Center City District: Housing Boom Continues

The housing boom rolling across central Philadelphia showed no signs of weakening last year, according to data released Tuesday, but a population exodus could be on the near horizon if little is done to fix the city’s schools and tax structure.

The news was mostly positive out of Center City District’s annual housing report, which found that 1,983 new apartments, condos, and houses between Girard and Tasker Avenues, and the Schuylkill and Delaware River hit the market in 2014, thanks to an influx of empty nesters and young professionals, said CCD chief executive Paul Levy.

That number was down 8.5 percent from the record-breaking 2,168 logged a year earlier. But Levy and his staff concluded that demand for the torrent of new construction of homes and apartments would be strong for at least several more years.

“Property is selling for more. It’s selling more quickly,” Levy said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150218_Center_City_District__Housing_boom_continues.html#gfAQAl0PUIx9wOV9.99

Plan To Relocate Pittsburgh Playhouse Downtown Approved; Millcraft Proposes Condos For Saks Site

The stage is set for the relocation of the Pittsburgh Playhouse to Downtown. City planning commission members unanimously approved plans for construction of new playhouse complex on Forbes Avenue Downtown today, clearing the way for its move from Oakland.

Approval came over the objections of preservationists who urged the commission to no avail to save three Forbes Avenue facades that will be relocated and integrated into the new complex under the plans advanced by Point Park University.

With today’s decision, Point Park intends to start construction in March with the demolition of three Forbes Avenue buildings and hopes to have the new complex ready for audiences in July 2017.

The $53 million project will feature a 550-seat main theater, a 200-seat adaptive theater with doors that will open to a plaza for outdoor performances, a 100-seat black box theater and supporting facilities.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/02/10/Millcraft-proposes-to-build-condos-garage-at-former-Saks-site-Downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201502100184

NY Times: Millennials Driving Apartment Boom In Wilmington

Wilmington is becoming quite the hot spot for young professionals.

In Delaware’s largest city, about 30 miles south on I-95 from Philadelphia, the downtown is expanding with several hundred apartments on the way.

These new apartments, profiled in a New York Times article this week, are aimed at millennials who are “driving increased demand for city-center living, car-free commutes and transit oriented development in cities around the country,” the article states.

To build these residential units, developers are taking vacant or underused buildings and either demolishing or renovating them.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/philadelphia-real-estate/NY-Times-Millennials-driving-apartment-boom-in-Wilmington.html#LYzMk5JseugGvOJ3.99

Pottstown Beech Street Lofts Project Gets Council Approval

While details at this time are not available, the Citizens Action Committee for Pottstown is reporting that Pottstown Borough Council has approved the Beech Street Lofts project for the old Fecera’s building.  The building is currently vacant and in need of redevelopment.

This project will stabilize the neighborhood, provide traction for the arts community (ArtFusion 19464 and Steel River Playhouse) and send a clear message that Pottstown is serious about revitalization.  We believe this will be the transformative project that jump starts a wave of redevelopment in the borough.

You can find more information about the project here: https://www.facebook.com/beech.streetlofts?fref=ts

Movement Underway In NEPA Counties, Cities To Form Land Banks

When General Motors shut down factories in Michigan, the city of Flint lost more than 70,000 auto industry jobs, resulting in an exodus of residents from the 1980s through today that left the city with half the population of its heyday.

The crisis created a cycle of abandonment and blight that prompted the region to create the Genesee County Land Bank, which spearheaded several major redevelopment projects in the city’s downtown, sold 4,683 tax-foreclosed properties from 2004-13 and demolished 3,400 buildings.

Some public officials in Northeastern Pennsylvania cities like Scranton and Hazleton have been thinking of forming their own land banks since Gov. Tom Corbett last year signed legislation enabling cities around the state to do so. Pittston and several neighboring Luzerne County municipalities recently created their own version.

“One issue we all face, that we really have a hard time fighting at the municipal level, is blight,” said Larry West, regional director for state Sen. John Blake, D-Archbald. “We have buildings sitting there on the tax repository list that are boarded up or have burned down.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/movement-underway-in-nepa-counties-cities-to-form-land-banks-1.1806370

Allentown Developer Announces New Project, Possible Rooftop Restaurant

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The developer already behind $500 million of development in downtown Allentown has something new up his sleeve.

