Philadelphia Headlines

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City Council Approved the Fair Workweek Ordinance

REGULATIONS

Philadelphia City Council voted 14-3 today to pass the “Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance,” instituting scheduling and predictability pay requirements for employers in the retail, food services, and hospitality industries. Mayor Jim Kenney pledged his support for the bill and is expected to sign it into law. … Read more at Ballard Spahr.

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

$10 Million Renovation of the Wanamaker Building Nearing Completion

A partnership between Rubenstein Partners and Amerimar Enterprises, two Philadelphia real estate companies, is nearly done with a $10 million, first phase of a renovation at the Wanamaker office building in Center City that reconfigured the lobby to improve its logistics. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Cohen Media Group Acquires Landmark Theatres

Independent movie theater company Landmark Theatres, which operates three Ritz theater locations in Philadelphia, has found a buyer after owners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner put it up for sale back in April. Cohen Media Group, an independent film company owned by billionaire real estate developer Charles S. Cohen, purchased Landmark from Wagner and Cuban’s 2929 Entertainment this week for an undisclosed sum. … Read more at Philly.com.

 

HOUSING

Philadelphia Fourth Major U.S. City with Largest Rent Increases

A new report comparing rent increases against income growth has shown that Philly rent has grown a lot in the past few years, despite an almost stagnant household income. Philly ranks number four among major U.S. cities with the largest rent increases, according to the study by SmartAsset. The study found that the average rent was $226 more in 2017 than it was in 2014. … Read more at Curbed Philadelphia.

 

JOBS

Conagra to Close Two N.J. Facilities, Eliminating 500 Jobs

Conagra Brands Inc. will close two New Jersey facilities by the end of 2019, affecting over 500 jobs, including nearly 200 in South Jersey. The closures are part of the Chicago food company’s $8.2 billion acquisition of New Jersey’s Pinnacle Foods. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Glassdoor Names Three Local Companies on Best Places to Work List

JOBS

Released on Wednesday, the popular list ranks companies solely according to employee reviews. On the site, employees can weigh in factors like company benefits, culture, and leadership. This year, the list includes three Philly-area companies — Power Home Remodeling, SAP and Bayada Home Health Care … Read more at Philly Mag.

 

HEALTHCARE

Department of Health Rejects All Medical Marijuana Research Applications

Pennsylvania’s ambitious plan to become the national center for medical marijuana research just can’t get off the ground. In the latest setback for the program, the state Department of Health on Wednesday rejected the applications of all eight marijuana growers who had planned to partner with the state’s medical schools. … Read more at Philly.com.

 

LEADERSHIP

Weinberger to Step Down as CEO of Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young CEO Mark Weinberger on Dec. 3 announced his resignation, effective July 1.

In a prepared statement, Weinberger touted the accounting firm’s accomplishments during his time as chief executive. He was elected EY global chairman and CEO in 2012. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

TRANSPORTATION

PHL Airport to Acquire Another 15 Acres for Planned Cargo Facility

Philadelphia will move forward with plans to build an air cargo facility in the coming years with the purchase of another parcel near the large tract it acquired at the start of 2018. The 15-acre purchase, currently under review by City Council, adds to the 135-acre Henderson tract Philadelphia bought for $54.5 million in January, according to the Delaware County Daily Times. … Read more at Philly Voice.

New York Hotel Operator Makes First Move into Philly Market

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

A hotel owner-operator pegged as the sixth-largest in the United States entered the Philadelphia market with its latest purchase – a 100-room hotel in Bucks County. … MCR, which has offices in New York and Dallas, bought the 100-room Residence Inn by Marriott Philadelphia Langorne at 15 Cabot Blvd East, located less than a mile from the Sesame Place theme park. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

ENERGY

American Water Cut the Ribbon on Its New Camden HQ

American Water welcomed hundreds of people to a ceremony Tuesday to mark the opening of its new national corporate headquarters on the Camden Waterfront. The American Water Charitable Foundation presented a check of $200,000 to the Camden School District to develop an advanced STEM Lab at Woodrow Wilson High School. … Read more at NJ Biz.

 

HEALTHCARE

Malvern’s XyloCor Closes $17 Million Series A Round

XyloCor Therapeutics, a Malvern gene therapy company developing new cardiovascular disease treatments, has closed a $17 million series A financing. The equity financing deal was co-led by Sofinnova Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif., and Life Sciences Partners (LSP), which is based in The Netherlands and has a office in Waltham, Mass. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

RETAIL

Expect Retail Expansion to Continue in Center City

The Center City District expects the success of retailers near Rittenhouse Square to continue expanding to the greater downtown, while East Market Street is poised to realize its potential and become a hot new retail area, the group’s annual report concludes. The group cited multiple positive signs: Greater Center City has become the fastest growing residential section of Philadelphia, attracting 26 percent of all those moving into the city in the last five years, the report said. … Read more at Philly.com.

