Can The Wyoming Valley’s Platter Hold More Restaurants?

WILKES-BARRE TWP., PA — Five national chain restaurants opened in the area last year and two more are slated to open soon. Two others — Pizza Hut and Lone Star — went out of business last month.

So has area’s restaurant bubble finally popped?

No, said John Bartorillo, president of Maslow Lumia Bartorillo Advertising in Wilkes-Barre.

“Saturated? No,” said Bartorillo. “We have not reached that point yet.”

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-home_top/151817501/Is-there-room-for-more

Center City District: Housing Boom Continues

The housing boom rolling across central Philadelphia showed no signs of weakening last year, according to data released Tuesday, but a population exodus could be on the near horizon if little is done to fix the city’s schools and tax structure.

The news was mostly positive out of Center City District’s annual housing report, which found that 1,983 new apartments, condos, and houses between Girard and Tasker Avenues, and the Schuylkill and Delaware River hit the market in 2014, thanks to an influx of empty nesters and young professionals, said CCD chief executive Paul Levy.

That number was down 8.5 percent from the record-breaking 2,168 logged a year earlier. But Levy and his staff concluded that demand for the torrent of new construction of homes and apartments would be strong for at least several more years.

“Property is selling for more. It’s selling more quickly,” Levy said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150218_Center_City_District__Housing_boom_continues.html#gfAQAl0PUIx9wOV9.99

Lehigh Valley Apartments Are Still Booming With No Bust In Sight, Experts Say

When Mark Mulligan saw how fast his new apartments in Easton’s former Pomeroy’s building were leasing, he started snapping up more city properties for more rentals.

Now more developers are jumping on board. In one week alone this month, three new apartment projects were announced in the Easton area, including a plan for 240 apartments at an abandoned industrial site in Palmer Township.

City Center Lehigh Valley is building 370 apartments in Allentown, 570 apartments have been approved along Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem Township and the long-stalled Dixie Cup factory renovation in Wilson Borough appears to be finally starting with plans for 250 apartments.

There’s no denying that the Lehigh Valley is in the midst of an apartment boom. But will there be a bust?

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/02/lehigh_valley_apartments_are_s.html

Plan To Relocate Pittsburgh Playhouse Downtown Approved; Millcraft Proposes Condos For Saks Site

The stage is set for the relocation of the Pittsburgh Playhouse to Downtown. City planning commission members unanimously approved plans for construction of new playhouse complex on Forbes Avenue Downtown today, clearing the way for its move from Oakland.

Approval came over the objections of preservationists who urged the commission to no avail to save three Forbes Avenue facades that will be relocated and integrated into the new complex under the plans advanced by Point Park University.

With today’s decision, Point Park intends to start construction in March with the demolition of three Forbes Avenue buildings and hopes to have the new complex ready for audiences in July 2017.

The $53 million project will feature a 550-seat main theater, a 200-seat adaptive theater with doors that will open to a plaza for outdoor performances, a 100-seat black box theater and supporting facilities.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/02/10/Millcraft-proposes-to-build-condos-garage-at-former-Saks-site-Downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201502100184

NY Times: Millennials Driving Apartment Boom In Wilmington

Wilmington is becoming quite the hot spot for young professionals.

In Delaware’s largest city, about 30 miles south on I-95 from Philadelphia, the downtown is expanding with several hundred apartments on the way.

These new apartments, profiled in a New York Times article this week, are aimed at millennials who are “driving increased demand for city-center living, car-free commutes and transit oriented development in cities around the country,” the article states.

To build these residential units, developers are taking vacant or underused buildings and either demolishing or renovating them.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/philadelphia-real-estate/NY-Times-Millennials-driving-apartment-boom-in-Wilmington.html#LYzMk5JseugGvOJ3.99

Costco, Whole Foods Shopping Center Tenant Roster Almost Full; Project Set For Spring 2016 Opening

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP, PA – The Hamilton Crossings tenant roster is almost full, project developers Tim Harrison and Jeremy Fogel said Tuesday.

