified construction, said many of his colleagues in the industry did not make it through the financial crisis.

He knows how hard it was – and almost had to stop work himself. The Icehouse’s second phase was on ice, figuratively, during the financial meltdown as banks backed away from new projects. But, Maransky said recently as he looked out on the project’s common green-roof area, “I was so confident that once the first phase was finished, the second phase would sell out – and it did.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20140914_Phase_III_of_Icehouse_beginning.html#0keucPoskwfxbgLA.99

Town By Town: In Pottstown, Plenty Of Sellers, Few Buyers

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Editor’s note:  It’s pretty freakin’ sad when the Philadelphia Inquirer has to write up something like this about Pottstown.  Everybody knows why this situation exists, except for the do nothing Borough Council who are off in Lala Land taking a group cruise down the river Denial! What an embarrassing write up and very damning because of the enormous readership of this MAJOR MARKET publication!!!!!  Now that a big city newspaper has pointed out the same issues we bloggers have been harping on for years, maybe you all will be shamed into doing something. 

Trends in local housing supply and demand aren’t working in Pottstown’s favor right now. In a word, the market is troubled.

Andrew Himes, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors in Collegeville, said the borough “is one of the few places that hasn’t made any kind of a comeback.”

Though just about every market in the eight-county Philadelphia region has a shortage of supply, Pottstown’s problem is it has 300 houses for sale and very little demand, Himes says.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20140831_Town_By_Town_.html#0CJjWTr05jzmHLlJ.99

Business, Workers Flee Electric City Taxes

picture-0571A decade ago when real estate up-and-comer Charles Hibble looked for a headquarters for his business, Scranton was a natural choice.

He invested $1.2 million converting an aging building on Penn Avenue into modern offices and apartments. Mr. Hibble accepted real estate tax and parking cost increases and the mercantile tax as costs of doing business. When city leaders began talking about a commuter tax in 2012, the owner of Weichert Realty Hibble & Associates reached his breaking point and moved out.

“I was getting pressure from my employees, who could work from anywhere — their homes or cars,” he said. “They didn’t want to pay another tax.”

Mr. Hibble’s move prefaced an employer exodus from the city. After being kicked around and eventually shot down in court, the commuter tax came back in the proposal of consultant Henry Amoroso, who cited a state law that allows municipalities to impose a commuter tax to bolster distressed pension funds. Scranton City Council swiftly approved the local income tax on commuters, which would cost employees earning $50,000 as much as $375 a year. Combined with a proposed increase in the emergency service tax – yet another withdrawal from the wages of commuters — the cost of having a job in the city has mounted.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/business-workers-flee-electric-city-taxes-1.1733479

Boscov: Mall Price At Sheriff’s Sale Probably Too High

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Department store owner Al Boscov is unlikely to bid when the Mall at Steamtown goes on the block at a sheriff’s sale next week, saying he anticipates the asking price will be too high.

The businessman has been unable to strike a deal with LNR Partners, the real estate company representing the mortgage holder, to acquire the mall but hopes to renew negotiations if the lender finds no takers for the property at the sale Tuesday, he and his lawyer said.

“At that point, it would be just as if we were buying a property in a private sales transaction,” said attorney Scott M. Esterbrook. “The (sheriff’s) sale is not the be-all, end-all. It’s one step in the process, and where we’re at today is we just haven’t reached an agreement yet.”

The mall entered foreclosure March 7 after owner Steamtown Mall Partners defaulted on a principal balance payment of $37.1 million due last July on its 2003 mortgage, setting up the sheriff’s sale. Mr. Boscov is a principal in Steamtown Mall Partners.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/boscov-mall-price-at-sheriff-s-sale-probably-too-high-1.1718214

Montco’s Lynnewood Hall Up For Sale

Lynnewood Hall (Peter A. B. Widener mansion), ...