Pearl Pays $67 Million for Parkway Embassy Suites

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Pearl Properties has doubled the size of its hotel portfolio in Center City. The Philadelphia-based company has acquired the Embassy Suites at 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it announced on Monday. The hotel was sold by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust as part of its acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties, which was finalized Nov. 30. … Read more at BisNow.

 

HEALTHCARE

Tabula Rasa Acquires Australian Pharma Company for $20 Million

South Jersey medical technology company Tabula Rasa HealthCare entered into a definitive agreement to acquire DoseMe in a deal valued at up to $20 million. Based in Brisbane, Australia, DoseMe is the developer of an advanced precision-dosing tool — called DoseMeRx — that helps physicians and pharmacists accurately dose patients’ high-risk parenteral medications based on individual needs. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

NONPROFITS

Philly Housing Organization Gets $1 Million Grant from Communities Thrive Challenge

Center City-based nonprofit Benefits Data Trust beat out 1,800 other applicants around the country and became one of just 10 grantees of the Communities Thrive Challenge, a joint grant program created by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Rockefeller Foundation. The organization, which helps low-income people access to public benefits and services, will use its $1 million grant over the coming 24 months to bring scalability to its technology and find new ways to reach and serve its target population. … Read more at Technical.ly Philly.

 

REGULATIONS

NJ Moves A Step Closer to Banning Cashless Stores

New Jersey lawmakers on Monday advanced a bill that would ban cashless stores in the Garden State. The measure, which can now go before the full state Senate, would require all brick-and-mortar retailers to accept cash, excluding transactions made online, by telephone, or by mail. … Read more at Philly.com.

ResMed to Acquire Propeller Health for $225 Million

HEALTHCARE

Safeguard Scientifics will receive $41.4 million after portfolio company Propeller Health announced Monday it has agreed to be acquired by digital health firm ResMed for $225 million in cash. Pending approvals, the deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

TOURISM

National Development Plans to Renovate Historic Stephen Girard Building

A project to transform several Center City blocks continues, with developers turning their attention toward a new phase: renovating and reusing the Stephen Girard building. The historic, late 19th-century building on 12th by Clover Street is set to become a hotel with 13 floors of visitor accommodations and a sit-down restaurant, according to a zoning permit National Development—the group overseeing the project—filed with the city last month. … Read more at Curbed Philadelphia.

 

REAL ESTATE

LaSalle and Pebblebrook Complete $5.2 Billion Merger

The nine-month-long saga between two Bethesda-based lodging REITs has officially come to an end, with Pebblebrook Hotel Trust completing its acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties.  Pebblebrook announced the closing of the $5.2 billion merger Friday, along with the sale of five properties totaling $821 million. … Read more at BisNow.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Dallas Firm Asking State for $14 Million to Redevelop Manayunk Paper Mill

A development firm helmed by former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith is seeking $14 million in financial support from Gov. Wolf’s office to raze part of a shuttered paper mill complex on Manayunk’s Venice Island so it can build a sprawling campus of labs, offices, and homes on the 31-acre property. Dallas-based ESmith Properties LLC wants to use the grant and loan money to ready PaperWorks Industries Inc.’s former plant property on the island’s northern tip for what’s slated to eventually encompass three million square feet of commercial space … Read more at Philly.com.

 

INNOVATION

Amazon Testing Cashier-less Checkout at Whole Foods Locations

Amazon’s 2017 purchase of Whole Foods could still mean many big changes to the grocery retailer in the years to come, including the implementation of cashier-less checkout at its large-concept stores. The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon is testing its cashier-less checkout technology, which already is being utilized in some of Amazon’s smaller store spaces, in some of the company’s larger spaces. … Read more at Philly Voice.

Previous Weeks Headlines

Construction Begins on $60 Million Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

TOURISM

The American Bible Society has started construction for its $60 million Faith and Liberty Discover Center, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Historic District. The religious organization announced in 2015 it would consolidate and relocate its headquarters into nearly 100,000 square feet of space on the eighth and ninth floors at 401 Market St. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

INNOVATION

Drexel, Jefferson and the UC Science Center Launch The Philadelphia Fellowship

A new fellowship that plans to bring in prominent urbanists from around the country to research Philly trends, launched this week with pivotal author Richard Florida becoming its first recipient. Called “The Philadelphia Fellowship,” the project was put together by Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University, and University City Science Center …. Read more at Curbed Philadelphia.

