Saturday, February 26, 2005

Resurgent Philadelphia Shipbuilding Industry

The sale of two more ships this week put the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard in the black for the first time; the ships – the third and fourth sold – will generate revenues of $290 million. The yard has built and sold more container cargo vessels than any other US facility in the last decade and a half.

Young America PAC

Young America is a bi-partisan organization founded by a diverse group of young professionals in the Greater Philadelphia region. Their mission is to empower younger Philadelphians by organizing them and connecting them with decision-makers and organizations that shape policies affecting Philadelphia. America’s Hometown recommends joining YAPAC and/or attending one of their events; the organization provides a great forum for meeting other civic-minded Philadelphians and isn’t bad for networking either.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Tracking the Elusive "Cell Phone Only"

Mostly single, urban, and young, these CPOs (“cell phone onlies”) move frequently, typically renting rather than owning homes. Eschewing the hassle and cost of land lines, this breed is ever growing and making it increasingly difficult to accurately incorporate them into polling/scientific surveys seeking to measure societal characteristics and attitudes (see story). This is a growing demographic in Philadelphia; look for them to play a major - below the radar - role in civic and political life in the future.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wi-Fi Plan Profiled on PBS

Friday the 24th's episode of PBS's Now will look at Philadelphia's proposal to build one of the nation's first publicly-provided wireless Internet systems. The show will air at 9:30 p.m. on WHYY (Channel 12). Should this be a priority for local government? Is it the right place to spend scarce public dollars? Shouldn't the plan be more strategic - maybe start with University hotspots and then build from there?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Fattah v. Mondesire?

Any thoughts on the possible primary battle between the publisher of the Philadelphia Sun (and president of the local NAACP chapter) and the Congressman from the 2nd Pennsylvania District? (see story). Is it a petty political battle pitting the Northwest democratic faction (Mondesire) against West Philly democratics (Fattah). Or is it more substantive, with Mondesire working to block a candidate whom he thinks isn't serious about the office? What has Congressman Fattah done exactly? He's well known, but for what? On the other hand, Jerry Mondesire has been a visible presence on the ground in Philadelphia; often controverisal but always outspoken and passionate.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Convention Center = Economic Powerhouse

The Pennsylvania Convention Center generated in excess of $800 million in total economic impact in 2004. The Center had a strong December, hosting 10,000 attendees from the Modern Language Association during the slow period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. (Source: Tyson Hospitality Consulting)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Temple Health System Moving HQ to East Falls

The Temple University Health System is moving its headquarters and 800 employees to the former Budd Company property a mile west of its North Broad Street hospital complex (see story). The site – in the part of East Falls situated in North Philadelphia just over Rt. 1 – was chosen over other locations because Temple “decided that the really responsible thing to do was spend [their] money in [their] own community." Look for this project and Temple’s commitment to spur economic growth and opportunity in greater East Falls and North Philadelphia for decades to come.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Temple University Construction Boom

Temple University has initiated $400 million in construction projects slated to be completed within five years. All projects will be placed on Temple’s main campus in North Philadelphia. Projects include a new $75 million Tyler School of Art and a $67 million addition to the Fox School of Business and Management.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Dijya Know About: The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia is a diverse network of businesses and social entrepreneurs who are committed to building a more socially, environmentally, and fiscally sustainable Philadelphia economy.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

State Funds Green Design Consortium in East Falls

Philadelphia University – located in the City’s East Falls section - has received $.75 million from the Commonwealth to support the Consortium for Sustainable Design and Research of Southeast Pennsylvania (see story). This group includes Philadelphia, Temple and Villanova universities, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. The Consortium works to develop and promote environmentally friendly design and construction.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Kenney/Ramos Bill Could Produce Office of Immigrant Affairs

Councilmen Kenney and Ramos introduced a bill calling for a Citywide referendum that would ask voters whether they support the creation of a Director of Immigrant Affairs position within City government (see story). The Director would be responsible for promoting the interests of immigrants, providing services to new immigrants, educating the public on immigration policies, and developing a marketing plan to promote Philadelphia as a destination for immigrants. "This is going to be a strategic, overall effort to put Philadelphia on the map internationally," Kenney said of his proposal, "and you need an office that deals with nothing but this issue."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Reducing Gun Violence Through Charter Change?

