Three New Stores Announced for KOP Expansion

King of Prussia rendering

A rendering of the new King of Prussia mall addition.

The King of Prussia Mall expansion continues on schedule, and the mall addition that will (finally!) connect the Plaza and the Court is starting to take shape. Today, mall owner Simon Property Group announced three new stores that are coming to the King of Prussia Mall sometime in late summer.

Headlining that list is Superdry, the U.K.-based outfitter that combines American-style fashion with nonsense Japanese script (really, it’s all gibberish) plastered on its outerwear. Read more »

Verizon, City Could Tussle Over Fios Franchise Agreement

Verizon Fios ad - Suburban Station

An ad for Verizon Fios in Suburban Station. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Verizon says it’s fulfilled its contractual obligations to roll out Fios to the entire city. Philadelphia isn’t so sure.

Earlier this month, the city asked residents to let them know if they’d tried to get Verizon Fios but were told it was not available in their area. Verizon signed a franchise agreement with the city for its Fios television service in early 2009. One requirement, standard in most franchise agreements in American cities, was for Verizon to have the entire city covered with Fios service by February of this year.

“It’s in our best interests as a company — after pursuing the franchise agreement and investing millions of dollars to build our network — to make the service available to as many city residents as possible,” says Verizon spokesman John O’Malley. He says Verizon completed a build-out of its network a bit before the February deadline.

But Philadelphia has received more than 500 submissions to the city website asking residents if they’ve been unable to get Fios, says Philadelphia Chief Information Officer Charlie Brennan. If it’s determined Verizon violated the agreement, the company could pay fines up to $2.6 million “if we can prove definitively that they have not met their commitment,” Brennan says. Read more »

Penn Grad Accused of Being “The Vegan Bernie Madoff”

Sarma Melngailis in a Tuesday, October 18, 2011, file photo.

Sarma Melngailis in front of Pure Food and Wine with her restaurant’s most popular dish — a local heirloom tomato lasagna featuring basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta and zucchini —  in an October 18, 2011, file photo.

Sarma Melngailis was born in Massachusetts, and her grades were good enough to get her into the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1994 — with a dual Wharton/College degree. Like many Penn graduates, she moved to New York and went into finance. In the booming 1990s, she worked at Bear Sterns, then moved to Boston to work at Bain Capital.

She shifted careers in the late ’90s, however, graduating from the French Culinary Institute and eventually becoming an advocate for the vegan lifestyle. She opened Pure Food & Wine in 2004, New York City’s first restaurant to serve “gourmet renditions of organic, vegan [and] raw food.” Though the restaurant had its critics — “I’ve certainly taken some criticism from raw-food purists,” she told the Village Voice — it was popular, and Melngailis seemed to be doing well.

Then things changed. The staff walked out en masse in January of last year over unpaid wages, with Melngailis offering various explanations for the paycheck delay. The restaurant — along with a companion business, One Lucky Duck — re-opened, but workers walked out again last summer due to unpaid wages.

Then, Melngailis disappeared. Or, she disappeared until she and husband Anthony Strangis were caught by authorities in Tennessee — after they’d ordered a Domino’s Pizza. The horror! Read more »

Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. to Headline 4th of July Concert

Wawa Welcome America logo

The 4th of July concert is going to have an all-Philadelphia feel this year.

Two headliners for the annual 4th of July concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which organizers call the “largest free concert in America,” are both Philadelphia natives. Leslie Odom Jr., who stars as Aaron Burr in the Broadway smash Hamilton, will perform and emcee the event. Rapper Yazz the Greatest, who plays Hakeem Lyon on Fox’s Empire, will also perform. Philadelphia Business Journal reports Bucks County native Christina Perri is a third artist on the main 4th of July bill. Read more »

The Phillies Are One of Baseball’s Best Teams — But for How Long?

Andres Blanco reacts in the dugout after scoring during the third inning of a May 18th game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Andres Blanco reacts in the dugout after scoring during the third inning of a May 18th game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies beat the Marlins, 4-2, on Wednesday night. It was the Phils’ fourth straight series win and improved their record to 24-17. If the season ended now — a popular refrain in stories about the surprising Phillies currently — they would be in the playoffs as the first Wild Card. They are 1.5 games ahead.

