Royal Paper Ready To Introduce Its New Chester County Facility

WEST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP, PA – Royal Paper Products is pulling up stakes and moving — but the vans didn’t have far to travel.

After 65 years on North Caln Road in the Coatesville area, Royal is ready to welcome guests to its new Exton area facility on Clover Mill Road in West Whiteland. It is holding a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday.

The company makes more than 1,000 disposable products for the foodservice, hospitality and janitorial industries.

The new production plant and headquarters is located on 22 acres, giving the company ample room for its 45 employees and providing 16,500 square feet of much needed office space.

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Wilkes-Barre Area Proposal: New High School At Coughlin Site, Expand Kistler Elementary, End Use Of Meyers

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The final option proposed for Wilkes-Barre Area School District’s aging three high school system: Build a new school for grades 9-12 where Coughlin now stands, add grades seven and eight to Kistler elementary, and end the use of the venerable Meyers and Coughlin schools. GAR would remain for grades seven through 12.

Board Vice President Joe Caffrey, who also chaired the committee that reviewed the options, announced the proposal to standing-room only crowd in the district administration building’s small conference room, the front row of seats filled with architects, engineers, bankers and other professionals who have provided advice on the decision.

A feasibility study initially looked at five sites for new construction, the complete renovation of Coughlin and Meyers, or building new schools on those existing sites.

As he has increasingly done, Caffrey rejected characterizations that the decision process has been rushed. The board has been told by officials at the state department of education that it must submit initial paperwork for possible construction cost reimbursements by July 1, but Caffrey insisted it was his plan all along to bring a recommendation to the board around this time. The state deadline merely pushed the process ahead by a few weeks.

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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.


East End’s Bakery Square 2.0 Complex Adds Townhouses

Construction of 52 luxury townhouses is expected to start this summer in the East End’s Bakery Square 2.0 complex, bringing the first for-sale housing to an area where apartment, office, retail and tech development has blossomed.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” said Gregg Perelman, CEO of Walnut Capital Partners, developers of the growing Bakery Square complex along Penn Avenue in Larimer and Shadyside.

Perelman said the townhouse development will be called Bakery Village. Prices will start in the “mid-to-high $400,000 range,” Perelman said.

“It’s the right price point for this market,” Perelman said.

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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.

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On Ridge Avenue Progress Would Go By The Initials PHA

Editor’s note:  This could be a game changer if it can be pulled off.  Hoping it is a success.

From Bruce Webb’s chair, pulled to the entryway of his record and cassette store on Ridge Avenue, the decay is inescapable. Across the street, a faded sign for Irv’s Meat Market & Delicatessen boasts, “Home of the Giant Hoagie.” Next door, Ahn’s Fresh Fish & Produce is for sale.

Both stores are vacant, and have been for years.

One recent day, Webb saw two younger men photographing the crumbled Irv’s storefront. Speculators, Webb dubbed them.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Webb, 81, said. “Change is coming.”

The source of that proposed change to a once-vibrant business corridor that stretched from Girard College to Cecil B. Moore Avenue is an unlikely one: the Philadelphia Housing Authority.


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.


Lancaster City Zoners Grant Variances For Lancaster General Hospital $60M Expansion

Lancaster General Health has received variances from city regulations that will enable its planned $60 million expansion of Lancaster General Hospital to move ahead.

With little discussion and no public opposition, the Lancaster Zoning Hearing Board on Monday approved variances to building height and setback requirements.

The county’s largest health care provider wants to expand the Stauffer building on the northeast corner of the hospital at Lime and Frederick streets to eight floors, putting in 66 private rooms.

Joseph Puskar, an LGH senior vice president, said the hospital is responding to changes in the health care industry.

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Downtown Pittsburgh Continues On Strong Growth Trajectory

DSC01801Developers announced about three dozen economic development projects totaling $526 million in Pittsburgh’s Greater Downtown in 2014, capitalizing on dramatic growth in recent years, according to a report released Thursday.

“With more than $5 billion of transformative investment in Downtown Pittsburgh over the last decade, Downtown is well-positioned,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the nonprofit Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

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Officials Hold Ribbon Cutting Ceremony In Norristown For 24 Townhouses At Arbor Mews

NORRISTOWN, PA – The ribbon-cutting ceremony was a casual affair at the 24-unit Arbor Mews townhouse project Thursday on DeKalb Street.

Nine of the 24 townhouses have been sold and two more are under deposit, said Sarah Peck, the president of Progressive Housing Ventures.

“We will have purchase settlements twice a week from mid-May to mid-June with the homeowners moving in shortly after that. Seven of the buyers are first-time homebuyers and four qualified for at least one grant to help with the townhouse purchase.”

Construction for the overall project is expected to be complete in late fall or early next year.

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Wilkes-Barre Area To Submit Plans For New High School

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board voted 8-1 Monday to submit plans to build a new high school by a July 1 deadline.

The deadline is when the state plans to impose a moratorium on the state PlanCon funding process for school construction projects. The board now has about a month to select a design option.

The district’s design team needs at least two weeks to finalize the submission to the state by July 1.

The design team of four engineering firms concluded a building feasibility study in December, and it includes a several options, such as building one consolidated high school for the entire district, keeping the current three-high school setup or building two new high schools and converting GAR High School into a middle school.

