June 13, 2013 |
Philadelphia City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would cap the 10-year tax abatement on new residential construction at $500,000 of value. The cap would go into effect in July 2015. The committee took a rare roll-call vote on the divisive issue, and the bill passed by 9-7, with Marian B. Tasco absent. The bill, sponsored by W. Wilson Goode Jr., could receive final approval on June 20. During testimony on the bill, Goode and Symphony House developer Carl Dranoff had several testy exchanges on the merits of the current tax abatement, which does not have a cap. The abatement has been credited with sparking a building boom - mostly in Center City and surrounding neighborhoods - but has been derided as an unnecessary tax credit to rich homeowners.
June 9, 2013 |
I STOPPED by the super swank Symphony House residences yesterday to have a chat with Richard Basciano about his killer building. "Is he expecting you?" the cranky concierge asked. Well, I didn't know if the owner of the crumbling building that flattened a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store was expecting me . But he should've been expecting someone - like officials from the city seeking answers about his choice of a discount demolition crew, for starters. Basciano's company paid some insta-demolition crew $10,000 for a job demo experts said should have cost closer to $250,000.
March 29, 2013
Here are some of architecture critic Inga Saffron's blog posts from the last week. You can see others at www.philly.com/philly/blogs/changing-skyline . Workplace squatters at Glaxo I went down to the Philadelphia Navy Yard yesterday [March 21] to take a look at the architecture of the new GlaxoSmithKline building, but what really caught my eye were the desks, er, workspaces. Glaxo's new offices are organized around the concept of hoteling, where employees aren't assigned their own desk or cubicle.
March 21, 2013 |
Osage Partners of Philadelphia, Greycroft Partners of Los Angeles, and MissionOG of Devon, say they have invested $3.2 million in Center City-based PeopleLinx , a firm that helps companies give their workers' LinkedIn accounts a standard corporate look and uses LinkedIn data to boost sales. PeopleLinx, which counts FMC Corp. , Firstrust Bank and Prudential among its clients, was set up by LinkedIn veterans Nathan Egan and Patrick Baynes . It will use the new cash to add to its staff of 13 full-time employees and about 25 contractors, says Egan, a Cornell grad and onetime specialty chemical salesman.
September 25, 2012 |
Developer Carl Dranoff came late to bicycling. Growing up in Philadelphia's Oxford Circle, no one rode bikes, he says. They walked to school and afterward hit the basketball courts for exercise. Dranoff didn't get on a bicycle until it became a matter of pride: His young daughter was learning to ride a two-wheeler. Why couldn't daddy? He was 35 at the time. Now 63, Dranoff still isn't exactly steady on a bicycle, even when he's pedaling one of the porker-class Dutch models that belong to his company's new bike-sharing program.
October 28, 2011 |
OK, this is really getting ridiculous. When last we polished off a plate of oxtails at the Jamaican Jerk Hut, the venerable Caribbean eatery at 15th and South, owner Lisa Wilson was still waging a David-and-Goliath battle with residents of Symphony House, a 32-story luxury condominium complex at Broad and Spruce. Never mind that the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Common Pleas Court had both ruled in the Jerk Hut's favor: Namely, that Wilson could play live reggae music for her customers on the lot next to the restaurant on weekends in spring and summer.
August 2, 2011 |
It was the quintessential Philadelphia neighborhood story. Even more delicious than the flavorful meatballs handmade by Gabe Marabella or the chicken and mango salsa served up by Lisa Wilson was the friendship that developed between the two small-business owners, who on paper were supposed to be adversaries. The story began during a Welcome America event at Penn's Landing last month. Marabella, the legendary meatball maker, found himself operating a vending stand right next to Wilson, owner of the Jamaican Jerk Hut. You know the Marabella name.
July 8, 2011 |
When Philadelphia's big real estate developers find a neighborhood they like, they really dig in. Bart Blatstein has made himself the virtual lord of Northern Liberties with factory-style lofts and hip hangouts. Now Carl Dranoff is firmly on his way to becoming the boss of South Broad Street. Dranoff conquered two key corners there during the boom years, with the pink-hued Symphony House at Pine Street and the deco-inspired 777 at Fitzwater, and has plans for a development at Spruce Street.
June 23, 2011 |
Nine months after winning the seventh season of Bravo's Top Chef , Kevin Sbraga has signed a lease for his own restaurant. The upscale casual Sbraga is pegged for this fall at 440 S. Broad St., in the Symphony House space at the corner of Broad and Pine Streets that last housed Chew Man Chu. "I call it a personal rendition of American food," says Sbraga, who lives in the Willingboro house in which he grew up. "I learned during ...
April 14, 2011 |
The developer of the Victor Lofts apartment building on the Camden waterfront has put off repayment of a $3 million loan to the Delaware River Port Authority because he's short on cash. The agency lent $3 million to Victor Associates in 2003, interest-free until 2009. The money was part of a $52 million financing package assembled by developer Carl E. Dranoff to convert the historic RCA Victor "Nipper Building" into 341 upscale apartments overlooking the Delaware River and the Philadelphia skyline.