At Four Seasons, One Last Gathering Of Its ‘Family’

As Center City Realtor Laurie Phillips paused in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia – her refuge, clubhouse, and second home for 32 years – Carol Tamburino approached her mournfully.

“We need a new hangout. Where are we going to go?” Tamburino lamented. “I’ve been crying. I’m really depressed over this.”

The hotel that redefined luxury in Philadelphia when it opened on Logan Square on July 31, 1983, closed Saturday, checking out its final guests and serving its last power breakfasts even as staff quietly whisked paintings off the walls.

The Four Seasons will return in 2018, reconstituted within the 59-story Comcast Innovation and Technology Center being built at 18th and Arch Streets – a move that will reduce the number of rooms by a third in the face of growing competition in the market. Its granite-clad longtime home, owned by Host Hotels & Resorts, will be renovated by Denver-based Sage Hospitality Group for a new luxury hotel. Details are to be released Tuesday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150607_At_Four_Seasons__one_last_gathering_of_its__family_.html#cvtMtPTRUPb6E5ff.99

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Pittsburgh Region Adds 24,600 Jobs; Unemployment Unchanged

The Pittsburgh region’s job market roared ahead in April, posting the biggest monthly hiring spree in at least 25 years.

The seven-county metropolitan area added 24,600 nonfarm jobs and the unemployment rate remained stable at 5.3 percent as more people began a job search, according to preliminary data the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reported Tuesday.

It was the largest monthly gain on record since 1990, the earliest data available, and provided a nice boost heading into summer, PNC economist Kurt Rankin said.

“This is about as good a sign as we could get for the state of Pittsburgh’s economy,” Rankin said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8485741-74/jobs-april-sector#ixzz3c106tSgE
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SLS Hotels Hopes To Seize Upon Philadelphia’s New Cachet With Broad St. Project

SLS Hotels puts its chicly designed, lavishly appointed lodgings in the U.S. cities most associated with luxury travel and youthful, free-spending abandon: Beverly Hills. South Beach. Las Vegas.

Philadelphia is now on that elite list.

After years of planning, work is set to begin in the fall on the 152-guest-room SLS Lux Philadelphia Hotel & Residences. It will rise 47 stories a few blocks south of City Hall and could open as soon as spring 2018.

The California-based hotel chain, part of hospitality mogul Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group, is betting on Philadelphia’s budding sophistication as a shopping, dining, and sightseeing destination as it targets moneyed visitors seeking less-staid alternatives to the city’s existing stock of high-end accommodations.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/commercial/20150601_SLS_Hotels_hopes_to_seize_upon_Phila__s_new_cachet_with_Broad_St__project.html#hZVU36MTce8vUDHS.99

(Greater) Center City Philadelphia’s Population Now Second Only To Midtown Manhattan’s

An expanded Center City Philadelphia has grown so much that it now ranks second only to Midtown Manhattan when it comes to people who live in the heart of the city.

That’s according to the Center City District, which released its annual report Monday – and which is defining the area as extending from Girard Avenue to Tasker Street.

Over the past 15 years, population grew 16 percent in the district that is also bounded by the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, bringing the population to 183,240, according to latest State of Center City report.

Brisk redevelopment also continued last year in that area, the CCD reported, with 1,983 new residential units completed by developers in that area.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150421__Greater__Center_City_s_population_now_second_only_to_Midtown_Manhattan_s.html#8uGCG8AyUkPxSytk.99

Development Could Soon Be Booming In West End

Pittsburgh’s building boom, centered for years on Downtown and East End neighborhoods, is spreading into the West End.

Developers are focusing on Banksville Road where nearly $3 million is being spent to build a hotel, an office building and an expansion of offices for an engineering firm.

“The city of Pittsburgh overall is doing well in terms of development,” said City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents West End communities. “Banksville has good access to Downtown, the Parkway (West), the airport and suburbs.”

A Comfort Inn and Suites is going up near a Days Inn along lower Banksville Road. The $2.7 million project includes a four-story hotel building with 69 rooms and 64 parking spaces, according to Pittsburgh Planning Commission records.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8187310-74/banksville-building-west#ixzz3XfbnKxm8
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Two Years In The Making, Market Square Grocery Store’s Opening Is Near

On a cloudy and cool spring morning, Downtown Pittsburgh’s first grocery in five years was emerging from its shell like a butterfly from its cocoon.

Some workers stocked a freezer with frozen shrimp, lobster langostino and other seafood. Others handled deliveries of cheeses and other goods. Yet others trained to use the cash register.

At the back of 435 Market St., bottles of imported red and white Italian wines beckoned visitors. Pastas, cereals, chocolates, pickles, olives, teas, cookies, jelly, potato chips and sauces crammed the shelves.

