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

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Owners Donate CNA Building In Reading To I-LEAD Charter School

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A major piece of the downtown Reading puzzle has a new owner.

The five-story, 260,000-square-foot CNA Insurance building at Fourth and Penn streets has been donated to the I-LEAD Charter School, company and school officials said.

“It’s a blessing from the sky,” said Angel Figueroa, vice president for resource and development at I-LEAD. “It’s going to change the lives of many young people.”

Officials from CNA and I-LEAD are expected to officially announce the donation at an event this afternoon.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515104

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

Pottstown School Board Approves Keystone Tax Break For New Business

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  See what happens when we are all on the same page!  This sends a positive signal to the investment community that Pottstown is “OPEN FOR BUSINESS”.   This needs to happen more often.  Two Thumbs Up to all involved!

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-2 vote Monday night, the Pottstown School Board endorsed a property tax break for a business that wants to re-locate to the former 84 Lumber truss plant on Keystone Boulevard.

School board members Polly Weand and Andrew Kefer cast the only votes against endorsing the Keystone Opportunity Zone tax exemption for Conshohocken-based Heritage Coach Co., which sells hearses and limousines.

The vote comes just three days after state Rep. Mark Painter, D-146th Dist., announced his support for the tax break.

Under the terms of the deal negotiated by Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana and Borough Manager Mark Flanders, Heritage would pay no property taxes in the first three years of the 10-year deal.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130326/NEWS01/130329480/pottstown-school-board-approves-tax-break-for-new-business

Pottstown School Board Urged To Approve KOZ Deal

Editor’s note:  We agree!

The Pottstown School Board is set to vote tonight on a tax break deal that would bring a new business to the Keystone Opportunity Zone.

Pottstown Borough Council has approved the tax break, but if the school board votes no, the plan is nixed.

The three boards that levy property tax — council, school board and county commissioners — must all approve it for the business to relocate to Pottstown.  Montgomery County Commissioners have said they will go along with whatever the two local governing bodies decide.

As with council, we urge the school board to vote yes to this proposal as an incentive to business and as a smart move in the longer view of the borough economic development.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130325/OPINION01/130329656/pottstown-school-board-urged-to-approve-koz-deal-#full_story

Pottstown Council OKs Business Tax Break With 4-3 Vote

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — With a 4-3 vote, borough council Monday night approved a tax-abatement incentive for a hearse and limousine business seeking to take over the vacant former 84 Lumber building at 451 Keystone Blvd.

Councilmen Dan Weand, Travis Gery and Joe Kirkland voted against extending the Keystone Opportunity Zone property tax break, while it was supported by Council President Stephen Toroney, vice president Jeff Chomnuk and council members Mark Gibson and Carol Kulp.

The matter now moves to the school board, which oversees a much larger slice of the borough’s tax burden and stands to sacrifice substantially more money under the proposed agreement.  It is expected to vote on the matter at its March 25 meeting.

The Montgomery County Commissioners, who must also approve the deal, have indicated they will approve it as long as the borough and the school district do, according to Steve Bamford, Pottstown’s chief economic development officer and an advocate for the deal council approved.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130311/NEWS01/130319844/pottstown-council-oks-business-tax-break-with-4-3-vote#full_story