Nearly 100 percent of the retail and restaurant space available at the 570,000-square-foot shopping center has been leased, they said during a presentation organized by Commercial Real Estate Women Network Lehigh Valley.

“There are people that, personally, I’d like to fit, but we just don’t have the room,” said Harrison, of Staten Island, N.Y.

The Lower Macungie Township complex will feature several Lehigh Valley firsts — Costco, Whole Foods and Nordstrom’s Rack — but declined to name retailers or restaurants that have not previously been announced.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/01/hamilton_crossings_lower_macun.html

Target Aiming To Build Small Center City Stores

For years, landlords tried to coax Target to open one of its big-box stores in the heart of Philadelphia. Each time they failed, daunted by the difficulty of plunking a store the size of two football fields into a packed downtown.

That chase appears to have come to an end, with a much smaller version called Target Express now looking to make a splash at multiple locations in the hottest pockets of redevelopment near Philadelphia’s core.

Target Corp. is hunting for lease deals in Center City and University City to build what could be as many as four of the new stores, which are about one-sixth the size of a suburban Target.

The goal is to bring the brand to the very Baby Boomers and young professionals who became loyal customers in the suburbs, but who increasingly are moving into resurgent central Philadelphia.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150109_Target_aiming_to_build_small_Center_City_stores.html#jQsGpabPqVtiiwUp.99

Alliance Aims To Transform Vacant Parcel In St. Clair To Include Townhouses, Urban Farming

The site of a former public housing complex in St. Clair might become the home of a residential community that could fund one of the largest urban farms in the country, nonprofit officials said.

“It’s definitely a significant plan, but it’s not going to be easy,” said Aaron Sukenik, executive director of the Hilltop Alliance, which wants to redevelop the site and operate the farm.

The Housing Authority of the city of Pittsburgh demolished the 61-year-old St. Clair Village public housing complex in 2010 as it sought to reshape the look of public housing in the city to a model that had less-dense communities and more mixed incomes.

The Hilltop Alliance wants to turn the vacant, 107-acre parcel into Hilltop Village Farm, which would include 120 for-sale and rental townhouses, as well as an urban farm using about 20 acres for a farm incubator, youth farm and community-supported agriculture farm, or CSA.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/7413350-74/farm-housing-hilltop#ixzz3MeUTxCjn
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Developer Reveals Buncher Plans For 400 Strip District Apartments, Townhomes

The Buncher Co. and a Cleveland-based developer said Thursday they are moving ahead with plans to build 400 residential units along the edge of the Allegheny River in the Strip District.

Buncher, which is based in the Strip, ultimately plans to pump more than $400 million into residential and office development on the riverfront, including $100 million on the 400 units.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/7405861-74/plans-buncher-riverfront#ixzz3MITj3mEJ
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South Bethlehem Complex Of 110 Luxury Apartments, Offices And Stores To Start In Spring With Authority Approval

The developer of Bethlehem’s first City Revitalization and Improvement Zone project got approval Thursday to proceed with a second project.

BethWorks Renovations’ three-building complex of 110 luxury apartments, offices and retail space will flank its first project, a distillery called Social Still slatted to open on East Third Street as early as this weekend, the developer said.

Construction on Greenway Commons, as the three-building complex is called, will follow starting in March, said Rob de Beer, the development director for Peron Development, a BethWorks-affiliated company. The company plans to start construction on the two retail-and-apartment buildings in March with the retail-and-office building starting as soon as a nearby garage the complex plans to use for parking is underway, de Beer said.

The complex will be built atop three parking lots across from Northampton Community College. BethWorks bought the lots from the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. in 2004, de Beer said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/12/south_bethlehem_complex_of_110.html

PhillyDeals: Expansion Planned At King Of Prussia Plaza And Court

King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia Mall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based retail giant that owns 200-plus shopping malls nationwide, is sacrificing more than 400 parking spaces at its King of Prussia Plaza and Court to make room for at least 50 new stores and restaurants that it hopes will draw more wealthy shoppers to the region’s biggest retail complex.

At extra-large shopping centers such as King of Prussia, at least, “the mall business is good, contrary to some of the naysayers,” David Contis, president of Simon Malls and a corporate senior vice president, told me Monday.

