Hello, Amazon HQ2; Goodbye, Affordability (Assuming That Happens)

Expect house prices to take off like a rocket if Amazon should come to town, says Drexel’s Kevin Gillen. But don’t expect Amazon to come to town, he adds. | iStock graphic

What would happen to house prices in Philadelphia if Amazon chooses it for its second headquarters?

Watch Philly become New York in short order, says Kevin Gillen of Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. But, he says, it’s not likely to happen.

“I consider the probability of [Amazon putting its headquarters in Philadelphia] as between zero and minus one,” Gillen said in an interview.

He sees the mad scramble touched off by Amazon’s request for proposals from large cities across the country as a ploy meant to extract better incentives from the city where it already intends to set up shop. Read more »

Eagles Announce New Charitable Event for Autism Research

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Mayor Jim Kenney and representatives from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University and Thomas Jefferson University/Jefferson Health stood together on a stage atop the grass of Lincoln Financial Field on Friday to announce a new annual charitable event dedicated to raising funds to advance research and support for Autism Spectrum Disorder – with a lofty goal, too.

The Eagles Autism Challenge features a family-friendly 5K run/walk as well as cycling routes of 15, 30 and 50 miles that will take riders through the city and its suburbs. The running course will shuttle participants through South Philly before ending back at Lincoln Financial Field, which will serve as the finish line for all runners and bikers. Don’t drink too much at the Friday Kick-Off Party the night before the big event, which will be held on May 19, 2018. You can already sign up or just donate here.

Read more »

Cell Phones That Charge in Seconds? New Research From Drexel Says It’s Possible

Dr. Yury Gogotsi | Photo via Drexel.edu

The battery hasn’t advanced in decades, and engineers at Drexel University want to change that. A team of researchers led by College of Engineering professor Dr. Yury Gogotsi has been quietly developing a material that can pave the way for a new class of high-power batteries. The material is called MXene, and it has the power to fully charge a cell phone within seconds, the scientists say. Dr. Gogotsi’s team published a paper in Nature Energy’s July issue that debuted functional designs for MXene electrodes that make real-world applications of the futuristic material more attainable than ever.

If you’re wondering just how MXene might change the game (and how soon), and what it all means for Drexel and Philly’s place in the field of material science, BizPhilly talked to Dr. Gogotsi, who’s also director of Drexel’s A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, to get some answers. Here’s what he had to say. Read more »

Drexel Frat Suspended for Five Years

Drexel’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house via Google Maps

A Drexel University fraternity has been suspended for five years.

Tau Kappa Epsilon, located at 3421 Powelton Ave., was already temporarily suspended earlier this month amidst a sexual assault investigation. Drexel officials say the five-year suspension is unrelated to the sexual abuse allegations and is instead a result of the fraternity’s disregard of the school’s alcohol policy. Read more »

Report: Drexel Police Investigating Second Frat for Sexual Assault

drexel frat

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house via Google Maps

A little more than a week since Drexel University suspended a fraternity amidst a sexual assault investigation, a second frat is allegedly being probed for a reported rape.

Campus police told 6ABC that the alleged incident at Pi Kappa Alpha, located at 210 N. 34th Street, was reported this past weekend. No other details have been offered.  Read more »

Love Rosé? This Tasting Will Make You an Expert

Springtime (and warm weather, we presume?) is here, which means that it’s almost time for everyone’s favorite pink-hued alcoholic beverage to dominate.

Thanks to the Philly Chef Conference, you can learn all about rosé before you pop bottles this summer. In a continuation of conference programming, sommelier Victoria James will present a lecture and tasting of rosés at Drexel University’s Academic Bistro. And she’s bringing along some special guests to discuss the ways rosé pairs so well with artisan cheeses and pasture-raised meats.

Read more »

Drexel Suspends Frat Amid Sexual Assault Investigation

Drexel’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house via Google Maps

This is a developing story. Check back for more information.

Drexel University has suspended a fraternity under investigation amid two sexual assault allegations.

The university has suspended the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house (known as TKE), located at 3421 Powelton Ave. Officials say the incidents are alleged to have occurred between April 28th and May 4th.  Read more »

Tax Abatement Huge Shot in Arm for City, Study Finds

The 10-year tax abatement program has led to an explosion of new housing in the city, much of it at the lower end of the market, a BIA study finds. And when the abatements expire, the city's balance sheet will be better off for it.

The 10-year tax abatement program has led to an explosion of new housing in the city, much of it at the lower end of the market, a BIA study finds. And when the abatements expire, the city’s balance sheet will be better off for it.

Consider the 10-year property tax abatements on new construction and rehabilitation a down payment on a future gusher in revenue for the city thanks to the huge jump in construction activity it has triggered, argues a study released in late March by the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.

The abatement, which freezes property taxes on improvements to commercial and residential property in the city for 10 years from completion, has completely reversed the trendlines for new construction activity in the city compared to its suburbs, states the BIA report, “Philadelphia’s 10-Year Property Tax Abatement” (PDF). Since its implementation in 2000, new home building in the city has increased by 376 percent, while in the suburbs, it has fallen 11.25 percent on average across the four collar counties.

That means a future flood of revenues into city coffers. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: Vue32, the Building

Vue32 offers many amenities, but this is the one management's counting on to wow the tenants. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Vue32 offers many amenities, but this is the one management’s counting on to wow the tenants. | Photos: Sandy Smith

When we checked out the Vue32 project ten months ago, it was only barely rising from a hole in the ground.

It’s progressed quite nicely since then, and its developer, Radnor Property Group (RPG), expects to open the first element of the mixed-use tower — a day care facility and preschool on its first two floors — sometime around the end of next month.

And so it was that construction crews from general contractor TN Ward Company were all over the site when we visited yesterday, sprinting to finish the various pieces of this complex.

Actually, several of the apartment floors were closer to completion than the day care center was, probably so Vue32 property manager Bozzuto Management Group could show prospective tenants the actual spaces they could call home starting Real Soon Now. Read more »

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