Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Some of the Best Coffee? It’s Here

Food & Wine Magazine - in its March issue – identifies La Colombe (130 S. 19th St.) as one of the top five coffee shops in the nation. The coffee is now served and sold at more than 1,200 restaurants and markets in 25 states.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


According to the Commonwealth's Department of Agriculture, our state is fifth in the nation for maple syrup production. Producers tapped 428,000 trees and extracted 61,000 gallons of syrup in 2005. Also, it requires approximately 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup and the collection season lasts approximately 24 - 30 days.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Councilman Nutter Meet & Greet Tomorrow (FREE EVENT)

Come meet and talk with Councilman Michael Nutter tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 21st, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the new Barristers Bar & Grille, at 1823 Sansom Street. Complimentary snacks and drink specials will be available.

SRC Approves New Regional Policy

The School Reform Commission ("SRC") has approved a significant change to school entrance policy. Traditionally, children within the immediate catchment area of a school have received priority and thereafter, any available openings allocated on a Citywide basis. The new policy reaffirms the right of parents to send their children to their neighborhood school if they live within the catchment area, but now gives second priority to families living within a newly created "Center City Academic Region". The new Center City academic region includes all downtown neighborhoods, plus several adjacent communities in North and South Philadelphia. The new policy, promoted by the Center City District as part of the Center City Schools Initiative, will take effect immediately and will be implemented in all other academic regions in the City. The goal of this new policy is to strengthen neighborhood schools by enhancing the bonds between community and school, to improve educational choices for all families, and to encourage more middle-class families to use and support Philadelphia’s public schools.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Pennsylvania Agriculture Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Commonwealth leads the nation in food manufacturing, Pennsylvania's number one export. The state's processing industry exports more than $1 billion annually and is home to approximately 2,300 food processors, including brands like Heinz, Hershey's and Welch's.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Ten-Year Tax Abatement: Another Perspective

A recent article in the Daily News asks Philadelphia to “[c]onsider the ten-year tax abatement as a long-term investment in the city's future that already is turning a profit.” As an example, the article presents the 940-unit Waterfront Square development on Columbus Boulevard at Penn Street as exhibit “A”. The complex will fill 10 acres that lay vacant for many years before a group of developers put a plan into action. Based on a projection of $600 million in construction costs, the developer approximates that the five-tower development will generate around $12 million in wage taxes and $12 million in real-estate transfer tax on the sales. There's also the additional wage and sales taxes that will be paid by the estimated 60 percent of the buyers moving to Philadelphia from outside the City. The developer projects another $10 million a year in transfer tax on future sales within the development. Finally, 11 years from now – after the 10-year abatement has ended – as the first of these condos become subject to the full property tax, their value will be substantially higher than it is today.

Now, multiply that by the 7,000 to 9,000 new units planned for in greater Center City and elsewhere in the City. Quite an impact. This is not to say the tax abatement shouldn't be adjusted down the road; however, we shouldn’t move too hastily to eliminate a mechanism that has promoted explosive new home construction and generated significant amounts of revenue, notwithstanding temporarily forgone property tax revenue.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Convention Center Lands Big Conference for 2013

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Narcotics Anonymous World Services (“NAWS”) today announced its biennial conference would be coming to Philadelphia in 2013. This makes NAWS the first group to sign a contract with the Convention Center subsequent to a big sales push the City advanced during last month's Professional Convention Management Association meeting.
The organization – an association for recovering drug addicts - expects to draw about 30,000 people over the Labor Day weekend, a time when the Convention Center is typically empty. The group is expected to use more than 14,000 hotel room nights (a room night is one room occupied for one night) over four days. Important factors in their decision were the improved management of the Convention Center – under the strong leadership of Councilman Michael Nutter – and the plans for expansion.

Rendell Leads Swann in Quinnipiac University Poll

Democratic incumbent Governor Ed Rendell begins his 2006 reelection campaign with a 48 - 36 percent lead over inexperienced, unqualified Lynn Swann, the leading Republican challenger in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Corruption Costs us All

According to KYW, The Street Administration's legal bills stemming from the federal investigation of City Hall have cost taxpayers $4 million. The City Solicitor says that spending should be tapering off, but that seems like an overly optimistic prediction given the US Attorney's statements about the potential length and breadth of the investigation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Philadelphia to Purchase More Hybrids and Alt. Fuel Vehicles?

Thanks Councilman Kenney!
In compliance with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, Act 93, 1998, the Committee on Appropriations of the Council of the City of Philadelphia will hold a Public Hearing Wednesday, February 22, 2006, at 10:00 AM, in Room 400, City Hall, to hear testimony on the following item:

051139 - An Ordinance amending Title 17 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Contracts and Procurement," by providing for a price preference for hybrid-electric or alternative fuel vehicles when the City purchases vehicles, and by making technical amendments; all under certain terms and conditions.