His company bought out other investors to take control of the King of Prussia mall in 2011, in deals that valued the complex at over $1 billion.

Contis said he expected to attract luxury stores from outside the region and “the best of the Philadelphia eateries” to the new space, rather than shifting current tenants there.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141118_PhillyDeals__Expansion_planned_at_King_Of_Prussia_Plaza_and_Court.html#4mWT6geTQWCWiwR1.99

Center City Allentown High-End Apartments Renting Far Faster Than Expected, Developer Says

English: View of Allentown City from east side

English: View of Allentown City from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Developer J.B. Reilly has been building apartments for 25 years, but he’s never seen demand like he’s seeing now for his high-end apartments in Center City Allentown.

His company, City Center Lehigh Valley, announced Sept. 8 it was accepting deposits for 170 apartments in the under-construction Strata Luxury Flats at Four City Center. Two months later, almost half have deposits on them.

“I’ve been in the apartment development business my whole career and we’ve never experienced this kind of demand – even close to this kind of demand,” Reilly said Friday.

The interest in the apartments is tied to the new attention on Allentown’s downtown, Reilly said. In recent months, new restaurants, office space and a minor league hockey arena have opened, with Reilly leading much of the development.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/11/center_city_allentown_high-end.html

Charleroi Envisions Riverfront Destination As Focal Point Of Business Redevelopment Plan

Map of Washington County higlighting Charleroi.

Map of Washington County higlighting Charleroi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Imagine that, another town with a vision and a plan…with the rash of shootings going on in Pottstown again….a vision and a plan would be in order.  Just sayin’…

Donn Henderson sees the Charleroi riverfront development he wants 25 miles away in Pittsburgh.

“It’s not rocket science. There are plenty of examples,” said Henderson, manager of the borough, which will announce a redevelopment plan for the central business district Thursday. “Just look at the North Side. That’s a great model. The South Side, too.”

Re-creating Pittsburgh’s successes deep in Washington County‘s Mon Valley will not be easy. But continuing to watch the once-thriving industrial and retail community lose population amid growing drug and crime problems certainly will accomplish nothing, Henderson said.

“We cannot continue that trend and survive,” he said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/7133358-74/charleroi-henderson-buildings#ixzz3IxX1Lmiv
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Whole Foods Market Coming To Lancaster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Whole Foods Market is on its way to Lancaster County.

But shoppers who have been waiting a long time to read a sentence like that could have to wait three more years before they actually walk through the doors of the natural and organic food grocer.

Whole Foods Market announced Thursday that it has signed a lease for a 40,000-square-foot store in the Shoppes at Belmont, a mixed-use development planned at the corner of Fruitville Pike and Route 30.

“The people in and around Lancaster have been asking for a Whole Foods Market for some time now — and we’re excited to make it a reality,” Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic regional president, said in a press release.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/whole-foods-market-coming-to-lancaster/article_ecfe3a06-65c4-11e4-b17e-0017a43b2370.html

Residents Start To Move Into South Side Lofts Affordable Artists Complex In Bethlehem

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Some residents have moved into a new affordable housing complex in South Side Bethlehem that includes the redevelopment of the former St. Stanislaus Church.

Residents have started to move into the South Side Lofts apartments at East Fifth and Atlantic streets while apartments next to the church on Hayes Street will be occupied starting next month, according to officials at Housing Development Corp. MidAtlantic, the apartments’ developer.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 46 apartments was held Tuesday. Read more about the project here.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/residents_start_to_move_into_s.html

Brandywine Finds Partner For 29-Story Apt. Tower At 1919 Market St.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Brandywine Realty Trust, the Radnor company that is the dominant office landlord in Center City, says it has a partner and detailed plans to build a 29-story, 321-apartment, $140 million tower on the grassy lot it controls at 1919 Market St. in Center City. The tower will also feature 24,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, mostly leased to Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and the CVS drugstore chain. Statement here.