 

SMALL BUSINESS

How Small Businesses Are Leveraging Amazon Storefronts

Last holiday season, about half of online retail purchases were made on Amazon, and this year, a new platform from the e-commerce giant is helping entrepreneurs get a piece of the pie. Amazon Storefronts, an online marketplace exclusively for small to medium-sized businesses in the United States, launched in September. … Read more at Philly Mag.

 

INDUSTRIAL REAL ESTATE

ABS Acquired Hatfield Industrial Property for $12.75 Million

ABS Management & Development paid $12.75 million for 1100 Schwab Road, a 302,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution building in Hatfield. May 12 Realty, an entity affiliated with Al Tapper, an entrepreneur, sold the building. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

With $1 Million in State Funds, Dallas Company Plans to Redevelop Manayunk Paper Plant

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

A Dallas real estate company plans to transform a former paper plant in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia into what it is calling the Venice Innovation Island. E. Smith Properties received $1 million in funds from the first round of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, according to state documents. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

TOURISM

Construction of Philly’s Second Casino Set to Start Next Year

South Philadelphia’s long-delayed Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia will be up and operating in two years, just a few hundred feet from the outfield wall of Citizens Bank Park, according to its developer. Joseph Weinberg, managing director of Stadium Casino LLC, told state regulators Wednesday that demolition of a former Holiday Inn at 900 Packer Ave. will begin in December, and construction of the $700 million casino and hotel would begin early next year. … Read more at Philly.com.

 

INNOVATION

Harrisburg University Aims to Become Esports Hub

Harrisburg University, the STEM-focused higher ed institution with campuses in the state capital as well as Center City Philadelphia, wants to help Harrisburg become a hub for esports.

Last August, 100 players from around the world tried out for one of 16 coveted spots on its varsity esports team, HU Storm. … Read more at Technical.ly Philly.

 

TAXES

New Tax Will Increase Craft Beer Prices in Philadelphia

Though there’s no shortage of craft breweries in and around Philadelphia, a new state tax set to begin in 2019 could mean a higher price attached to Pennsylvania-made brews. The new tax – the enactment of which was recently postponed and will begin July 1, 2019, instead of Jan. 1 – will be levied by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and put a new tax on malt and brewed beverage manufacturers selling out of their own establishments. … Read more at Philly Voice.

Historic Kensington Building Sold for $5.6 Million

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

The Charles Schober Co. building, an historic 10-story structure at 2000-2034 N. 2nd St. in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, has sold for $5.6 million — a tad above the asking price — to a local developer who has plans for a residential project. The 86,950-square-foot building was sold by a partnership involving the Schober family, who operated a wholesale wicker furniture business from the property since buying it in 1968. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

TRAVEL

PHL Airport Plans $5.5 Million Expansion

City aviation officials plan to spend $5.5 million to acquire 15 acres near Philadelphia International Airport as part of a plan to develop a massive new air-freight complex serving a broad swath of the region. The land to be acquired is adjacent to the 135-acre property known as the Henderson Tract, which the city acquired control of early this year for the cargo terminal project, airport spokeswoman Diane Gerace said in an email Tuesday. … Read more at Philly.com.

 

HEALTHCARE

Penn Breaks Ground on New Radnor Facility

The University of Pennsylvania Health System continues to adapt to meet the shifting nature of the healthcare market. Penn Medicine broke ground in early November on a four-story, 250,000-square-foot outpatient facility on 145 King of Prussia Road in Radnor. … Read more at BisNow.

 

JOBS

IKEA Cutting Jobs, Changing Focus

Is the maze-like frenzy of an IKEA warehouse headed for extinction? As the Swedish furniture company faces decreased profits and approaches the one-year anniversary since the loss of its founder, IKEA plans to create smaller, simpler shops headed for cities around the world. … Read more at Philly Voice.

GoPuff Plans $4 Million HQ & Warehouse Project in Philly

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Backed by a $400,000 state grant, delivery startup goPuff will set out to build a new 30,000-square-foot headquarters at 3rd and Spring Garden, as well as a blitz of 10 new warehouse operations across Pennsylvania. The $4 million project will result, the company says, in 150 new full-time jobs at its main offices, plus another 400 warehouse jobs by 2022. … Read more at Technical.ly Philly.

