The flame in our jack-o-lanterns is still going strong, and we haven’t even begun to think about what we’re serving for Thanksgiving, but local businesses are already announcing plans for the holidays to give eager elves the chance to get the ball rolling on their [insert your winter holiday of choice] plans.
We all have those days—the ones when the only thing that can snap you out of your Criminal Minds marathon and get you into your sneakers for a workout is the promise of a delicious free meal afterward. And lucky for you, we’ve got just that: Starting this Saturday, The Market & Shops at Comcast Center is hosting a nine-week boot camp series where you pay $10 to attend each hour-long class, and then at the end of each class you get your money back in the form of a $10 voucher to spend at The Market & Shops that day. That’s a chunk of fancy-shmancy cheese from Di Bruno’s or a nice big bag of fruit from Sook Hee’s Produce—all for free, you guys!
Chops Restaurant, which has been operating as an open air cafe at the Comcast Center, has now opened its indoor space as well. The restaurant that succeeded Table 31 opened yesterday and will only be serving its Restaurant Week menu over its first two weeks. That means there will be a $20 three-course lunch option and a $35 dinner prix fixe as well.
The look is modern but more casual than Table 31 ever was. Once Restaurant Week ends, there will be a grander opening.
Chops Restaurant [Foobooz]
Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Comcast can’t wait for its giant new tower to rise and give a big old middle finger to everybody in West Philadelphia — the company needs office space now.
Or at least by October.
Philadelphia magazine’s Best of Philly Taste Tests are set for tomorrow, June 12th on the lower level of the Comcast Center. Head there at 12 p.m. and help crown the Best Juice, Best Whoopie Pie and Best Tomato Pie winners.
Get there right at noon as the free samples are sure to go fast.
The Market and Shops at Comcast Center recently kicked off a new signature event series called TSquared that will take place every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Formats for the event space include fashion and beauty pop-up parties, art installations, fitness, professional seminars and concerts. This week: a Pop-Up Art Gallery featuring more than 50 works from local artists. Guests, and students from the University of the Arts, Moore College of Art, Tyler School of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art celebrated with an opening reception, enjoying works of art, spirits and light fare from Di Bruno Brothers. I snapped some photos of the event below.
Philly Tech Week’s Signature Event was held at the Comcast Center on Friday, April 11th. It was part cocktail party, part local tech expo, and part demo party. It was a great event to network and served as a great capper for another successful year of Philly Tech Week. Food was provided by DiBruno Brothers and Shake Shack. Local beer (and open bar) was provided by Yards.
The last time we ranked the most powerful people in Philadelphia, in November 2009, Brian Roberts came in at a solid but not spectacular number 11. The book on Roberts was that he used his clout to run his company and not necessarily to influence life in the city.
So what’s happened in four and a half years that’s vaulted him to the top of our list? Simple: Comcast is vastly larger, more powerful and more ambitious than it was then — a reflection of Roberts’s growing vision for the company.
Since acquiring control of NBC Universal in 2011, Comcast has become one of the world’s most prominent and profitable media conglomerates, with interests in everything from Internet service and home security to movies, TV production and theme parks. And its momentum shows no sign of stopping. In February the company announced its intention to buy Time Warner Cable, which — if the sale is approved by the FCC and the Justice Department — would give it control of 30 percent of all U.S. cable and Internet markets. Perhaps more importantly for Philadelphia, the company also announced plans to build a second office tower in Center City — this one designed by renowned architect Norman Foster. (Ground will be broken this summer on the new building, which will bring 6,300 temporary construction jobs and 2,800 permanent positions to Center City.)
Philly Mag editor Tom McGrath talked with Roberts, 54, about the state of the company, plans for the new building, and how Philadelphia’s fate is now entwined with that of its most high-profile corporation.
With the focus on innovation and technology, your new building seems to be a statement about where Comcast is headed as well as a major commitment to Philadelphia. Does it feel that way to you? It does. Initially the project was started by simply … we’re out of space, which is hard to imagine. We’re always careful not to get ahead of ourselves, but we have a thousand employees who work in downtown Philadelphia who don’t have an office in the Comcast Center. And so the project began purely out of space needs. Once we started to discuss what we would build, that’s when I felt we should try to think about what the company’s needs are going to be. Where is the growth coming from? And a lot of that growth is around innovation and technology.
And that raised the question: Should we build that in Philadelphia? And the answer is, we think we can successfully recruit and attract the talent, and retain the talent, and do something that perhaps no one is doing anywhere in the country — build a vertical campus, and have the newest part of the campus be completely different from the last building and give it its own personality and sense of purpose.
Ten years ago, Comcast was mostly a cable company. After the NBC Universal acquisition, you became a cable and content company. How do you see yourselves going forward? We’ve thought about that question a lot, and with the help of [chief communications officer] D’Arcy Rudnay, we have a real definition. We view ourselves uniquely at the crossroads of media and technology. We are helping to create news, entertainment, sports, broadband, connectivity for homes and businesses, new advertising platforms. There are other news and sports and media companies, and there are other cable companies, and there are people who only focus on phone and wireless. Our company has the opportunity to touch all of those spaces here and, hopefully in the future, around the world.
John Pron, a former professor of architecture at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, has a problem with Comcast’s burgeoning corporate campus. In an article published in last month’s Art Matters (recently made available online), Diane M. Fiske asks Pron what he thinks of the Norman Foster-designed CITC. Like most, he looks forward to the new building on Arch, even referring to it as “marvelous” and “dramatic.”
But Pron worries about pedestrian life. As it is, he says, pedestrian life between 15th and 30th along the stretches of Market and JFK suffers from little opportunity to connect with pedestrian activity along Arch Street and around Logan Square. Not helping matters is the north/northeast side of Comcast One, whose sidewalk-level design blocks pedestrians from easily entering Market and JFK.