Councilman Clarke introduced a bill calling for a Citywide referendum that would give voters the opportunity to decide whether to amend the City Charter to permit Philadelphia to make its own laws to prevent and reduce gun violence (see story). Presently, all such laws are enacted by the State Legislature. The Councilman's bill calls for corresponding state legislation to complement any potential charter change. America's Hometown unequivocally supports any efforts to permit Philadelphia to enact gun laws different (and more stringent) than elsewhere in the state.

Prominent Philadelphia Company You Might Not Know About

According to their website, "Day & Zimmermann accelerates customer success by delivering reliable managed services. Operating from more than 150 worldwide locations with [$1.3 billion] in revenues, the Day & Zimmermann family of companies employs 20,000 professionals and is currently ranked as one of the largest private companies in America by Forbes. Founded in 1901 and headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Day & Zimmermann is a former winner of the U.S. National Family Business of the Year award." For more information check out

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Rhythm & Blues Foundation Relocating from NYC to Philadelphia

When they get situated, the Foundation plans to begin raising money to construct an R&B Hall of Fame that will become the centerpiece of a marketing program to brand Philadelphia as the home of R&B; expected impacts from the Hall of Fame include a re-energized music scene and a new entertainment district. Governor Rendell and Mayor Street have pledged financial support to help the foundation relocate to Philadelphia (see story).

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

2004: Good Year for Center City Hotel Industry

Center City hotels enjoyed a 70.8% occupancy rate in 2004, up 6.8% from 2003, according to research by Smith Travel Research. Further, Center City hotels also saw a 4% increase in average room rate to $130.91. Finally, the occupancy rate in December was 58.3%, up 22.7% from last December.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Rittenhouse Hotel Makes the Top 20

Simply the Best magazine has named The Rittenhouse one of the 20 best hotels in the country. “Its glass skyscraper hovering over Philadelphia’s beautiful Rittenhouse Square belies the residential and luxurious atmosphere of the city’s best hotel” is how they put it. LaCroix - the hotel’s on-site restaurant – just made the “2004 Hot Tables List” by Conde Nast Traveler.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Architectural Salvage Industry Takes a Step Forward in Philadelphia

Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty announced a $100,000 grant to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Philadelphia for a one-year study to examine supply and demand issues, analyze market barriers, and identify related opportunities for recycling recovered residential building materials in Southeastern Pennsylvania (see story). Locally, ReStore is an architectural salvage outlet in Port Richmond that provides architectural salvage, deconstruction services, and design consultation. Nationally, the journal of the architectural salvage industry is the Architectural Salvage News, providing readers with valuable sourcing information to help locate suppliers of specialty products - both salvaged and reproduction - and introducing readers to new tools that help them run their architectural salvage businesses.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Wingbowl is Insane but Wonderful

Wingbowl is a unique Philadelphia tradition known as the "Superbowl of Competitive Eating." It's insane - thousands of people (over 20,000 this year!) come to watch a bunch of men and women stuff large quantities of wings down their throats (see story).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

More Stuff to Do = More Visitors

According to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, visits to Philadelphia increased 41% between 1997 and 2003, compared to a national average of only 8.8%. Today, 24 million people visit the region to have a good time and spend their money.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Philadelphia to Host King Tut

The Franklin Institute will host an exhibition of archaeological artifacts connected to the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen (a.k.a. "King Tut") between February and September, 2007. Philadelphia is the fourth and final stop on King Tut's current US tour.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Stop Indoor Smoking in Public Places!

If you're in favor of Councilman Michael Nutter's proposal to ban indoor smoking and protect public health, here's an official website and on-line petition -

Temple University's Fox School of Business Moves up the Charts

The Fox School of Business and Management's M.B.A. has been ranked #1 in the nation in "Value for Money" by the Financial Times in its 2005 rankings (see story). The Financial Times also ranked the Fox M.B.A. one of the top 50 M.B.A. programs in the country and one of the top 75 M.B.A. programs on the planet.

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