Friday, July 29, 2005

FDIC report says Philadelphia is one of 55 housing 'boom' markets

A new report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says Philadelphia is considered one of 55 "boom" housing markets (see story). "Increased population, improved job growth, limited housing supply and innovative mortgage products have contributed to strong housing trends," says the report.

Temple University: The Owl that Could

Temple University produces a bit more than $1 of every $100 generated in the five Pennsylvania counties in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Statistical Area, according to a recent report (see story). The University annually generates $2.7 billion and creates 17,818 full- and part-time jobs in the five-county region. The economic activity produced by Temple results from the direct and indirect effects of its spending on operations and construction, plus the direct and indirect effects of spending by Temple employees, students and visitors.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sports Complex Skyway?

Mark Allen Hughes has an interesting idea: build an elevated walkway to connect the subway station and indoor/outdoor stadia at the sports complex, as well as whatever parking or retail/office complex that gets built on the former Vet site (see op ed). The walkway would enable pedestrians to avoid the parking lots, making it more convenient (and safer) for motorists and mass transit riders. Mr. Hughes suggests that the project would be a strong candidate for federal transportation funding for cutting congestion. Says Mark Allen, ”We missed a chance to build downtown sports venues. We should at least make it as easy as possible to get from downtown to those venues. Done right, that might even make for the best solution after all.”

The Next Police Commissioner Ascends?

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia's police commissioner is about to appoint Captain Richard Ross - commander of the department's Homicide Unit and a bright, energetic, innovative police officer - to a new departmental position as deputy commissioner in charge of gun violence.

Philadelphia Utility Work: Better Coordination

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a new, coordinated system for mitigating disruption and congestion caused by utility work on Philadelphia streets has been established. Eighteen utility and telecommunications companies, City departments/agencies, SEPTA and other stakeholders will meet monthly to resolve conflicts and coordinate work. The working group and related agreement also gives effect to an ordinance enacted last Spring requiring companies to reimburse the City for damage caused by street digging.

Monday, July 25, 2005

City Year Positions

City Year still has full-time AmeriCorps positions available. If you know someone between the ages of 17-24 who can spend 10 months making a difference, then please have him/her attend a City Year information session. Information sessions are held at the City Year office at 6 pm every Wednesday, 2nd floor of the Red Cross Building at 23rd and Chestnut. Additionally, anyone can visit their website for more information or call (267) 386-7013.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Friedman, Out!

I'm taking a break from blogging and all other serious activity; heading up to the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania. See you all when I get back. Take care!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Suburban Boomers Become Center City Roomers

According to a recent study by Commerce Bancorp, the Center City baby boomer influx could continue for decades and is an important component of Philadelphia’s economic growth and prosperity. Economist Joel Naroff - writing in the bank’s “Spring Economic Outlook” newsletter – said, “Now that the boomers are nearing their retirement years, they are reconsidering their locational choices. Without children, they are starting to rid themselves of their huge suburban homes to live where the amenities match their new lifestyles. Center City Philadelphia has become one major winner in the housing lottery, setting off a major boom in the construction of apartments, condos and co-ops. This demographic and locational shift could last for decades and is likely to help reverse the decline in the city [emphasis added]. When the city expands, it adds to growth throughout the region, so the future for the region looks even brighter.”

Monday, July 11, 2005

Center City Hotels Did Well in May

According to Smith Travel Research, Center City hotels had an occupancy rate of 78.3% in May, up 5.7% from May 2004. Revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) was at $97.79 in Center City for May.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Blue Future PAC

According to their website, the mission of Blue Future PAC "is to provide financial and other support to the campaigns of new Democratic candidates for state and local political offices in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, Pennsylvania. Blue Future PAC seeks to support candidates who demonstrate the capacity for state-wide office." This group is seeking to replicate - to some extent - the locally focused, grass-roots electoral successes that the Republicans have produced over the past two decades. The idea is to get fresh, progressive Democrats elected to local offices in more Republican-friendly areas by giving them the organizing and fiscal tools they need to succeed.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Schuylkill River Skatepark: Coming Along

Plans for the Schuylkill River Skatepark - the place where exiles from Love Park are supposed to flock to - have been unveiled; while approval by the Fairmount Park Commission is still required, there’s an expectation that shovels will be in the ground by next Spring. A nonprofit called Franklin's Paine seeks to raise the $5 million needed for construction from the skateboard industry's equipment manufacturers, clothing makers and retail outfits, as well as from Philadelphia corporate interests (see story).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Philadelphia Law Firms: Nationally Competitive

Eight of Philadelphia's largest law firms made it onto a list of the nation's top 100 firms (see story). American Lawyer Magazine said it was one of the best showings by Philadelphia firms in two decades. Three of them, Pepper Hamilton, Cozen O'Connor and Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, were not on the list in 2003. Others that made the list were Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Dechert; Duane Morris; Blank Rome L.L.P; and Drinker Biddle & Reath. Thriving law firms bring significant economic benefits to the City and region, in the way of tax revenue and employee and firm spending in the local economy.

RecycleBank to Make Live 8 Environmentally Friendly

From the good friends of America's Hometown at RecycleBank:

June 30, 2005 – (Philadelphia) - RecycleBank announced today that it has been named the Official Recycling Provider for Philadelphia’s Live 8 Concert on July 2, 2005. RecycleBank will provide large, clearly marked recycling containers for an expected one million concertgoers, as well as arrange for collection and disposal of recyclable materials.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Live 8,” said RecycleBank co-founder and President Patrick FitzGerald. “It is an extraordinary global event, and as local company, RecycleBank is proud to help Philadelphia host guests from all over the world and demonstrate that Philadelphia can be a model environmental community.”

RecycleBank was founded in 2003 as a cost-effective and environmentally conscious solution to waste disposal. Through partnerships with more than 100 local and national vendors (including Starbucks, Whole Foods, Coca-Cola, ACME, Home Depot, and FedExKinko’s), RecycleBank financially rewards households that recycle. RecycleBank has tripled the recycling rates in the Philadelphia neighborhoods that are included in the program and will expand to the Philadelphia suburbs, Southeastern New Jersey, and Northern Delaware in September 2005. For more information please visit us at:

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