A New Brunch For Center City

ruths-chris-bar 940

Because apparently this city can never have too many brunch spots, it was announced last week that national steakhouse chain Ruth’s Chris (which recently opened a Center City location on the first floor of the Sonesta at 18th and Market, in the old home of that English pub that I only went to once, even though it was literally right around the corner from my office) was going to be launching a brand new brunch service in Philly on February 4.

Our is one of only two cities where this experiment is being tried (the other is Boston). So let’s see what we’re in for, shall we?

Read more »

Multiple Anti-Trump Protests Planned in Philly Today

Donald Trump at Geno's

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with customers during a visit to Geno’s Steaks, Thursday, September 22th, 2016, in Philadelphia | AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

It’s happening.

Today, WWE Hall of Famer and former Trump Steaks pitchman Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America.

Only 15 percent of Philadelphians voted for Trump. As one might expect, there are multiple protests planned for today.

Cops have been talking with protest leaders, and say they expect a relatively low-key day. Police say to expect delays “especially in the areas of Center City, City Hall and Independence Mall from 12:00PM through the evening hours.” Yeah, so all of downtown. Read more »

More Residential Towers Coming Near North Broad

Rendering of the proposed Hamilton development's Hamilton Street elevation. | Renderings: MY Architecture

Rendering of the proposed Hamilton development’s Hamilton Street elevation. | Renderings: MY Architecture

Having developed two apartment towers in University City, Radnor Property Group (RPG) is turning its sights to the North Broad Street corridor for its next in-city project.

Curbed Philly reports that the developer has submitted a proposal for a mixed-use project called The Hamilton to the Civic Design Review panel. The project consists of two towers containing a combined 600 residential units, 8,000 square feet of street-level retail, and a partly buried 150-space parking garage.

The design by MY Architecture shows two towers, one of then 197 feet high and the other 131 feet high, clad in metal and glass. RPG proposes to construct the project in two phases. Read more »

Today Is the Best Day to Be Working in Center City

a rainy Center City day on January 2nd, 2017

Photo | Dan McQuade

I used to start work at 6 a.m. Every morning I’d wake up at 5, shower away my grogginess and walk to the Comcast Center. Downtown is different at that hour. It’s dark. Stray or outdoor pet cats, usually hidden by the bustle, are out prowling the streets. The only people I’d regularly see in the morning were the friendly drug dealers and sex workers on 13th Street. Occasionally I’d pass a worker setting up a food cart. Otherwise, I was mostly on the streets alone.

I’ve lived in Center City for eleven and a half years. Only during my childhood in the Far Northeast did I spend more time in one neighborhood. I love living here. Even my side street is usually full of activity. And my walk from my place in Washington Square West to the Philadelphia magazine offices at 19th and Market is usually full of sights and sounds.

Except today. Most offices are closed today, but not Philly Mag. My walk to work reminded me of those early-morning walks to the Comcast Center. There’s just one food cart on Market Street. The only downtown regular I saw is the guy who preaches at the northeast corner of 16th and Market. Center City was busier on Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Read more »

Little Pete’s to Close by End of August

Little Pete's awning

The awning at Little Pete’s at 17th and Chancellor streets in Center City | Photo: Dan McQuade

Little Pete’s has a closing date.

The diner, one of only a handful of diners left in Center City, has been told it needs to vacate its 17th Street premises by the end of August. Plans call for the beloved diner to be replaced by a Hyatt Centric hotel. The parking garage on the parcel, as well as a City Nails location and the flower shop Blossom, will also be demolished.

Co-owner John Koutroubas, who owns Little Pete’s with his brother Pete, confirmed the closure date while working the register yesterday. He said the diner may move out earlier than the end of August. Read more »

The Authenticity Trap: Harp & Crown Reviewed

Photo courtesy Will Figg

Photo courtesy Will Figg

On a cold night in December, we threaded our way through the crowds on Sansom Street and found the unobtrusive door. We pushed through the heavy curtains hung to keep the drafts out and stepped into the front room hung with green and living things like a Charleston sunporch, then into the massive, vaulted main space of Harp & Crown, Michael Schulson’s newest experiment in feeding and watering Philadelphia.

Read more »

How the Sharing Economy Is Changing Office Space

Coworking space provider Benjamin's Desk is one of the major forces reviving the Center City office space market.

Coworking space provider Benjamin’s Desk is one of the major forces reviving the Center City office space market.

Two booms taken together turned Center City Philadelphia from a somewhat sleepy place at night with a buzz-cut of a skyline to a vibrant, round-the-clock environment with a true big-city downtown profile.

The first was the office construction boom that was touched off by Liberty Place, the building that broke the buzz cut. The second was a wave of new residents that first began to stream into the city center around that same time.

But as that wave turned into a flood, the two booms ended up canceling out the city’s office-sector growth. Older office buildings were turned into residences even as new office buildings went up, thus keeping the office market (and the rough number of office workers) flat. The culmination of this canceling-out was the conversion of Two Liberty Place’s upper floors into condominiums in the early 2000s. Read more »

PECO: It Wasn’t an Explosion at Substation That Sent Foam Into Streets

Foam on Juniper Street

Photo | Dan McQuade

It was an instant Philadelphia gathering.

On Saturday, I was in a car heading down Pine Street. We were rushing to get home. But suddenly I told my girlfriend to stop and park: There was foam all over the streets. We had to see this.

Everyone else passing by had the same idea. The intersection of Pine and Juniper streets was an instant party; people were taking photos of the foam, then turning their cameras around to take selfies. One man took it upon himself to tell everyone that the foam was cancerous, and to stay out of it. When I tweeted a photo of the foam, I got a reply with a photo from the other side of the foam, near Lombard Street. It was a party on both sides of the foam! Read more »

CCD Report: Millennials Help Spur Strong Retail Growth

National and international retailers like Uniqlo have created positive buzz and helped turn around Chestnut Street's fortunes, but independent local retailers remain the backbone of Center City's increasingly strong retail scene. | Photo: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

National and international retailers like Uniqlo have created positive buzz and helped turn around Chestnut Street’s fortunes, but independent local retailers remain the backbone of Center City’s increasingly strong retail scene. | Photo: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Just as the influx of new residents into Center City ultimately overflowed its confines, the retailers and restaurateurs that are rushing to serve them are finding they need to expand their horizons in order to find suitable space.

That’s one of the main takeaways from “Center City Reports: Philadelphia Retail” (PDF), the latest in a series of periodic reports by the Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, issued yesterday (Dec. 5). Read more »

You’ll Be Able to Charge Your Phone at the New Center City Wawa

Wawa - 1900 Market

Workers perform the finishing touches on the new Wawa at 20th and Market streets. It opens tomorrow | Photo: Dan McQuade

Earlier this week, we wrote about the new Wawa opening on Friday at 1900 Market Street in Center City, the largest urban Wawa in the chain. Now, we have more details for you, the Wawa-obsessed public.

The new store, which is actually closer to 20th and Market, opens at 8 a.m. Grand opening ceremonies start at 10, and will include Mayor Jim Kenney, cheerleaders, local mascots Swoop (Eagles) and Wally Goose (Wawa), and, of course, free coffee all day. Wawa will also be donating $75,000 to Philabundance.

But here’s the most exciting part: Read more »

« Older Posts