50-Story Hotel Proposal For Center City Gains In Council

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City Council moved closer Thursday to approving millions in tax breaks for a contentious 50-story hotel development in the heart of Center City.

The $280 million tower would include two hotel brands – W and Elements – built on a parking lot at 15th and Chestnut Streets, a half-acre plot adjacent to the disastrous 1991 fire that consumed One Meridian Plaza and resulted in the deaths of three firefighters.

The developers, Brook Lenfest and Jeffrey Cohen, say they can’t build there without tax increment financing (TIF), a deal in which they would borrow $33 million and repay the loan through tax breaks authorized by the city.

The project – and TIFs in general – has its critics, and the Council chamber was packed Thursday with lobbyists, supporters, and opponents, who waited out a hearing that lasted more than five hours.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20131108_50-story_hotel_proposal_for_Center_City_gains_in_Council.html#q0H4BjrGoLvkrcT5.99

Bethlehem Economic Development Zone Would Create $300 Million In New Construction, Officials Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

A Pennsylvania City Revitalization and Improvement Zone in Bethlehem would create at least $300 million of new development in the city, officials said today.

Bethlehem’s application for the new state program will consist almost exclusively of private development, including a proposed convention center at the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site, officials said.

The emphasis on private development should give Bethlehem a distinct advantage over the eight other cities expected to apply for the special economic development tax incentive, the officials said at an announcement this afternoon in Town Hall.

Only two applicants will be granted the incentive in the next couple of months, and many of them will likely have major public projects, which make them riskier and less fruitful for the state, said state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2013/10/bethlehem_criz_economic_develo.html

Bass Pro Shops Angling For Store At Old Bethlehem Steel Plant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Outdoors retailer Bass Pro Shops could help jump-start major redevelopment projects, including a possible hotel and convention center, at the former Bethlehem Steel plant.

Developers have been in talks with city officials over the last four or five months about introducing the company’s second store to Pennsylvania near the Sands casino in south Bethlehem, a source familiar with the project said.

Mayor John Callahan acknowledged Bass Pro was one of several retailers that have expressed interest in a site in or near the cavernous No. 2 Machine Shop near Sands’ Luxury Outlets.  He said such a retailer would attract customers from well beyond the Lehigh Valley.

He said he did “a little reconnaissance” at the closest Bass Pro store he could find — near Harrisburg.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-bethlehem-sands-bass-pro-shop-20130815,0,5894889.story#ixzz2c9MnWQyN
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Philly Flower Show Lost $1.2 Million, And Leader Blames TV

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society usually makes about $1 million in profits from the Philadelphia Flower Show.

But not this year.

The 2013 show actually fell short about $1.2 million, not an unprecedented event in its 184-year history but a short-term disaster for the many urban “greening” programs it supports.  PHS president Drew Becher is now scrambling to cut costs – and to raise $1 million for programs and $200,000 for Flower Show expenses from PHS members and an insurance policy.

For all this, he blames local TV and radio stations.

With unusual bluntness, Becher accuses them of “hyping up” a major snowstorm during Flower Show week that never materialized – but led to scores of canceled tour buses and visitors, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket and merchandise sales.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130519_Flower_Show_lost__1_2_million__and_leader_blames_TV.html#Gok7XbSLiFH34U2D.99

Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs Plans June 18 Job Fair – Needs To Fill 250 Positions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

PLAINS TOWNSHIP— With regional unemployment above 9 percent, a job fair in five weeks to fill 250 positions at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs’ soon-to-open hotel/convention center is likely to draw thousands.

Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Assistant General Manager Kara Fox-LaRose on Wednesday said rather than just inviting job seekers to send in resumes or applications, the venue will hold an on-site job fair 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 18.  Interviews will take place in July and the staff will be hired throughout the summer to be trained, she said.

The $50 million hotel and convention center will have seven floors, 238 hotel rooms, a bistro, a 4,150-square-foot Spa Sapphire, an indoor pool and fitness center and the 20,000-square-foot convention center able to seat 850 people for dinners and other events.  It also will be able to hold entertainment events for 1,500 people.

Its targeted opening date is Oct. 1.  It will be the largest hotel in Luzerne County and will give the casino the ability to attract customers from farther distances.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/497024/Casino-hotel-seeking-250-employees

Philadelphia Flower Show Opens Tomorrow

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

You may not have even noticed, but after just three years, the Philadelphia International Flower Show is back to being the Philadelphia Flower Show.

The global moniker was always a stretch, but its quick demise was surprising, given the fanfare surrounding its debut.

“Calling something international doesn’t really mean anything, and ‘Philadelphia International Flower Show’ was a mouthful,” said Drew Becher, who became president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in mid-2010, after the new name had gone into effect.

Produced by PHS, the show runs Saturday through March 10, at the Convention Center, following sneak peeks this afternoon and Saturday morning for members. [Tickets run from $15 in advance for children to $32 for adults at the door.]

Officially, the new name is PHS Philadelphia Flower Show – and it’s all about branding.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/home/gardening/20130301_Flora_Fantastic.html

Nashville’s Latest Hit? The City Itself

NASHVILLE — Portland knows the feeling.  Austin had it once, too.  So did Dallas.

English: Collage of Nashville landmarks. Top r...

English: Collage of Nashville landmarks. Top row: 2nd Avenue, Kirkland Hall (Vanderbilt University), The Parthenon; Middle row: Nashville Skyline; Bottom row: LP Field, Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even Las Vegas enjoyed a brief moment as the nation’s “it” city.

Now, it’s Nashville’s turn.

Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville’s status comes up.

Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat in his second term, is the head cheerleader.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/us/nashville-takes-its-turn-in-the-spotlight.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hp

City Of Lancaster Gets High Marks As Travel Destination From Philadelphia Inquirer

Glad to see that people are finally noticing what Lancaster has to offer! 

THERE’S MORE to Lancaster than outlets and buggies.

Although the eighth-largest city in Pennsylvania is closely associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, a community that came to this part of Penn’s Woods back in the early 1700s, there’s as much city as there is country to this picturesque part of the state…

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20111007_Lancaster__More_than_just_Amish.html?viewAll=y#ixzz1a6sGAITg

Slots Approved For Valley Forge Convention Center


Image via Wikipedia

Potts Vegas never materialized but it appears slot machines will be making their way into the Valley Forge Convention Center after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved their casino license.

Six-hundred slot machines and fifty gaming tables are planned for the convention center.  Upper Merion Township supervisors have already approved this plan.  No date for the completion of the project was announced but officials are looking to get this up and running ASAP.  

The addition of gambling will give the Valley Forge Convention Center another means to attract customers and make the convention center more of a destination.

Limerick Township turned down a casino but Upper Merion Township is certainly embracing it.