Immediately following the public hearing, a meeting of the Committee on Appropriations, open to the public, will be held to consider the action to be taken on the above listed item.

Copies of the foregoing item are available in the Office of the Chief Clerk of the Council, Room 402, City Hall.

Good News for Detroit!

It's not Philadelphia, but I was happy to see this piece of good news for one of America's most beleaguered cities: for the first time in more than two decades, Detroit recorded more new residential units than any other community in the seven-county Detroit metro area. Yea Detroit!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

University City Economic News: Science Center to Grow

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Science Center in University City is advancing a major $600 million development plan that would add 1.85 million sq. ft. of space and more than double the amount of space it currently maintains. The plan aims to establish the Science Center as a premier urban, East Coast research park that can accommodate and cater to start-up bio-tech, high-tech and other nascent companies and provide an environment conducive to growth and sustainability. The Center currently maintains 1.7 million sq. ft. of space in 13 buildings near Market Street in University City. In all, the master plan proposes six new buildings, with retail, parking, and residential components in addition to lab and office facilities. Roughly 80 percent of the six proposed buildings will be finished by 2010.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday Agriculture Factoid

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, there are more than 152 confectionaries in PA - including Hershey's - the world's largest chocolate company. There are more than 25 chocolate and candy manufacturers in the PA Preferred Program.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Don't Sweat It, Ok Sweat It

Coming from a rare, "heard on the street" tip to AHT, we've learned that the former YMCA on the 1400 block of Arch Street will become another outpost of the burgeoning SWEAT gym empire. Thanks to MB for the heads up.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Help Needed for Olympic Survey

The Philadelphia Business Journal (“PBJ”) is conducting a survey to see if "Philadelphia should try to get the Olympics." Please confirm your support of the effort by completing the survey and saying, "YES!" Their hope is that the PBJ survey provides results at least as positive as the Liberty Poll survey, which showed that 83% of regional citizens support the effort. Please, encourage anybody you know to take the survey.

2005 Good Year for Center City Hotels

Center City hotels reported a 2005 occupancy rate of 73.1%, up 3.2% from last year, according to Smith Travel Research. The average room rate was up 9% to $143.59 and RevPAR (room revenue per available room) was up 12.5%. These excellent results are fueling approximately $50 million in renovations and improvements to Center City hotels, such as: a new 19th-floor restaurant at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue and high-speed Internet/wireless service and redecorated rooms at the Four Seasons Philadelphia.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Philadelphia Convention Business Doing Well

According to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau , the two hundred seventy-four meetings and conventions scheduled for 2006 are expected to generate approximately $700 million in economic impact.

Some of the major conventions this year include the Buyers Market of American Craft (Feb. 16-20); American College of Physicians (April 6-8); AIIM On Demand (May 15-18); Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (July 28-Aug. 4); Ace Hardware Company (Oct. 5-8); American Society for Therapeutic Radiology & Oncology (Nov. 5-8) and the Modern Language Association (Dec. 27-30).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Philadelphia Relocation for Ad Firm a Success

A year and a half ago, LevLane relocated from City Avenue in Lower Merion to the Wanamaker Building, across the street from Philadelphia City Hall. Since then, it has expanded and diversified its client base. "We never changed our philosophy, moving into the city…helps us effect change," said Bruce Lev, a founding partner of the firm. "Out on City Avenue, I don't think we could do that." Further, David Lane, president of LevLane, added, "When we did [move], we didn't lose a single staffer. We even had people who sold their houses and moved into the city. It's energizing." LevLane is the City's 12th-largest ad agency, with income of $3 million and 30 employees, see the Philadelphia Business Journal for more.

Rendell is Doing Well

The Republicans are going to have a difficult time convincing voters that their candidate can run the State’s bureaucracy more efficiently than Rendell. During the last three years, the Rendell Administration has implemented smart and efficient business practices - including a reduction in the state workforce of 4,000 employees - that, at the end of this year, will total $1 billion in savings for Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

New Avenue of the Arts Venue Planned

The University of the Arts ("UArts") plans to construct a $7.5 million, 22,000 square-foot "Skyline Performing Arts Center" on the 16th and 17th floors of their building at the corner of South Broad and Walnut Streets. The facility will be Philadelphia's only performing and visual arts center with a skyline view. Also planned are two exhibition galleries and visual art display spaces, a cafe, and box office.

eXTReMe Tracker


Blog Archive