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

Developers Hope To Attract Grocery Store To Former Bethlehem Steel Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Developers are seeking to attract a grocery store to the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site on Bethlehem’s South Side.

Former Mayor John Callahan, now director of development for one of the site landowners, said Thursday that they’re looking to get a grocery store into the former Steel General Office building, or in a new building planned across East Third Street from the former Steel headquarters.

“I certainly have heard about the idea of putting a grocery store in part of the SGO project and I also believe that potential use would be a good fit for across the street,” said Callahan, who now works for attorney Michael Perrucci, part owner of Steel site co-owner BethWorks Now. “I think there’s only a need for one and it’s just a matter of trying to figure out where best to put it.”

At an unrelated news conference Thursday, ArtsQuest officials displayed a map that showed a future grocery store planned along with apartments and parking at the 13-story Steel General Office building. ArtsQuest President Jeff Parks said he got approval from Sands BethWorks officials to include the plans on the map.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/03/developers_seeking_to_attract.html

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Philly Fires 13 Part-Timers For Double-Dipping

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department has fired or accepted resignations from 13 part-time workers after an investigation found that they had violated rules against double-dipping in public employment.

Ten were schoolteachers, two were U.S. Postal Service employees and one worked for the state Attorney General’s Office. All 13 lost their part-time gigs with the city as assistant recreation-center leaders, but may keep their full-time jobs.

None of the fired workers appear to be accused of holding “no-show” positions or failing to fulfill their responsibilities in both jobs.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20140103_City_fires_13_part-timers_for_double-dipping.html#KUefjX46dMcM2GtA.99

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Bethlehem South Side Business District To Get Major Retail, Office, Student Housing Complex

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

A $56.5 million redevelopment project including significant retail, office and student housing space is planned for Bethlehem’s South Side business district.

Developer Dennis Benner today revealed plans for a 13-story student housing and retail complex on the first block of West Fourth Street and a seven-story office and retail complex a block north at West Third and South New streets.

Construction on the project, which includes a 507-space parking garage, is scheduled to start in the second quarter of next year and take 24 months.

Benner, a Lehigh University graduate, said he’s long heard complaints about how there isn’t enough for college students and young professionals to do in the city and that his complex aims to remedy that. His retail plans include high-end restaurants and lounges, likely including a wine bar, he said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2013/11/bethlehem_south_side_business.html

Massive Foreclosure Sale: 16 Office Buildings, $67M In Debt, Spanning 2 Counties

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in th...

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in the south central part of the of . Red denotes the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the Lebanon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sixteen office buildings, $67 million in debt.

It is a sprawling real estate portfolio, one that stretches from Mechanicsburg in the west to Lower Paxton Township in the east. And its all being put up for sale to the highest bidder in October, dramatically enough on the steps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Harrisburg.

The foreclosure sale – one of the largest, if not the largest in the midstate’s recent history – comes after a year-long, largely uncontested civil case in federal court, between one of the nation’s largest banks and a real estate company which serves as proxy for other, largely unknown investors.

The buildings include sites in Rossmoyne Business Park in Upper Allen Township, Interstate Drive in Susquehanna Township, and along Flank Drive in Lower Paxton, home to dozens of private businesses and several state agencies, including PEMA.

Reads more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/massive_foreclosure_scheduled.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Details Of Lancaster Revitalization Zone Program Are Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Invoking the spirit of Ronald Reagan, Mayor Rick Gray summed it up best when he quoted the former president, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

That was the theme of a Wednesday morning press conference, where local elected officials and business leaders gathered to celebrate the passage of a bipartisan revitalization program that could deliver $100 million to Lancaster city.

“In an arena where the habitual reluctance of so many to reach reasonable solutions can be absolutely mind-boggling, today the story changes a bit,” said state Sen. Lloyd Smucker.

Surrounded by about 20 community organizers representing voters on both sides of the aisle, the Republican thanked his colleagues for months of hard work on the program, for which he has been a leading force.

Read more:  http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/870949_Details-of-Lancaster-revitalization-zone-program-are-unveiled.html

Allentown’s City Center Gets NIZ Pay Day Of $14.4 Million

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Close to half of the $31.8 million in mostly state tax dollars swept up by Allentown‘s arena zone last year will go to the private developer erecting an 11-story office building across Seventh Street from the arena.

City Center Investment Corp. will get $14.4 million of the tax dollars generated by its projects to put toward its construction and land acquisition loans.  The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority will get $17.4 million to pay its debt for building PPL Center.

About $2 million would go into state coffers from a part of the city that is estimated to have been generating $22 million in state money before the Neighborhood Improvement Zone was created.

The figures were released Wednesday by ANIZDA Executive Director Sara Hailstone, a month after The Morning Call filed a Right-to-Know request for the information, which was compiled April 6 by authority consultants Compass Point and Concannon Miller.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-arena-zone-tax-dollars-20130529,0,4840494.story

Allentown Hockey Arena Zone Businesses Putting Up Money For Downtown Improvements, Facades

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conscious that the borders of Allentown’s new arena district could become a visible dividing line between the haves and have nots, two downtown businesses are pumping $300,000 into the neighborhood just outside the arena zone.

City Center Investment Corp. will donate $200,000 and PPL will kick in $100,000 to help as many as 30 businesses along Hamilton Street remake their storefronts.

The deal comes as city and community leaders have spent months considering how to help the massive tax incentives undergirding the $272 million arena, hotel and office complex spill into the struggling communities just outside the Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

Under the program, businesses along Hamilton Street, between 10th and 12th streets — the first two blocks outside the NIZ — can get grants of roughly $15,000 to reface their shops.  By the time city officials finished their 20-minute news conference Monday to announce the program, six eligible businesses had already expressed interest in the free money.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-hockey-arena-facades-20130429-55,0,6163711.story

Renovations Will Turn Albright College Building Into Class Act

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Albright College will embark on the first step of a master plan as it begins multimillion-dollar renovations to the Rockland Professional Center this summer.