“ ‘Finally’ is the word,” developer Ralph Falbo said as he talked to two friends and surveyed the scene.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/04/15/Market-Square-to-get-grocery-store-soon/stories/201504150099

Hotels, Money, David Cohen Helped Philly Snag 2016 Democratic National Convention

WASHINGTON – Hotels, money, Comcast executive David L. Cohen, and maybe some special treatment at the Liberty Bell all helped Philadelphia get over the top to win the right to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, city and party leaders said Thursday afternoon.

“The role of Philadelphia in shaping our nation’s history is unmatched,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee. “But what’s also unmatched is the comprehensive proposal” the city put together.

The three finalists to host the convention — Philadelphia, New York and Columbus, Ohio — were judged on logistics, security and resources to host the gathering that Democrats hope will serve as an energizing springboard to the 2016 presidential race, Wasserman Schultz said on an afternoon conference call with reporters.

Philadelphia presented the best combination of all three – though the proximity of thousands of hotel rooms to the Wells Fargo Center and sports complex were among its biggest draws, she said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/capitolinq/Hotels-money-David-Cohen-boosted-Philly-convention-bid.html#BvsKUxkxJvvgDLfi.99

Downtown Lancaster Marriott’s Owner Proposes 96-Room, $23M Expansion

Lancaster MarriottThe math is simple.

If the Lancaster County Convention Center wants to attract bigger numbers of large conventions, it needs bigger numbers of nearby, convention-quality hotel rooms.

And right now, despite 299 rooms in the adjoining Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, plus 134 more at The Hotel Lancaster two blocks away, research studies show that downtown is coming up short.

But a new proposal by the Marriott’s owner would make the convention center more appealing to the organizers of these big events.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/downtown-marriott-s-owner-proposes–room-m-expansion/article_b1b39a1e-a8da-11e4-b47b-3bbb05f76f38.html

Grand Plans For Riverfront Hotels, Wedding Halls In Fishtown

Developer Bart Blatstein and caterer Joseph Volpe say they have signed a contract with Exelon Corp. to buy the former Delaware Station electric plant on the Delaware River in the city’s Fishtown section.

The property boast a 1,000-foot stretch of waterfront and includes a pier.

“We envision two boutique hotels, each leading into their own ballrooms with 55-foot-high ceilings,” said Volpe, owner of Cescaphe Event Group, which organizes 600 wedding receptions a year at its five Philadelphia venues.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind property,” said Blatstein, best known for the Piazza at Schmidt’s and other housing-and-retail projects that have helped transform some of the city’s older, grittier neighborhoods.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150116_Grand_plans_for_riverfront_hotels__wedding_halls_in_Fishtown.html#yu0DdUDgHTFBg6HI.99

Peach Bottom Outage: Influx Of Workers Creates Economic Opportunity

Every year when Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station shuts down one of its reactors for maintenance, several thousand workers flock to Peach Bottom Township in south York County.

The workers pour money into local businesses, but there aren’t nearly enough hotel rooms.

Peach Bottom Township’s one hotel, the Peach Bottom Inn & Restaurant, stays booked, but thousands more outage workers drive to hotels in Aberdeen or Bel Air in Maryland.

Meanwhile, some area businesses and residents have tapped into the need for lodging by renting campsites and rooms.

Some say the region could do more to capitalize on the workers’ need for lodging and other needs. But with little else driving people to the region, others say that south York county is already doing all it can.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_27028610/peach-bottom-outage-influx-workers-creates-economic-opportunity

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

If 4 Atlantic City Casinos Close In September, Then What?

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September.

The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino.

Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors – especially at night – and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?

“When an area goes dark, and there are increased vacancies, it generally sends out more than a subtle message that things are not promising on the horizon,” said Don Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140722_Atlantic_City_lights_dimmer_in_September.html#LRbj1JvhlyPXrwkJ.99

Long Beach Islanders Eager To Show Off Rebuilt Businesses

Map of New Jersey highlighting Ocean County

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

The members of the iconic Beach Haven Marlin & Tuna Club were determined to open their new building before the start of summer, the second since Hurricane Sandy washed out their former home.

They got their certificate of occupancy Friday afternoon, just in time for a planned grand opening the next day, coinciding with an annual striper fishing tournament known as the LBI Cup.

On Sunday morning, the day after 500 people flooded the club’s new three-story headquarters, Vice Commodore Tim Irons walked around the bare rooms, proudly showing off the bathroom tiling and the views from the top floor.

“It’s completely paid off,” he said. “We just don’t have any furniture yet.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140526_Long_Beach_Islanders_eager_to_show_off_rebuilt_businesses.html#gb5PvxZu02CUrVaA.99

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