Brandywine’s 50-50 joint venture partner for 1919 Market is Berwyn-based LCOR CalSTERS, a successor to the former Linpro Co., which now manages property investments for the California State Teachers Retirement System. The partners arranged to borrow $88.9 million for the project, pricing the credit at Libor plus 2.25%. Equity investment is $59.2 million, split by the two partners; Brandywine’s half includes the $13 million value of the land. The company projects a cash yield (rent/cost) of 7% a year (vs 8% for Brandywine’s $385 million FMC office/apartment tower, and 7.6% at Brandywine’s $158 million Evo apartment project, both in University City).

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/New-29-story-tower-proposed-for-1919-Market-St-.html#bOWzSHLeSA7BBpJU.99

South Bethlehem Historic Board Approves 9-Story Building After Previously Panning It

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

After voicing strong opposition last month to a proposed 9-story building on West Fourth Street, the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District voted 5-2 Monday to support the building’s design.

District board Chairwoman Beth Starbuck said she had been very troubled by the building’s height until she realized Hotel Bethlehem also was nine stories and doesn’t stick out badly on Main Street.

“I’m not happy with the scale of this, either, but I’m less freaked out about it — it just never occurred to me that the Hotel Bethlehem is that tall,” she said.

The board makes recommendations to Bethlehem City Council, and board Historic Officer Christine Ussler said there’s a fear if the board is often overruled by council “this developer and other developers will get the sense we don’t count.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/south_bethlehem_historic_board.html

Allentown Could Be Blueprint For New Development

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ALLENTOWN, PA – Three years ago, run-down tattoo parlors and pawnshops dominated Hamilton Street, the main drag in Pennsylvania’s third-largest city.

Now they’re gone, replaced by high-tech firms, high-end restaurants, and a burst of construction activity. In 22 months, seven buildings of at least 10 stories have gone up along Hamilton Street, and two older buildings were rehabbed. The centerpiece is the PPL Center, a new, gleaming, 10,000-seat arena that this week opens as the new hockey home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers’ minor league affiliate.

Bolstered by special legislation that diverts most of the state taxes on new development within a 130-acre urban zone, supporters say what’s happened in Allentown could be a blueprint for other long-suffering small cities eager to shed their industrial past.

“I think we’re trying to change the Allentown identity,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said over lunch Thursday at the Hamilton, one of five new downtown restaurants. “It was so jerry-rigged over the years there wasn’t much of an identity left.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20141012_Allentown_could_be_blueprint_for_new_development.html#elAVd62cIEa7dzdL.99

Four-Building SouthSide Works Project Unveiled

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)

Since arriving in Pittsburgh three years ago, Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties has acquired iconic PPG Place and EQT Plaza, Downtown. Now it’s moving across the river — to build, not to buy.

The real estate investment trust has reached an agreement with the Soffer Organization to erect four office buildings at the 34-acre SouthSide Works complex on the last four parcels left for development.

Highwoods plans to start with a 158,000-square-foot glass office building on the Monongahela riverfront next to Hofbrauhaus restaurant. The six-story building would feature 30,000-square-foot floor plates, terraces, an 8,000-square-foot restaurant, locker rooms, bike storage, a 72-space parking garage, and direct access to the waterfront park, trails and marina. Other buildings would follow based on demand — about 400,000 square feet of office and retail space in all.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/10/10/4-building-SouthSide-Works-project-unveiled/stories/201410100105

Alco Proposing Two Office Towers, Parking Garage On North Shore

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)

Three years ago, Alco Parking president Merrill Stabile was rebuffed when he offered the city’s Stadium Authority $10 million to buy land on North Shore Drive for a “signature office tower.”

Now Mr. Stabile is back — this time with plans for a new office development and parking garage on the land he owns behind PNC Park on the North Shore.

As conceived, the project would feature two, 11-story glass office towers erected on top of a new five-story, 1,227-space parking garage. In all, as much as 600,000 square feet of Class A office space would be built.

“We think it’s a game-changer,” said Kim Clackson, senior vice president of CBRE, which is marketing the “very dramatic” development that would rise above the ballpark and offer views of the Downtown skyline.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/10/09/Alco-proposing-2-office-towers-parking-garage-on-North-Shore/stories/201410090197