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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Fresh Start Planned For Blighted York City Building

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

A York City businessman plans to gut a blighted downtown building to make room for a future restaurant.

Elliott Weinstein, president and CEO of Weinstein Realty Advisors, will soon be the owner of 45 W. Market St., the former Griffith-Smith menswear store.

York City’s Redevelopment Authority gave the $2,000 sale the green light Wednesday. Technically, the sale is not final until the paperwork is signed and money exchanged.

Weinstein said he’s hoping to take advantage of York County’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, program, which is designed to incentivize economic development by stretching property taxes on improvements over 10 years.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25811017/fresh-start-planned-blighted-york-city-building

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SEPTA Aims For Happier Riders, Unveils 5-Year Plan

SEPTA logo

SEPTA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With increased state funding and stable ridership, SEPTA officials are unveiling a five-year plan to attract more riders, repair crumbling infrastructure, and improve customer satisfaction.

Having emerged from last year’s doomsday scenarios into a hopeful era of what SEPTA planners call “innovation, integration and renewal,” the officials on Tuesday outlined a blueprint for the future that will be presented to the agency’s board for approval in July.

Meeting with transit users and supporters at SEPTA’s Center City headquarters, Byron Comati, director of strategic planning, said legislative approval late last year of a $2.3 billion boost in statewide transportation funding allows SEPTA to plan more boldly.

By 2018, the additional state funding will mean a boost of about $400 million annually for SEPTA to repair bridges, buy new vehicles and upgrade stations and equipment.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140521_SEPTA_aims_for_happier_riders__unveils_5-year_plan.html#erJVxPXXeAuIyUU6.99

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Tacony Hopes Fresh Face-Lift Lures Flocks Of Folks

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

SCOTT DeGIRALOMO, owner of Computer Guy on Torresdale Avenue near Disston, said he’s very happy with the new, huge “Computer Guy” letters that light up in cool blue across the former Tacony post office that now houses his high-tech services business.

“They replaced my hanging disaster of an old sign outside that was about to fall and crush somebody,” DeGiralomo said dryly.

Like Bull’s Eye Dart Supplies next door, Computer Guy is one of 15 businesses along Torresdale Avenue that got a major face-lift, thanks to the Tacony Community Development Corp. and its business corridor manager, Alex Balloon.

“Alex is our general and our cheerleader,” DeGiralomo said, smiling. “I see him marching around here, talking up Tacony’s positives to store owners until he rah-rahs us into being a team.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140519_Tacony_hopes_fresh_face-lift_lures_flocks_of_folks.html#k3dFxEk0DoZZQWY6.99

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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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Best & Worst Cities To Work For A Small Business

Editor’s note:  Several Pennsylvania metro areas fared well on the list.  Pittsburgh (26), Philadelphia (33) and Lancaster (38).

Continuing WalletHub’s theme of small business-related releases in honor of National Small Business Week (May 12-16), this study sought to identify the cities that are the most and least friendly to employees of small companies.

There is no shortage of commentary on the best and worst cities to start a small business, after all, and with such companies employing about 47% of the private workforce in this country, paying more than 40% of the private payroll, and creating more than 60% of the new jobs added over the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, it bears asking what opportunities exist for the roughly 12.3% of people who are currently either unemployed or marginally attached to the labor force, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More specifically, WalletHub’s used 10 different metrics – ranging from net small business job growth and industry variety to hours worked and average wages for new hires – to evaluate the state of small business in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.  We then ranked the cities based on their overall attractiveness for job seekers.

Read more: http://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-to-work-for-a-small-business/3768/

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U.S. Small Business Confidence Back At Pre-Recession Levels

WASHINGTON – U.S. small business sentiment jumped to its highest level in 6-1/2 years in April, which should bolster hopes of an acceleration in economic activity in the second quarter.

The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.8 points to 95.2 last month, the highest reading since October 2007, when the economy was on the cusp of its worst recession since the 1930s.

“April’s reading took the index to a post-recession high and a recovery high level,” the NFIB said in a statement.

It adds to data such as employment and surveys on the manufacturing and services industries that have shown the economy regaining steam early in the second quarter after growth braked abruptly in the first three months of the year.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/small_business/US_small_business_confidence_back_at_pre-recession_levels.html#pVIe8UF3EDjeX4HO.99

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Pittsburgh Buys iPhones For Building Inspectors In Effort To Streamline Operations

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)

Brian Ralston used to arrive at the office with 15 or more voicemails waiting for him from Pittsburgh residents, business owners and contractors.

As an inspector with the city Bureau of Building Inspection, he spends his days in the field, navigating among property inspections.

“If you didn’t have my personal cellphone, you had to call and leave a message,” he said.