Lynnewood Hall (Peter A. B. Widener mansion), Elkins Park, PA (1897–1900). Photo: May 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time and taxes have finally forced the owner of Lynnewood Hall, a grand Horace Trumbauer estate in Elkins Park, to put the property up for sale.

The listing appeared Monday on the real estate website Zillow.com for $20 million.

The sales pitch is short and sweet: “A true neoclassical revival masterpiece. … Main house 110 rooms. 70,000 sq. ft. of living space & 33.85 gated acres.”

The words, accompanied by an exterior photo, belie both the grandeur and the bittersweet history of one of Philadelphia’s largest intact Gilded Age mansions.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20140710_Montco_s_Lynnewood_Hall_up_for_sale.html#So0Ei7q5wjUc2PUl.99

Sanatoga K-Mart Store Signs Announce Its Closing

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

SANATOGA PA – The K-Mart discount department store at 2200 E. High St., which occupies the largest retail building in Sanatoga village and has operated there continuously for decades, will close its doors Aug. 31 (2014), a store management employee confirmed Saturday (June 21).

Read more: http://sanatogapost.com/2014/06/22/sanatoga-k-mart-store-signs-announce-closing/

Rental Management Company Owner Charged With Theft

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA – A man who spent thousands of dollars renovating a High Street building to house a business now faces 41 counts of theft after allegedly withholding money from his clients to keep that business afloat.

Brian Warren Patrick, 35, of Delaware, owes 10 clients more than $30,500 in security deposits and rental income after he closed his business Affinity Property Management & Rental LLC in May of last year.

Patrick, in partnership with his wife Lori, managed rental properties in the region from their High Street office.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140601/rental-management-company-owner-charged-with-theft

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Home Values In Philadelphia Region Tumble, Analysis Shows

Full recovery continued to elude the Philadelphia region’s residential real estate market in the first quarter of this year, as the value of a typical home fell 4.9 percent from the last three months of 2013.

University of Pennsylvania economist Kevin Gillen, who analyzed data from 11 area counties for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, said Tuesday that with the latest decline, average house prices in the region are “barely above the post-bubble bottom they hit two years ago.”

While sales of 11,000 houses regionally was 10 percent above the same quarter of 2013, the numbers are 41 percent below what Gillen considers the “normal historic average.”

Suburban price declines were greater than the city’s during the quarter – 5.3 percent versus 4 percent, Gillen said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20140528_Home_values_in_region_tumble__analysis_shows.html#xlQrIJ1HYPRfOJyx.99

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Bloomfield, Friendship Neighborhoods See Real Estate Price Upsurge

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)

It didn’t matter to Kate Hansen that the temperature had dropped below zero on the January day when she went house hunting in Bloomfield. It didn’t matter that so much snow and ice covered the region she couldn’t even tell if the property had grass in the backyard or a decent roof.

Location was everything for Ms. Hansen, 32, a project manager for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Office of Public Art.

She wanted more than anything to own a home in the Bloomfield neighborhood. At the rate house prices in that area were rising, she didn’t feel she had the luxury of waiting until spring. She made an offer that day.

“I was a little nervous not being able to see it,” she said, adding that the house also was the first she looked at. “I knew the street, though. My best friend lives across the street from the place I bought. I knew it was a good location just from him living there.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/05/25/Bloomfield-Friendship-neighborhoods-see-real-estate-price-upsurge/stories/201405250030#ixzz32mNViblX

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Pottstown School District Adopts Proposed $60M Budget That Raises Taxes 2.9 Percent

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-2 vote at its May 15 meeting, the Pottstown School Board adopted a $59.9 million proposed budget that would raise taxes by 2.9 percent if it is adopted unchanged as a final budget in June.

Board members Ron Williams and Thomas Hylton cast the only two votes against the proposed budget, which increases spending 5.6 percent and would increase the annual tax bill by $81.91 for the owner of a property assessed at $73,670 — the borough’s median assessment.

