October 18, 2013 |
WEST CHESTER - A public works crew pulling up the sidewalk in the heart of West Chester last week heard an unexpected crack. What the workers uncovered is a mystery that has since perplexed the borough. Beneath the bricks on Church Street, they found a glass manhole cover. And beneath that opaque window, they looked down on a hidden room. Another layer down, beneath a film of dirt and dust, they saw a metal chair, a few bottles, and an archway long ago closed by concrete.
November 30, 2013 |
Like the prow of a ship, the main facade of Drexel University's new business school at 32d and Market Streets steers toward Center City, straining to narrow the two-block gap between the Schuylkill and its fast-growing campus. In a bit of overt symbolism, the university even relocated a statue of founder Anthony Drexel to the entrance plaza, so he now stands firmly at the helm of this eastward venture. Under its current president, John A. Fry, Drexel has made no secret of its desire to fill that bleak, underutilized space with the sleek towers of a new technology-dominated neighborhood.
October 14, 2013 |
With the family business thriving nearly 75 years after its debut in South Philadelphia, the planned opening of a fifth Di Bruno Bros. store next Monday in the city's Washington Square West neighborhood might strike some as a "So what?" moment. It's anything but, say city economic-development professionals and business owners in the downtown pocket where Di Bruno's is bringing its high-end Italian foods market. "They have amazing brand recognition," said Ivy Olesh, vice president of marketing and business development at the quasi-public Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.
December 9, 2013 |
A pair of developers are overhauling 48th and Brown Streets in the Mill Creek section of Philadelphia with two rental complexes that, when construction is completed, will total 120 units. When a venture of Abington-based B & T Home Builders Inc. acquired the 2-acre industrial plot at 800-820 N. 48th St. in 2007, the company heard from skeptics. "Everyone thought I was crazy," said Hillel Tsarfati, a B & T cofounder. Situated two blocks from the Lucien E. Blackwell Homes, alongside a mix of well-kept rowhouses and vacant properties, West Village at 800 N. 48th St. is the largest private residential development in Mill Creek in recent history.
February 1, 2014 |
Sitting in his office in Chicago, Neil Bluhm, SugarHouse Casino's chairman, was so disturbed by the financial predictions coming from this week's hearings on a second Philadelphia casino that he flew in Wednesday evening to speak to the state Gaming Control Board himself. "I felt I had to come down and tell them that if these numbers are right, they're going to have a mess on their hands," Bluhm said after Thursday's hearing. Bluhm, a Chicago real estate investor who entered the casino industry more than 15 years ago, was referring to the projections of how much gambling revenue SugarHouse would lose if a second casino opened in Center City or South Philadelphia.
February 13, 2014 |
Weekends for Joseph A. Gorman were not spent sleeping in, not 50 years ago. On Saturday mornings, "he wakes up, vocalizing," before heading off to sing at Gloucester City church weddings, his son Joseph A. Jr. said. Later on Saturdays, he is playing the piano and singing at Kenny's restaurant on Market Street in Camden. "On Sunday mornings, he plays for Mass" as the volunteer organist and choir director at St. Mary's Church in Gloucester City. "That was the routine," his son said.
April 3, 2013 |
ONE MIGHT think Joseph C. Byrd would be flying high right about now, given that he was one of 48 SEPTA employees who won a $172.7 million Powerball jackpot last April. Think again. Byrd, 44, of West Philadelphia, allegedly ran amok at SEPTA's Market Street headquarters Feb. 18, shouting obscenities, leading cops on a foot chase into Market Street traffic and telling SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III, "I'm going to f------ shoot you in the face," according to an arrest affidavit obtained Monday by the Daily News . The bizarre episode concluded with four or five SEPTA cops taking Byrd into custody and involuntarily committing him to a mental-health facility, the affidavit said.
December 20, 2013 |
DO ME A FAVOR: After you finish this column, spend the day keeping track of how many homeless people you see. Look at the man huddled in the corner in the concourse between Suburban Station and City Hall. Look at the frail young man rocking back and forth on the cold pavement outside the Dunkin' Donuts on Market Street. Look at the woman with a toddler holding out a paper cup for spare change on Walnut. And then ask yourself: How is it that we, a civilized society with great minds and deep pockets, still have people living and dying on the streets?
July 15, 2013 |
In the weeks before the deadly Market Street collapse, the building's owner repeatedly warned top city officials and Salvation Army officials that the demolition could endanger the adjacent Salvation Army thrift store. But that did not prompt the city to step in. Nor did it stop the owner from rapidly demolishing the building - with devastating consequences. E-mails and letters reviewed by The Inquirer show repeated warnings about a possible collapse with potentially deadly results.
December 10, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA The developers who bought the Dow Chemical Co. Building on Independence Mall in October say they plan to spend $20 million on a renovation that will include a 110-space parking garage and a restaurant with outdoor seating. Three companies - Keystone Property Group of Bala Cynwyd, Mack-Cali Realty Corp., and parking lot developer Parkway Corp. - jointly bought the building at Sixth and Market Streets from Dow for $45 million. Dow will lease nearly 200,000 square feet there for its headquarters, Keystone president Bill Glazer said.