In mid-April, the city rolled out iPhones for BBI inspectors, a purchase intended to speed up operations and provide better service, said BBI acting chief Maura Kennedy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6087171-74/inspectors-ralston-bbi#ixzz31VnAmBbf
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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Marcellus Can Help Boost Pennsylvania Steel

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)

Pennsylvania is home to the highest-producing natural-gas shale play in the United States, and Marcellus Shale wells continue to break records. During the last six months of 2013, the commonwealth produced 1.7 trillion cubic feet of gas, or an average of 9.2 billion cubic feet per day – enough to satisfy about an eighth of the nation’s daily natural-gas demand.

The continued safe and responsible development of Marcellus Shale natural gas presents a great opportunity to create new jobs and provide economic prosperity in the commonwealth.

With this prosperity, Pennsylvania is taking center stage in helping the United States achieve energy independence and reduce our need to rely on foreign energy sources. In addition to capital investments and job creation in energy, the development of the Marcellus Shale has the potential to greatly benefit Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector, in particular the steel industry. Perhaps the single most important product used to ensure the safe development of this abundant natural resource is high-quality steel pipe.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140512_Marcellus_can_help_boost_Pa__steel.html#MY1F1cQI3Vhy9OZH.99

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Downtown Phillipsburg Homes And Businesses Starting To See Improvements From Tax Credit Program

Map of New Jersey highlighting Warren County

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

PHILLIPSBURG, NJ – A $1 million investment has started trickling into the heart of downtown Phillipsburg.

The area from the black bridge on South Main Street to Stockton Street, between the Delaware River and Sitgreaves Street, is the target of the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program.

John Korp, associate director of the Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program, said people from more than 20 businesses and 30 owner-occupied homes have shown interest or submitted paperwork to enroll. Business owners need to identify what needs they have and may be eligible for reimbursement for curb-appeal, lighting and security upgrades.

Phillipsburg Downtown Association President Joe Little called it a “fantastic” opportunity for the businesses in the area. Many of the shop owners have a to-do list of improvements they had to back burner because of the economy, he said in an email last week.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2014/05/downtown_phillipsburg_homes_an.html

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Philadelphia’s World Trade Center Seeks Higher Profile

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

To most, the World Trade Center is a reminder of terrorism’s evil: two jetliners commandeered on a gorgeous September morning, bringing down New York’s landmark twin towers, killing more than 2,700 and unhinging a nation.

In Philadelphia, the World Trade Center is a bistate nonprofit fighting to be better known.

The attention the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP) especially seeks is from the region’s small businesses, a sector it says is missing tremendous growth opportunity by not exporting.

“Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers lie outside our borders, so it’s a tremendous opportunity for companies to look to global markets,” said Ron Drozd, manager of WTCGP’s export services.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140505_Philadelphia_s_World_Trade_Center_seeks_higher_profile.html#DWHiDF78mKSEPZ1p.99

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Why PHL Ranks Just 18th For Air Passengers

Philadelphia International Airport

Philadelphia International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia International Airport is the 18th busiest U.S. airport in passenger traffic, with 30.5 million air travelers last year.

The nation’s busiest passenger airport, Atlanta, handled 94.4 million fliers, while 66.8 million traversed Chicago O’Hare, according to Airports Council International.

Among airports with the fastest passenger growth, Philadelphia was No. 25 among the top 50. Passenger traffic here was up 1 percent.

How does the nation’s sixth-largest metro area by population come in No. 18 in passengers?

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140424_Why_PHL_ranks_just_18th_for_air_passengers.html#P4IVjH9JTs20XwMX.99

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National Penn Bancshares Holds Grand Opening At New Allentown Headquarters

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

For the first time in nearly 35 years, a bank has established its headquarters in the city of Allentown.

More than 500 people today attended the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of National Penn Bancshares’ new headquarters in the 11-story Two City Center in the city’s downtown neighborhood.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski said it was more than simply a new business moving into the city but rather a showing of confidence in the ongoing revitalization of Allentown.

“We really appreciate the confidence you’ve put in us, and for bringing Allentown back to a central point for being a place of commerce and activity for the entire region,” Pawlowski told representatives of the bank.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/04/national_penn_bancshares_holds.html

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Neighborhood Allies Names Innovator As First President

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)

Neighborhood Allies has named as its first president the nationally recognized innovator behind revitalization efforts in Youngstown, Ohio.

Presley Gillespie begins his work in mid-May with the nonprofit that established this year from the dissolution of the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.

Mr. Gillespie founded the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. five years ago. It was that city’s first such entity and it grew from a $200,000 start-up into a $3.1 million force behind housing rehabilitation and green enterprise, including the Iron Roots Urban Farm, a commercial enterprise on a solar-powered campus with a demonstration kitchen, job training workshops and a community loan fund for low- and moderate income home buyers.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/04/17/Neighborhood-Allies-names-innovator-as-first-president/stories/201404170138#ixzz2z9oBG3S0

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#ARTS: Mobile Technology For Dummies

Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Professional Development Series offers a technology seminar for arts professionals, “#Arts: Mobile Technology for Dummies,” on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Butz Corporate Center, Ninth and Hamilton streets, Allentown.

