Hazleton Alliance Predicts Revitalized Downtown With Strategic Plan Completion

HAZLETON, PA — If the strategic plan for the continued revitalization of downtown Hazleton becomes a reality, the planner believe Broad Street will again be filled with shoppers, students, employees and neighbors, bringing fresh blood, an improved streetscape and a much needed increase in economic activity.

The five-year plan, which outlines specific strategies for achieving goals, was finalized last week after nearly a year of meetings, surveys and pubic input.

Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the non-profit organization which commissioned and coordinated the effort, credits its Board of Directors, area leaders and Hazleton residents for their support of the project and willingness to “think outside of the box” when it comes to the city’s future.

Schneider said the effort reflects goals directed by Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a four-pronged approach that includes organization, promotion, restructuring and design.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/153007106/

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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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Elevated Park On Rail Viaduct Finally Firming Up In Philly

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia’s own elevated park more than a decade ago.

After years of organizing, raising money, and drafting proposals, their efforts – and those of the politicians and professional planners who joined the cause – finally appear ready to bear fruit. Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad “spur” that curves through the city’s burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.

Turning that section into a park with stunning Center City views is just a small part of the overall vision to “green” abandoned railroad infrastructure, transforming foreboding eyesores into amenities.

A larger, 4/5-mile section of the viaduct stretches with fortresslike walls from Fairmount Avenue to Vine Street. Across Broad, the old railroad line drops below street level, running through a subterranean channel from the former Inquirer and Daily News building to Fairmount Park at Girard Avenue.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140406_Elevated_park_on_rail_viaduct_finally_firming_up.html#Uh2WhMLXCYwVcP2B.99

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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

Has North Broad Reached A Turning Point?

North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, 10...

North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, 100 block, looking south from Race Street, with Philadelphia City Hall (1874-1901) in the center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EVERY WEEKDAY, the 40 members of the Pennsylvania Ballet arrive from all over the region for a 9:30 a.m. class at the Ballet’s new headquarters on North Broad Street.

The leap from the old studios on South Broad, 10 blocks south of City Hall, to what is called Avenue of the Arts North is an important part of what city officials want to see happening on North Broad, seen for years as drab and boring.

The Ballet moved into its new space in January. The building, on the former site of a garage for armored trucks, has an entrance across Wood Street from Roman Catholic High School, and is known as the Louise Reed Center for Dance.

Location was everything, said executive director Michael Scolamiero.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131201_Arts_looking_north.html#4cGWPCsEheK4KydY.99

Transit Bus Bursts Into Flames As It Enters Tamaqua; No One Hurt

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

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

Editor’s note:  Here’s something you don’t see every day!

A Schuylkill County public transit bus burst into flames Friday afternoon as it entered Tamaqua to pick up passengers, authorities said.

No one was injured. The Schuylkill Transportation System bus was empty except for the driver, and he jumped out at Broad and Swatara streets before the flames spread.

he 2:05 p.m. fire gutted the bus down to its seat frames. It was a charred shell after South Ward firefighters put out the flames.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/police/mc-f-tamaqua-transit-bus-gutted-in-fire-20120805,0,7069613.story