J.B. Reilly announced plans Wednesday to renovate a blighted vacant building at Eighth and Linden streets, turning the ground level floor into 4,000-square-feet of retail space.

The upper floors of the three-story building will become either apartments or office space, and a rooftop restaurant could be established there as well, Reilly said.

“We think this is a really important project because it’s sort of the gateway into the residential neighborhood,” said Reilly, president of

City Center Lehigh Valley. “We think it’ll have a pretty big impact on the neighborhood outside the NIZ.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/10/allentown_developer_announces.html

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

Atlantic City Facing Unprecedented Economic Collapse

full-state map

full-state map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Atlantic City region is on the brink of a short-term economic disaster.

Atlantic City made history 36 years ago when it opened the first legal casinos in the United States outside Las Vegas.

Now it’s doing so again as casino employment – which for years exceeded the number of city residents – drops precipitously after a decade of steady decline.

The closing of three casinos, starting with Showboat and Revel this weekend followed by Trump Plaza two weeks later, and the rapid-fire loss of 5,700 jobs, draw historic comparisons to longer-term collapses of U.S. industries such as steel.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140831_Atlantic_City_facing_unprecedented_economic_collapse.html#GmfpHBJZ5OpDgeaJ.99

29 Luxury Apartments Planned For York City’s Northwest Triangle

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

A unique, triangular building in downtown York City has piqued the interest of two young developers.

Seth Predix and Jordan Ilyes have proposed converting the Keystone Colorworks building, a former paint factory at 109 W. Gay Ave., into 29 luxury apartments.

The city’s Redevelopment Authority, which owns the building, voted Wednesday to draft a sales agreement for $100,000.

It could be months before the sale is final, but Wednesday’s decision “basically takes the building off the market,” said David Cross, who chairs the RDA.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26378110/29-luxury-apartments-planned-york-citys-northwest-triangle

Historic Posey Iron Works Refitted As 11 Apartment Units

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Almost three years after city zoners approved developer Scott Graeber’s plan to turn the old Posey Iron Works administration offices into apartments, the building will soon welcome its first tenants.

Known as Lancaster Ironworks, the project involved renovating the approximately 9,000-square-foot, two-story brick structure at 560 S. Prince St. into 11 apartments, with rents starting at $900 a month.

According to newspaper records, the edifice was designed by Lancaster architect Henry Y. Shaub and constructed in two sections, in 1910 and 1916. It features a grand staircase, wood paneling, concrete flooring and a steel substructure.

Posey Iron Works, which operated until 1983, manufactured pipe, piling steel and wrought iron for industry. Its pipes were used to dredge the Panama Canal, and it supplied the Army and Navy during both World Wars, newspaper accounts show.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/historic-posey-iron-works-refitted-as-apartment-units/article_d4ebaf1e-1f26-11e4-9a42-001a4bcf6878.html

Pittsburgh Planners See Potential In A Revamped Mellon Square

DSC01808Could Mellon Square become the next Market Square?

While it’s no European-style piazza, some believe the area around the newly restored park could be primed to become one of Downtown’s next hot spots for restaurants and retail.

“I see it becoming the next great Downtown destination,” said Herky Pollock, executive vice president of the CBRE real estate firm.

Only a few years ago, the Smithfield Street corridor between Fifth and Liberty avenues that includes Mellon Square appeared to be ready for last rites.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/21/Planners-developers/stories/201407200210#ixzz3892O45lx

Downtown Residents, Developers Enjoy Romance With Rooftops

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

From atop the Lando Building at Penn Avenue and Ninth Street, Todd Palacic can see PNC Park, kayaks on the Allegheny River, construction work on The Tower at PNC Plaza and glimpses of the shimmering glass of PPG Place.

Palacic, who is developing the seven-story structure into 27 apartments and building a deck on its roof, foresees tenants throwing parties, watching fireworks and lounging amid Pittsburgh’s skyline.

“People who live Downtown want to show off, and a deck allows them to show off,” Palacic, a developer at Penn Avenue Renaissance, said as he leaned over the deck railing to look out over the river. “A lot of first kisses will happen up here on this deck. I guarantee it.”