Hit the ground running! Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptop, tablet, and smartphone to this hands-on seminar. Presenters will demonstrate how mobile technology acts as a driver for events, products, art sales and website traffic. Arts entrepreneurs and arts administrators will learn how to:

  • Enhance your marketing efforts through social media websites
  • Set up and use an Instagram account
  • Ensure your website is mobile device friendly
  • Adopt e-commerce solutions such as Etsy, Big Cartel and Amazon Marketplace and Mobile Technology point-of-sale devices such as Square, Intuit and Paypal to boost your sales.

Featured presenters, Matt McKernan, President of Mosaic Interactive, an award–winning, interactive and traditional marketing agency, and Steven Leibensperger, graphic and exhibit designer for Crayola, fine artist, and musician will provide both the developer and artist perspective.

The member fee is $25; nonmembers pay $45. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Buy Tickets Today! www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org
For more information:  www.LVArtsCouncil.org/ArtsMobile.html

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MCCC Fast Track PA Real Estate Salesperson Program Offered Fully Online

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— Building on the success of its Fast Track Real Estate pilot program launched in January, Montgomery County Community College will incorporate even more flexibility when it offers Real Estate 101 and 102 again in May.

“We’re leveraging many of the College’s technology resources to maximize students’ time,” said Ayisha Sereni, administrative director of MCCC’s BEI division and a licensed Pennsylvania real estate broker.

According to Sereni, the College wants to help professionals get their start in real estate sales – a high priority occupation that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to grow by 12 percent through 2020.

To encourage participation, the May-start classes will be taught fully online, which differs from the hybrid format used in the pilot. Now, virtual meetings will take the place of face-to-face instruction in a classroom setting.

The fast track program can be completed in less than one month. Students who successfully complete the 30-hour Real Estate Fundamentals (RES 101) and Real Estate Practice (RES 102) courses are eligible to sit for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam. Individuals who acquire their Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson License may seek employment as commissioned or salaried residential or commercial real estate agents, property managers, leasing agents or real estate assistants. Both courses must be completed prior to taking the exam.

Real Estate Fundamentals runs from May 8-20, and Real Estate Practice runs from May 27-June 5.

To learn more about MCCC’s Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Pre-licensing Fast Track Program, email Ayisha Sereni at asereni@mc3.edu or call 215-641-6374.

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The Heartbleed Bug: Here’s What You Need To Know

How does local cybersecurity expert James Koons describe the Heartbleed bug?

MASSIVE.

“That’s the theme here,” said Koons, who has worked on IT security for the U.S. military and Amazon.com.

Currently he is chief security officer for Listrak, a Lancaster provider of online marketing services, and a board member of the Online Trust Alliance.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/the-heartbleed-bug-here-s-what-you-need-to-know/article_186a3f04-c0cb-11e3-a09f-001a4bcf6878.html

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Norristown Neighborhood Grocery Gets A Boost

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — The little corner grocery store is making a comeback in Norristown.

The Spanish word “mina” means “mine” in English, and Mina Mart owner Ivonne Patino is hoping her new venture proves to be the proverbial gold mine that confirms her backers’ faith in her business.

Opened in February in the former La Mina bar at the corner of Arch and Airy streets, the bright, clean store/restaurant with all the grocery essentials, from toilet paper to fresh bananas, as well as a growing menu, got a financial boost of $19,650 from the U.S. Small Business Administration Thursday.

The loan that allowed Mina Mart to open its doors is the latest successful endeavor of the Norristown Small Business Assistance Center, a partnership of the Municipality of Norristown and The Enterprise Center Capital Corp. of Philadelphia.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20140410/norristown-neighborhood-grocery-gets-a-boost

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Columbia Bypass Work Beginning

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

When explaining to various officials the problems truck traffic causes in Columbia, Mayor Leo Lutz liked to give tours.

In the basement of Hinkle’s Pharmacy, they could see old brick and mortar being turned to powder, and feel the heavy trucks travel on Locust Street.

On the sidewalks, they could see, hear and feel the trucks rumble by in the center of the historic town.

“Then they knew what we were talking about,” Lutz said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/columbia/news/columbia-bypass-work-beginning/article_d65b79c6-beb7-11e3-9333-001a4bcf6878.html

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New Businesses Will Open In Theater Complex

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA – An e-cigarette business and roofing business are moving into the movie theater complex in downtown Wilkes-Barre, leaving just one open corner space available for lease.

Jackson Township resident Allen Morrow plans to open Xhale Vapor Lounge and roofing business Green Rhino Builders in empty space on South Washington Street in City Centre next month.

Morrow said he is moving his office for his roofing business from Dallas to downtown Wilkes-Barre and will open the e-cigarette lounge in front. He became interested in e-cigarettes after switching to them from traditional cigarettes six months ago.

Morrow said e-cigarettes are safer and since he switched, he feels better and can breathe better. Some health organizations, however, have been pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/new-businesses-will-open-in-theater-complex-1.1661693

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