 

FINANCE

Radian Acquires Independent Settlement Services

Continuing its growth and diversification strategy, Radian Group acquired national appraisal and title management company Independent Settlement Services. Formed in 2005, Independent Settlement Services provides real estate information and valuation services in all 50 states, and offers proprietary technology through Vendor Information Bridge (VIBe) … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

HEALTHCARE

Cooper Employees to See Minimum Wage Boost in 2019

Cooper University Health Care will boost the minimum wage for workers to $15 per hour, the health system announced on Tuesday. The new wage policy will take effect on January 1 and benefit all full-time, part-time and per-diem employees. About 10 percent of the Camden-based Cooper’s 7,500 employees will see their wages boosted to the new minimum, officials said. … Read more at Philly Voice.

 

REGULATIONS

NJ Legislators Approve Bill to Legalize Marijuana

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana was voted out of a joint committee in the New Jersey legislature Monday afternoon, marking a giant step towards making the cannabis plant and its products available for legal adult use. … Senate Bill 2703 would legalize the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older. It also would create a state system to oversee the operations of a new potentially multibillion-dollar industry. … Read more at Philly.com.

City Pushes Eds and Meds to Buy Local

CIVIC INITIATIVES

On Wednesday, the wrappings come off Philadelphia Anchors for Growth & Equity, or PAGE, a first-ever citywide initiative to change that by boosting local purchasing by some of the city’s biggest employers. … Read more at Philly.com.

 

INNOVATION

Lia Diagnostics Closes $2.6 Million Round

Center City’s Lia Diagnostics, makers of a flushable pregnancy test, just took on $2.6 million in venture capital as it continues to work on bringing the test to the consumer market. … Read more at Technical.ly Philly.

 

HEALTHCARE

Spark Therapeutics’ European Approval

The European Commission granted marketing authorization for Spark Therapeutics’s Luxturna, an approval that will result in a $25 million payment to the Philadelphia gene therapy company. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

TOURISM

The Met Philly Sets Opening Date

After massive project that transformed the once-rundown Broad Street staple, The Met Philly opera house is finally opening its doors again. … Read more at Curbed Philadelphia.

Bayada Gives Back to Employees to The Tune of $20 Million

INNOVATION

The chairman and former CEO of Bayada Home Health, who’s in the process of turning his billion-dollar company into a nonprofit, announced Tuesday over lunch at The Bellevue Hotel in Center City that he’s giving $20 million away to his 32,000 employees. … Read more at Philly.com.

 

HEALTHCARE

Penn’s Latest Expansion in U.K.

Penn Medicine is taking its brand to England. The Philadelphia-based health system on Monday opened Penn Medicine London in that city’s Mayfair area. … Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

STARTUPS

Martech Company Plans to Open Hub in Valley Forge Office Center

Lititz, Pa.-based Listrak — makers of a cloud-based marketing platform for retail companies such as Oscar de la Renta and Nikon — will open a satellite office in Wayne as it looks to tap Philly-area tech talent. … Read more at Technical.ly Philly.

 

REAL ESTATE

Leaders Discuss What’s Next for Development in Camden

A combination of economic incentives and big gains in public safety numbers paved the way for the big corporate moves, starting with the Philadelphia 76ers and Holtec building new campuses and culminating in Subaru moving from Cherry Hill. … Read more at BisNow.

What are Philly’s Best STEM Schools?

EDUCATION

Niche.com analyzed all high schools – public and private – in Greater Philadelphia and graded them on their STEM programs. The rankings were determined by taking into consideration many different objective factors, including SAT and ACT math scores, math proficiency levels, as well as AP math and science classes enrollment. Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Dignitas Esports Team Raises $3 Million

ENTERTAINMENT

Dignitas, an esports team owned by Camden-based Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, raised $3 million in a private stock sale. The equity financing was disclosed in documents Dignitas, which operates out of the Philadelphia 76ers training facility and headquarters in Camden, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Sixers are also owned by Harris Blitzer, whose other holdings include the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Read more at the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Industrial Demand Continues to Grow in Philly

MANUFACTURING

The cycle may be nearing its end for multifamily and office real estate in the Philadelphia area, but industrial is poised to keep going strong for the foreseeable future. Positioned between New York and Washington, D.C., Greater Philadelphia has experienced not just steady demand after a few busy years, but continued growth, CBRE Capital Markets Vice Chair Michael Hines said at Bisnow’s 8th Annual Philadelphia Industrial & Logistics event. The Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania especially remain white-hot. Read more at BisNow.

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