College officials plan to transform the office building at 13th and Rockland streets into a modern hub for its accounting, political science, economics and business departments.

Provost Andrea Chapdelaine said the move is all part of the master plan developed for the college in 2008 called “That Their Light May Shine: The Campaign for Albright College.”

The college experienced significant growth in the early 2000s, reaching its current 1,650 students, but the campus size stayed the same.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471347

Baltimore City Council Approves Tax Break For New Apartments

Developers converting older office buildings into apartments or building new complexes could get a significant tax break under a measure the Baltimore City Council approved Monday.

The legislation is aimed at addressing a glut of vacancies in office buildings downtown, encouraging new or converted apartments in six other neighborhoods, and drawing new residents to the city.

The list of requirements to qualify for the tax break is short: The development must be in one of the seven areas, must be a project involving at least 50 apartment units, and must have an environmentally friendly certification.  Supporters said this tax break would be more “predictable” for developers, who typically have to lobby City Hall for individual incentives.

“It can open up the development market to outside developers,” said Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, which lobbied for the credit.  “Before, developers had to know the system in order to access some [tax] credits. It will create more predictability and transparency.”

Read more:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-apartment-tax-incentive-20130408,0,332010.story

In York County, Telecommuters Extol Its Perks

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

York, PA – Yahoo recently said it was ending the telecommuting option for its employees.

After it was criticized for the decision, the company issued a brief, follow-up release, saying it was not offering a broad judgment on the practice of working from home.

In recent years, telecommuting has become a more viable option for some professions as work moves to online platforms that are accessible from any computer.

Local telecommuters have said they are glad for the option to work from home or outside a formal office environment because it eliminates the distractions of the office.

Read more:  http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_22748732/telecommuters-extol-its-perks

Fulton Bank’s Expansion Grows By 75 Percent

Plans for Fulton Bank‘s expansion near Lancaster‘s Penn Square may have been delayed by two years, but those plans have also increased in size by 75 percent.

The county’s largest bank now plans an eight-story office building, with a two-level underground parking garage at 23 E. King St.

Project planners on Tuesday provided no cost estimate for the 159.000-square-foot building which will replace the former Sovereign Bank building now on the site.

The building was originally slated for completion in 2013.  In May, Fulton announced it would be begin construction next spring of a 91,000-square-foot, six story building that was due to be completed in spring 2015.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/728196_Fulton-Bank-s-expansion-grows-by-75-percent.html#ixzz25t5BQYml

‘Office’ Closing Up Shop – Sitcom To End After Nine Seasons

Even the best businesses close at some point.

In the case of the Scranton branch of struggling, midsize paper concern Dunder Mifflin, that time will be next spring.

On Tuesday, Greg Daniels, executive producer of the Scranton-set NBC sitcom “The Office,” told The Times-Tribune that the show will come to an end following its ninth season, which begins in September.

“It’s been a good run,” Mr. Daniels said during a phone interview from the show’s production office in Los Angeles.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/office-closing-up-shop-1.1362176

Chester’s $500 Million Dollar “Renaissance On The River”

PPL Park during the inaugural match between Ph...

Image via Wikipedia

It all began when PECO Energy closed its inefficient Delaware County Power Plant along the banks of the Delaware River in Chester.  The 400,000 square foot structure and the surrounding site needed some serious clean up.  After all, for most of the last century the 100 acre site was home to a huge coal to steam to electric power plant!  PECO sold 63 acres to Preferred Real Estate Investments (PREI).  They gave the City of Chester seven acres and PECO operates some small peak generating units and a substation on 20 acres.

PECO and PREI spent 1½ years and $10 million dollars on environmental clean up and demolition so that this structure could be turned into a mixed-use Class A office and retail space.  The Wharf at Rivertown is also located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) which gives amazing tax incentives to companies who open a business within its borders. (Pottstown has a KOZ off College Drive).  This project is an example of adaptive reuse.  From 10,000 tons of scrap metal to 20,000 tons of bricks (and everything in between) were recycled in this project.

This $60 million dollar project has 1.4 million square feet of space, two marinas, restaurants and a river walk.  Tenants include Wells Fargo, Synergy, AdminServer, Achristavest and the Power Home Remodeling Group

Also included within the larger Rivertown complex is the $120 million dollar, 18,500-seat, PPL Park.  PPL Park is the home of the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer team, and was financed in part by a $25 million dollar economic revitalization package given by the state of Pennsylvania.  Chester also received another $7 million dollars from the state to be used towards a two-phase project in the Rivertown complex which includes 186 townhouses, 25 apartments, 335,000 square feet of office space, a 200,000 square-foot convention center, 20,000 square feet of retail space and a parking structure for 1,350 cars.  The second half of the project will include 200 apartments, 100,000 square feet of office space and 22,000 square feet of retail space.

The Pennsylvania State Corrections Institution Chester and the 100,000 square-foot Harrah’s Casino and Racetrack are also located within Rivertown.  Originally, this land was part of the Sun Shipbuilding Complex that at one time employed 40,000 people!

The Wharf at Rivertown has added 1,200 jobs to Chester.  It is expected to eventually add 2,500 jobs.  Other projects such as PPL Park, the prison and Harrah’s significantly add to that total.  PPL Park, which opened June 27, 2010, is seen as “the spark” that will ignite a full-scale renaissance of Pennsylvania’s first city, Chester.

Another benefit of this project is that a half mile of riverfront was opened back up to the community after nearly 100 years.

Sounds better than senior rental apartments, now doesn’t it!

Hat tip to Jeff Leflar for suggesting I write about this.