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Hazelwood: Almono Gives Neighborhood A Shot At Recovery

Salvation sits just across the railroad tracks from Alex Bodnar’s Hungarian restaurant on Second Avenue in Hazelwood.

It doesn’t look like much now, just acres and acres of vacant land, graded but idle. But the redevelopment potential of the 178-acre site has raised the hopes of the struggling city neighborhood.

“The good Lord is answering my prayer,” Mr. Bodnar beamed as he stood in the kitchen of his restaurant preparing a bowl of goulash.

For much of the last century, the Monongahela riverfront site has been closely tied to the neighborhood’s fortunes. For decades, the massive coke works that dominated the land brought prosperity. Jobs were plentiful and Second Avenue teemed with grocery stores, shops and restaurants.

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New Memorial Hospital Of York Plan Prompts Traffic, Noise Concerns

Related: Memorial to break ground on replacement hospital.

Memorial Hospital held a public forum at the West Manchester Township building that allowed community members to view the plans for the replacement hospital.

Here are some of their concerns:


Deb Kauffman, CEO of White Rose Credit Union attended because her business is located near the new hospital. She is concerned about traffic but hopes the new hospital will bring in some more business.

Will there be speed bumps? Traffic lights? Reduced speed? These are all questions Doreen Lehr had after seeing the photos of the plan because she lives right at the entrance on Roosevelt Road. She says during rush hour it takes her five to 10 minutes to get out of her driveway as it is and people speed. They’ll have to expand the road, her husband, Joseph Lehr suggested.

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Costco, Whole Foods Shopping Center Groundbreaking Set For This Week In Lower Macungie Township

A Whole Foods executive is slated to join Hamilton Crossings developers and local officials this week for the shopping center’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Whole Foods Market Executive Coordinator David Pinkney will be on hand for the Thursday afternoon event to be held at the future site of his company’s first Lehigh Valley store, developers announced Monday.

Representatives from The Goldenberg Group, of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and TCH Development, of Staten Island, New York; state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie; a representative from state Sen. Pat Browne’s office; Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller; Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners President Ryan Conrad and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President Don Cunningham are expected to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony, as well. It will be held at 4972 Medical Center Circle near the Wescosville Recreation Center.

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Lehigh Valley Health Network Looking To Almost Double Muhlenberg Hospital

Lehigh Valley Health Network is looking to almost double its Muhlenberg hospital in Bethlehem, according to new plans submitted to the city.

LVHN has proposed a six-story, 155-bed addition to its current 188-bed Schoenersville Road hospital. The plans have been submitted to Bethlehem but haven’t yet been scheduled for consideration, Bethlehem Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning Tracy Samuelson said.

LVHN spokesman Brian Downs declined Monday to discuss the plans, calling them preliminary.

“We’re considering things all the time,” he said.

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$60 Million Expansion Planned For Lancaster General Hospital

Lancaster County’s largest health care provider announced this morning that it is planning a six-story, $60 million expansion of its flagship facility, Lancaster General Hospital.

The expansion would enable the hospital to provide all private patient rooms, Lancaster General health said in a news release.

The LG Health Board of Trustees is scheduled to make a final decision on the project at its May meeting, according to the release. Work completed thus far is in anticipation of trustee and municipal approvals, it said, “to enable construction to begin as early as this summer.”

“Among LGH’s current 533 inpatient beds, 142 are located in semi-private rooms,” the release said. “LG Health plans to expand onto the northeast corner of the hospital, near Lime and Frederick streets.”

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Apartment Tower With 164 Units Approved Near Drexel University

A new apartment tower is scheduled to rise at 32nd and Race streets near the campus of Drexel University after receiving approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday.

The project includes 164 apartment units in a 192-foot tower, along with 12 three-story townhomes serving as a buffer between the tower and the lower-density Powelton Village neighborhood. It will have underground parking space to serve the apartment tower and a small surface lot serving the townhomes. The apartment tower will also include a child-care center that will be open to the public, serving around 150 children and employing 20 adults (presumably).


Dennis Benner Proceeding With Plans For 7-Story Building In South Bethlehem

Developer Dennis Benner is proceeding with his long-held plans for a 7-story building at Third and New streets in Bethlehem.

Benner originally intended six floors of offices with first-floor retail on the corner but his new plans submitted to the city show one floor of retail, four floors of offices and two floors of apartments.

His plans will go before the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District for review at 7 p.m. Monday at Town Hall.

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Planned Smallman Place Condos In Strip District Selling Fast

Sales agreements are in place for about two-thirds of the 36 condominiums that a suburban Philadelphia developer is planning in the Strip District, months before construction is set to begin.

The Smallman Place condos went on the market in the first week of April.

“If you have the right project at the right place and the right price, you can be successful,” said developer Jack Benoff of Solara Ventures Inc.

Benoff has been one of Pittsburgh’s most active condo developers in recent years. He converted 941 Penn Ave., Downtown, and the Otto Milk building in the Strip District into condo buildings that sold out quickly, with the exception of a $1.8 million penthouse at Otto Milk that’s now under agreement.

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(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.