Photo | Jeff Fusco
I don’t really know what to think of the Wells Fargo Center. For example, the original first sentence of this story was, “The Wells Fargo Center sucks.”
So I guess I’m leaning that way. I don’t hate it though. I’ve attended hundreds of events there. Mostly the Sixers — but also the Flyers, concerts, WWE wrestling, arena football, the Harlem Globetrotters, summer merchandise clearance sales, sneaker conventions, plus a summer interning at Comcast SportsNet’s website (where, one night at work, I watched a Britney Spears concert from the hockey press box).
There’s just nothing it does great. I’ve been attempting to come up with my favorite thing about it and the best one I can think of is, “The concourses are wider than they were at the Spectrum.” This narrowly beat out “the roast beef sandwich at the old brewpub, if they still serve them.” It doesn’t have a sense of place. It’s been named for four different banks. It’s kind of bland. It’s just at the top of a parking lot hill surrounded by fence and a highway.
The Sixers don’t like the Wells Fargo Center either, maybe for some of the same reasons I don’t. The main problem the Sixers have, though, is they don’t own the arena. Comcast Spectacor does. That means less income for the owners, which means the team is less valuable. The Sixers, then, don’t get any money from the Wells Fargo Center naming rights. As such, the Sixers have stopped referring to the Wells Fargo Center as the Wells Fargo Center.
CEO Scott O’Neil called it the arena that we play in on Twitter. “The particular bank referenced is currently not a sponsor of the Philadelphia 76ers,” a Sixers spokesperson told Biz Philly yesterday. Read more »
New Jersey is set to deploy even more funding to grow the Camden waterfront.
American Water Works is the latest company that could cash in, getting approval for a 10-year $164 million Grow New Jersey award from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The company has plans to build a 250,000 square foot headquarters in the troubled city. The project will bring 600 workers to Camden, along with 100 new jobs. The Vorhees, N.J.-based company has not indicated whether it will take the deal. Read more »
The WXTU 31st anniversary concert was held over the weekend, across the river in Camden, and much of the talk following the event was about Metro’s report discussing how Confederate battle flags were much in evidence at the affair.
We like to think of ourselves as free-speech absolutists, so we don’t want to go around telling people they shouldn’t fly whatever the hell they want. Still, unless you want to be thought a total idiot, we’d suggest using the following guidelines to determine whether or not it’s really appropriate to bring a Confederate flag into Camden, New Jersey: Read more »
When Anthony Bourdain finally came to Philadelphia to film one of his TV shows, he steered clear of the city’s iconic cheesesteak. But he recently came back around these parts for an episode of his CNN show, Parts Unknown and he showed he wasn’t afraid to woof down the region’s singular sandwich.
Debuting on Sunday, May 31 at 9 p.m., this week’s episode is all about New Jersey and Bourdain makes his way to Camden for a cheesesteak from Donkey’s Place. Bourdain calls the cheesesteak “sublime” and “unbelievably good.”
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According to several news outlets across Philadelphia, including CBS3 and Fox29, a two-alarm fire broke out on Kaighn Avenue in Camden early this morning. Pennsauken and Camden fire departments responded to the blaze.
Fox29 reports that, at this time, the fire is mostly under control but smoke still surrounds the three-story building. PATCO, which runs on tracks near the home, has not experienced service delays due to the situation. Read more »
President Barack Obama is visiting Camden today, taking a close look at the policing operations of a city that appears to be becoming safer.
“The newly-established Camden County Police Department has gained national recognition for the strides its made in its use of community policing,” KYW reports. “During his visit, the president will tour the Real-Time Tactical Operational Intelligence Center at the police department’s headquarters.” Read more »
The chief of Camden County Police has always had a mission of reducing violence in the community, but now he’s choosing a novel way to accomplish the task — by reducing his own department’s use of force.
Chief Scott Thomson this week told officers he is creating a new mentorship program within the department to focus on minimizing the use of force and increasing the use of “de-escalation techniques.” Read more »
Radio Lofts at Front and Cooper Street | Google Street View
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: the condo project has Radio Lofts in Camden is (still) stalled. It’s been around a decade since Carl Dranoff had planned to bring 86 high-end lofts to the Cooper-Grant neighborhood in Camden. The Inquirer reports that there is no start in sight for the project, largely due to lack of funds to properly remove the concrete floors that contain harmful toxins.
The Camden Redevelopment Agency, which owns the property, secured $4.5 million in grants for environmental remediation but still faces a shortfall of about $1.1 million, said agency director Saundra Johnson. The agency is responsible for cleaning up the property before Dranoff can complete the work, and Johnson said the agency was working to secure additional funding.
Yikes. Deemed structurally sound by city officials and not dangerous, the property is a severe eyesore to the area and currently has a fence around it. Up until a few years ago, it was also a drug haven and neighbors were concerned that Dranoff might pull out all together. Dranoff told The Inquirer in an email: “We remain as committed as ever to redevelop Radio Lofts.”
Dranoff has a lot going on at the moment. In the city, he’s in the thick of things as the SLS International Hotel & Residences, One Riverside and the Royal Theater. He’s also about to kick the tires on his other long-planned project called One Ardmore Place at the Cricket Avenue Lot in Ardmore.
A Must-Read from Citified:
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Camden’s waterfront | Via Google Street View
Camden has been making strides to change its image over the past few years. The state has offered huge incentives to companies willing to relocate to the city (hello, 76ers and Subaru) and a recent reports show that there has been a near 50% reduction in gunfire within city limits thanks to a technology called ShotSpotter. For all that promise comes some obvious news, Camden’s waterfront has a ton of surface parking lots. In fact, it recently won Streetsblog’s annual ‘Golden Crater’ award–a winner-take-all tournament style that pits urban parking pits against each other. The vote was close, but Camden took home the gold. Um, congratulations?
Even hollowed-out Parkersburg, West Virginia — with a name that seemed destined for victory in this contest — fell short in the championship match. Camden emerged from the final poll with a 15-vote margin to claim the third annual Golden Crater title, joining Tulsa and Rochester.
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Basic ShotSpotter sensor diagram | ShotSpotter.com
Yesterday Camden County released data from ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection tool that allows cities to track gunfire and develop proactive policing strategies as a result. The latest numbers show that between 2013 and 2014, the city of Camden experienced a 48 percent drop in gunfire — the third largest of 28 cities for which ShotSpotter has year-over-year data.
This puts Camden ahead of several larger cities in terms of gunfire reduction, most notably Chicago, Milwaukee and Oakland, California. It also coincides with a broader drop in crime in Camden: violent crime is down by 21 percent; homicide is down by 42 percent; and homicide by shootings is down by 46 percent.
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