Board member Amy Francis said, “This is a very difficult decision for me because, like every other taxpayer, I am at the end of my rope, but I also feel we have a responsibility to get the job done that we started with the renovations at the elementary schools. We can’t do one without the other.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140521/pottstown-adopts-proposed-60m-budget-that-raises-taxes-29

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New Economic Study Points To Rapid Growth In Downtown Pittsburgh

English: Downtown Pittsburgh

English: Downtown Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to economic and residential growth, the Golden Triangle has had the golden touch in recent years, with almost $800 million in development under construction and about twice that much planned.

A study released on Thursday predicts that trend will continue with explosive development of apartments, hotels and retail and high-end office space in Pittsburgh’s Greater Downtown, including the Triangle, North Shore, South Shore, Uptown, the Bluff and near Strip District as far northeast as 31st Street.

“We’re only experiencing the beginning of Downtown’s transformation,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership.

The partnership produced the study, which looked at economic indicators in several key areas to evaluate Downtown’s vitality. It gave the results in a presentation at Union Trust Building — itself a symbol of Downtown’s revitalization.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6115943-74/downtown-percent-partnership#ixzz31tEGYvVi
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New Partnership Between Revs, York City Gives Employees Incentive To Live Downtown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

In Eric Menzer’s 27 years of living in York City, he said there’s never been a better time to have a downtown business.

As the York Revolution’s president and general manager, Menzer said he and the 7-year-old baseball team aren’t going anywhere.

And he wants the same for his employees.

That’s why the team partnered with the city to offer its employees incentives for buying homes downtown.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25775906/new-partnership-between-revs-york-city-gives-employees

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Urban Strategist To York County Community Foundation: Stakes High For City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

Blame the millennials.

Those gadget-wielding young people born in the 1980s and 1990s are the reason America’s real-estate market seems, well, a bit confused.

After decades of suburban sprawl designed to accommodate the nation’s love affair with its cars, millennials and “the creative class” want something else — a walkable place to live, said Christopher Leinberger, an urban strategist and researcher who visited York this week.

That demand for urban life — where people can live, work and play within a relatively small geographic area — is both driving and slowing the economic recovery these days, Leinberger said.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/news/ci_25776014/design-future

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Land Bank Ordinance Legislation To Boost Lot Cleanups In Pittsburgh

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)

Some of Pittsburgh’s vacant lots become dumping grounds for used tires. Others get filled with construction debris. Some are overwhelmed with knotweed, a thick and invasive species that has been a plague since Bill Harlak started cleaning lots 34 years ago.

Harlak is executive director of City Source Associates, the city’s property maintenance contractor. He attempts to keep tidy 7,200 vacant city-owned lots, plus 1,400 the Urban Redevelopment Authority owns. His dozen employees clean perhaps 2,000 lots a year, he said.

“There’s always more land,” he said.

Surplus city-owned property, whether a patch of grass or an abandoned home, drains about $5.5 million a year from the budget, according to the city planning department. The estimate includes costs to the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Building Inspection and police. A newly established land bank could reduce the cost — if it can succeed in selling abandoned properties.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5946208-74/lots-vacant-lot#ixzz30C8n1ZVa
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Philadelphia’s Luxury Rental Market Is Booming

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The city’s for-sale housing market is experiencing fits and starts on a seemingly unending road to recovery. The luxury rental market, on the other hand, remains hot.

Yet another illustration of that comes Wednesday with the official opening of Dranoff Properties’ Southstar Lofts, an 85-unit, mid-rise rental project at Broad and South Streets that is heavier on one-bedrooms than the company’s fully leased 777 South Broad a few blocks away.

Developer Carl Dranoff considers the buildings complementary, and tenants at Southstar will get to use the roof deck at 777 and will share other amenities.

Rents will range from $1,595 to $3,395 a month, he said. About 63 percent of those leasing are singles in their 20s, and 35 percent list their occupation as medicine. Most earn $50,000 to $150,000, and 48 percent are moving from within six blocks.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140427_Phila__luxury_rental_market_is_booming.html#jYw0YTP7lsBDLXES.99

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