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?
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.
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.
December 6, 2013 |
Amid seasonally cold weather, about 70 people of different faiths gathered at a Center City church on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the June 5 Market Street building collapse to remember the six people who died and the 14 injured when a four-story wall fell onto a Salvation Army thrift shop. Sarah Clark Stuart, who lives near the site where a building was being demolished, came up with the idea for the interfaith service. She said it was necessary to "provide a moment for family and members of the public to remember victims of the tragedy.
December 2, 2013 |
How to jump-start East Market Street has long been a burning issue for planners in Philadelphia. Even as broader Center City has enjoyed a renaissance, the stretch of Market Street east of Broad has languished. The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), a shopping mall company headquartered in Center City, hopes to help change that. PREIT, over the last decade, has taken control of a key, three-block piece of the East Market Street puzzle. It owns all of the real estate that makes up the Gallery at Market East, which stretches from a Burlington Coat Factory store at 11th and Market to the former Strawbridge & Clothier store on Eighth Street, where The Inquirer is now a tenant.
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.
November 27, 2013 |
Many times before, Mariya Plekan had visited the Salvation Army thrift store on Market Street. She liked shopping there because it was a little cheaper than the regular shops. "I needed to buy something for myself and my relatives," she said in her native Ukrainian in a deposition videotaped last week. "And I had to save money on things. " On June 5, the twice-widowed 52-year-old had a four-hour break from her job as caretaker for an older Ukrainian woman. So she took the SEPTA Route 7 bus from Fairmount to 22d Street and Market.
November 25, 2013 |
The blocks of Market and Chestnut east of City Hall remain the gash and gaping hole in Center City's success. They are bleak pockets of squalor and neglect. Landlords in the Market East neighborhood - if you can call it a neighborhood - have sat speculatively on properties for decades, avoiding upkeep or improvement. These are the blocks that progress forgot, a costly, damaged, and troubling stretch of our city that inhibits not only tourism but investment, jobs, and revenue. Francis Strawbridge, the final chairman of Strawbridge & Clothier, told me "Market's on a down cycle.
November 20, 2013 |
SPEAKING PUBLICLY for just the second time after the death of her daughter in June's Market Street building collapse, City Treasurer Nancy Winkler yesterday questioned whether the tragedy could have been prevented by her own employer - the city of Philadelphia. "How could L&I have granted a demolition permit in this instance if it did due diligence on those involved?" Winkler asked while testifying in a City Council hearing. "How could L&I have permitted the demolition to continue up to and on June 5, given the fact the site had previously been inspected and cited for violations?
November 18, 2013 |
WHEN the owners of New York City's popular Brooklyn Flea opened a similar, weekly market in Philadelphia in June, it promised to be a hipster heaven. But Brooklyn Flea Philly didn't draw the crowds the New York market did, prompting the out-of-town owners to bail on Philly. Some blamed the location, the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties. Others said sleepy Sundays weren't the best shopping day. And some saw the market, which kept "Brooklyn" in its name, as a Philly snub. But Mark Vevle never viewed the short-lived market as a failure.