And, yet, they’ve been outscored this year. Though tied for sixth in baseball in wins, the Phillies are just 23rd in run differential. The Phillies’ opponents have outscored them by 28 runs this season.  Read more »

Could Sanders’ Continued Fight Mean Chaos for the Philly DNC in July?

Bernie Sanders - Solidarity is Power

Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop in April at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A month ago, Republicans looked primed to have a contentious summer political convention.

There were still multiple candidates in the race for president. Donald Trump was the frontrunner, but seemed unlikely to get a majority of delegates before the July convention. There were whispers of a brokered convention. Trump said his supporters would riot if there was a brokered convention. “I think you’d have riots,” Trump said on CNN.” “I’m representing a tremendous many, many millions of people.”

Funny how that worked out. Trump hasn’t lost a primary since Wisconsin, on April 5th. He won New York on April 19th. He won five primaries, including Pennsylvania, on April 26th. His remaining rivals dropped out after he won Indiana on May 3rd. Without competition, he’s swept every primary since. He will get enough delegates to be the nominee well before the convention. He’s already released his presumptive Supreme Court nominees.

Meanwhile, the Democratic primary is dragging on. What if, as Harry Reid proposed (albeit mostly rhetorically back in February), it’s the Democratic National Convention — here in Philadelphia from July 25th to 28th — that’s the chaotic one? Read more »

How to Get A Vacant House Knocked Down: Turkey Vultures

Fox 29 - saw turkey vultures

A still from Fox 29’s report on a West Philly house invaded by turkey vultures.

Update, 5:15 p.m.: L&I’s Karen Guss says the building is indeed under demolition. She tells Philadelphia magazine inspectors had been monitoring the building for years, and made the decision to tear it down after seeing how its condition had deteriorated over the last few weeks.

Last night Fox 29’s Bruce Gordon had a report in West Philadelphia. Gordon, a William Tennent graduate, has been with Fox 29 since 1996. He’s one of the station’s elder statesmen; he’ll cover the big story of the day, do investigative reports or ask tough questions of politicians. Sometimes, like last night, he reports on turkey vultures.

Gordon’s report aired recently on Fox 29, some time after the “crews paint over dead squirrel” in Plymouth Meeting piece. It was a bit of classic TV consumer reporting: Neighbors come to the TV station about a problem no one seems to be able to fix, and the TV station gets results! Also, it was about turkey vultures at a vacant home in West Philadelphia. Read more »

Philly-Set Game Homefront: The Revolution Releases Today

Homefront: The Revolution

Homefront: The Revolution features a stylized version of Philadelphia. This would be Morgan’s Pier in the game. You have to love what Groundswell Design Group has done with the place!

When Fasahat Salim and his team were working on Homefront: The Revolution, they realized they had a problem. The latest in the Homefront series — the first developed by Dambuster Studios, where Salim is a designer — was set in Philadelphia. Yet the setting was causing a problem.

“I think nothing quite says Philadelphia more than a rowhouse,” Salim tells Philadelphia magazine via phone from England, where the game was made. “Rowhouses are actually quite key to a lot of the areas that we have in our game … initially, they’re all quite similar from the outside, so it was kind of difficult — at least in the early stages — for us to get any kind of satisfying gameplay because everything kind of felt the same.

“To fix that, we got into this situation where we got to blow holes through these buildings and open up routes that allowed players to jump in and out of these buildings and cut through streets and back alleys really quickly. So, all of a sudden, it feels like it’s war-torn but it’s also serving a gameplay purpose.”

If you ever wanted to blow a hole through a neighbor’s rowhome, there’s finally a game that lets you do it. Read more »

Former Pa. Governor Tom Ridge: I’m Not Voting Republican This Year

Tom Ridge, Donald Trump

Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge has voted Republican every four years since his 18th birthday. He says that streak will end in 2016.

In an opinion piece published under Ridge’s name in U.S. News and World Report today, Ridge says he cannot vote for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in November.

“My disregard for Donald Trump has been well documented by multiple media outlets over the last several months, so I won’t belabor it yet again,” Ridge writes. “Suffice to say that I am disappointed that he is our party’s nominee. With a bumper-sticker approach to policy, his bombastic tone reflects the traits of a bully, not an American president and statesman. If he cannot unite Republicans, how can he unite America? I simply cannot endorse him.” Read more »

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