As more people move Downtown — the population jumped 10.5 percent in the past three years, reaching more than 7,500, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership — residents are claiming rooftops as social spaces to dine, drink, relax and take in sights. Restaurants have opened rooftop bars and seating areas. Nearly 10 apartment complexes boast roof patios and lounges, and new developments almost all have rooftop plans.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/6451106-74/downtown-pittsburgh-tower#ixzz37vYrS6MJ
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‘Celebrate Downtown’ Shines Light On Pittsburgh Revitalization

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown should be an exciting place to go or live. It remains an important indicator of any city’s health.

For the past 20 years, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has worked to revitalize Downtown and will call attention to its progress with eight days of activities called “Celebrate Downtown” from July 14 to 21.

New this year to the annual Celebrate Downtown attractions are Dining Around, sampling food and drink at some of the city’s most highly regarded restaurants; All Access Pittsburgh, a series of tours; and Open Streets, which will create space for people to enjoy part of Downtown free of cars, buses and trucks.

The creation of the Cultural District and revitalization of Market Square are only part of the changes Downtown. More than 12,000 people live Downtown now, with more than 2,000 new apartments coming.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/6418404-74/downtown-july-market#ixzz37GwwnvK9
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Developer Closes In On Macy’s Building In Downtown 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)

The talk at Macy’s Downtown on Thursday was not so much about Father’s Day sales or new fall fashions as it was about plans to turn much of the venerable old building with the famous clock into residences.

Philadelphia developer Core Realty has reached an agreement to buy the 13-story building on Smithfield Street with the intent of converting all but four floors into apartments, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.

As part of the sale, Macy’s department store would stay, although the number of floors devoted to retail would be shrinking once again. The store, once a 12-floor behemoth, is expected to be housed on the building’s first four floors, minus the mezzanine level, which would be closed and used as an entrance for residents.

Three years ago, Macy’s cut the number of floors in half, consolidating all retail, including furniture, on the first six floors of the building, plus the mezzanine.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/06/06/Developer-closes-in-on-Macy-s-building/stories/201406060108#ixzz33sq0Uqh7

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Downtown Pittsburgh Enjoys Growth In Population, Building Boom

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fred and Christine Thieman migrated from the suburbs to Downtown when their youngest child went to college about three years ago.

That year, for the first time in more than 90 years, the nation’s biggest cities, including Pittsburgh, grew faster than their suburbs, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy group.

The trend continued in each of the past two years, though growth rates for cities and suburbs hover around 1 percent and the gap between them is narrowing, Brookings reported in May.

But the population living Downtown has soared. Census data show the area was home to 12,343 people last year, up 10.5 percent from 2010.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6202435-74/downtown-units-percent#ixzz33UyDfZnb
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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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Coraopolis Rallies To Save Train Station

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At first glance, the Coraopolis Railroad Station appears rundown, but a closer look reveals a piece of history that Coraopolis residents have rallied to save.

Named by Preservation Pennsylvania this year as one of the most endangered historical sites in the state, the train station was built in 1895 in Richardsonian Romanesque style based on a design by architects Shepley Rutan and Coolidge.

About eight years ago, four families who wanted to help restore the station bought the building that had been abandoned about 30 years ago and began what came to be known as the Coraopolis Community Development Foundation. The organizers are planning a video, an online fundraising campaign and other efforts.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/alleghenyneighborhoods/alleghenyneighborhoodsmore/5850769-74/station-coraopolis-town#ixzz31nfMKYAL
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$60-$70 Million Chestnut Street Residential Development Set To Begin

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

In what would transform a bedraggled slice of central Philadelphia, demolition crews are weeks away from dismantling nearly an entire side of the 1100 block of Chestnut Street, part of a $60 million to $70 million redevelopment tapping the soaring apartment market and surging appetites to shop and live east of Broad Street.

Zoning approvals and permits are in place, additional property was acquired as recently as Thursday, and a large section of sidewalk has been closed as lead development partner Brickstone Co. prepares to build a complex of loft-style apartments above towering, three-story retail spaces.

The development will stretch almost the length of the south side of Chestnut between 11th and 12th Streets, Brickstone managing partner John J. Connors said.

Connors would not discuss what tenants are being courted, but the project could include a supermarket if rumors swirling among civic activist circles are true.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140425__60-_70_million_Chestnut_Street_residential_development_set_to_begin.html#oF4zBbpGx4j9dij1.99

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