FMC Corp. has agreed to move its headquarters from 1745 Market St. in Center City into the new tower that Brandywine Realty Trust has been trying to build, NE corner of 30th and Walnut Sts. in University City, for the past 5 years. The $341 million FMC Tower will rise 47 stories -- 650 feet -- and include 575,000 sq ft of offices, 10,000 sq ft of retail -- plus 260 apartments.
The way John Columbo saw it, East Chestnut Street in Center City was a ghetto. From 8th to 13th, the once-beautiful and bustling street brimmed with empty storefronts with graffitied windows and bottom-feeder businesses like dollar stores and check-cashing joints. Drug dealers jockeyed with street hustlers for sidewalk space.
It was the perfect place, he and his business partner Mike Lewis decided six years ago, for their gourmet cupcake bakery, Philly Cupcake. “You look at what everybody else is doing and do the opposite – place luxury right in the center of the ghetto,” Columbo said of their business philosophy.
While a few other brave merchants followed their lead, the changes weren’t always positive and a rebirth remained elusive, Columbo said. A sex shop moved in a few doors away and filled its storefront windows with space-age vibrators and near-naked mannequins to tempt passers-by. Farther east, some cheered the closure of the old Funk-o-Mart electronics store, only to see another dollar store move in.
“They want this to be Woolworth’s, and we’re trying to be more Chanel,” Columbo said of the battle to revitalize Chestnut Street.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority board Thursday authorized entering into exclusive negotiations with ACTION-Housing and Telesis Corp., which have partnered to buy the Spahr Building on Second Avenue in Hazelwood and create a cultural center for the faith-based neighborhood nonprofit Center of Life and a restaurant and/or catering business.
In a second phase, ACTION-Housing and Telesis propose to buy 25 vacant URA-owned lots in one block on each side of Second Avenue, between Hazelwood and Flowers avenues, to build new housing and retail space. The board approved an 18-month negotiation period for that project, “a longer period because we want the public to be engaged in the process,” said Tom Cummings, director of housing for the URA.
When new development projects surface, the logical question for surrounding business owners is: How will this affect my business?
Downtown Carlisle business owners are optimistic when asked the same question about the borough’s highly anticipated urban redevelopment plan.
If the right balance of businesses and residences land on the three large abandoned industrial sites targeted for redevelopment in the borough’s northwest quadrant, there should be more than enough room for existing and new businesses not only to coexist, but to mutually benefit each other, Carlisle proprietors said.
“I’m on the fence. I’d love to have that [part of Carlisle] built up, because Carlisle has no more room for building extra tax revenue [downtown],” said John Bogonis, who owns the Carlisle Bakery at 35 S. Hanover St. with his wife Nadeen. “I want to see how they plan on getting people from [the development site] to here.”
This aerial view shows York, Pa.’s, Northwest Triangle before site work cleared the Ohio Blenders silos and other buildings along Beaver Street. In recent months, the area in and around the redevelopment area has generated some news. A two-screen movie theater plans to move in. The Thos. Somerville Co. building, across from the stadium, is getting new tenants. York County Regional Charter School continues to add classes and a brand new playground. Also of interest: Map explains York, Pa.’s $50 million Northwest Triangle redevelopment area.
HAMBURG, PA – Hoping to bring more business to the area, state and local officials on Friday dedicated a new 1,100-foot stretch of highway leading from the borough to Route 61.
It took seven years and more than $4 million to develop this extension of the borough’s two-lane Grand Street, which leads to a new intersection on Route 61 just north of the facility for Advanced H20 at 316 Front St. It opened July 17, John Leonforte, the borough’s code enforcement manager, said.
“This new access will enhance development of more than 40 acres for new commercial and industrial opportunities, bringing more jobs and growth to the Hamburg area,” borough Manager Marisa C. Lenceski said in a speech before a crowd of 20 on Friday at a special event staged near Grand and Front streets.
MBC Development, Schuylkill Haven, owns land bordering the north and south sides of the new stretch of Grand Street, James W. Miller, MBC president, said Friday.
Gateway Ticketing Systems Inc. broke ground Wednesday on the construction of a $7 million global headquarters in Colebrookdale Township.
Gateway manufactures ticketing, point of sale and admission control systems to entertainment venues, passenger transportation companies and nonprofit organizations.
The 42,000-square-foot, two-story building at 445 County Line Road is partially financed by a Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan. Completion is expected next spring.
Three groups of developers have pitched plans for converting the 72-year-old Family Court building at 18th and Vine Streets into a luxury hotel, raising expectations for another big investment in an area undergoing major change.
In plans submitted to the city Wednesday, each group was aligned with a hotel operator. They are:
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, teaming up with Logan Square Holdings, a limited partnership that counts the Goldenberg Group of Philadelphia among its five investors.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts, working with Philadelphia’s Dranoff Properties and HRI Properties of New Orleans.
Kimpton Hotels, aligned with P&A Associates of Philadelphia and the Peebles Corp. of New York City.
Welcome to the correction.
That is Geoffrey Leah’s way of saying that the old is being used again inside the former Mellon Bank on Smithfield Street, the ornate building controversially stripped of much of its grandeur when it was converted into a Lord & Taylor department store more than a decade ago.
The new owner, PNC Financial Services Group, is hoping to restore some of that splendor — piece by piece, in some cases — as part of its plan to reuse the city historic structure as a call center.
“What we’re trying to do is take the bones of the building and keep the architectural and historic significance, and do whatever we can to not disrupt the original structure in any way,” said Gary Saulson, PNC executive vice president and director of corporate real estate.
While PNC has no way of fully restoring the majestic four-story, open air bank hall with its marble Ionic columns — Lord & Taylor turned the structure into four floors of department store retail — the bank intends to incorporate as many original architectural features as possible into the new design.
Developers announced plans today for a five-story apartment and retail complex to be built across Seventh Street from the hockey arena.
Shouting above the construction of two office building a hotel and an arena already under construction, officials from City Center Corp. and Pennrose Properties announced plans for $30 million, five-story building that is to include 160 upscale apartments, as many as 10 shops and a 125-space underground parking lot.
Located on Seventh Street, between Hamilton and Linden, the new building will also extend the city’s existing Artswalk by converting a small parking lot into a pocket park that will include colored and pattern concrete pathway, seating and sculpture displays.
“This project is another significant step toward making downtown Allentown a fun, exciting, vibrant, walkable community,” said J.B. Reilly, CEO of City Center Lehigh Valley. “We plan to create a lively environment adjacent to the arena and hotel by blending dynamic retail, great restaurants with outdoor seating, park space and stylish apartments with the culture of the artswalk.”