The Pieces Fall Into Place on Market Street East

East Market is intended to be the linchpin of the transformation of Market East. Its developer and the two others that have placed the biggest bets on the street’s future delivered a progress report to Central Philadelphia Development Corporation members this morning. | Rendering: BLT Architects via National Real Estate Development

This morning’s announcement that AMC will bring an eight-screen deluxe cinema to Fashion District Philadelphia is merely the latest piece of evidence that a virtuous cycle of renewal may finally be coming to Market Street East.

It’s also the latest element in a transformation that’s ushering in what Center City District Executive Director Paul Levy termed “the fifth phase” of Market East’s history.

The audience at today’s Central Philadelphia Development Corporation quarterly meeting at the Union League got an update on how that circle is being formed from the three developers responsible for getting the thing rolling: Mark Merlini, partner at Brickstone Realty; Daniel Killinger, managing director of National Real Estate Development, and Joseph F. Coradino, chief executive officer at PREIT. They also got a rundown on the progress each is making in finding tenants for their developments. Read more »

Why T.J. Maxx Is Just Right for East Market

Move over, Market Street Marshalls. A new discount retailer is moving to that part of town.

The Inquirer reported this week that a new T.J. Maxx will open its doors in Philly in the coming months as part of the highly-anticipated East Market development, which runs from Market to Chestnut and from 11th Street to 12th . Both parent company TJX, which also owns HomeGoods and Marshalls, and developer National Real Estate Development have yet to make an official announcement.

Sources close to the project told the publication that the store will join other tenants that have already locked in a space at the 4.3-acre development. That’s Mom’s Organic Market (which opened Friday morning), Wawa (to open in 2018), Iron Hill Brewery (coming spring 2018), and City Fitness (slated to open spring/summer 2018). Read more »

Philly’s Market East Is Now the Country’s Top Destination for Retailers, Report Says

Partial view of the second apartment tower at East Market. | Rendering: Morris Adjami via National Real Estate Development LLC

It’s clear the buzz about Market East won’t let up anytime soon. We still haven’t come down from the news that the area is getting a Wawa, City Fitness and Iron Hill Brewery next year; and now, real estate services firm JLL says the burgeoning Market East is the most affordable and desirable retail corridor in the country.

In its first ever City Retail report, JLL ranked the country’s most affordable and desirable prime urban retail corridors based on an average of each location’s annual asking rent per square foot. Retailers looking to expand better look at Philly: Market East’s average asking prime retail rent is $50 per square foot, more affordable than Chicago’s Wicker Park and Seattle’s Pike Street, which were ranked second and third on the list of ten locales.

“Market East emerged at the top of the pile because we’re seeing significant reinvestment in the retail destination that was once the heart of Philly shopping,” Lauren Gilchrist, JLL vice president of research told me. The corridor’s been long anchored by Macy’s and Wanamaker’s before that, but it languished because of blighted buildings, vacant lots and “a failed inward-facing mall,” according to the report. Read more »

Wawa Coming to East Market

Architect’s rendering of Ludlow tower with Wawa on ground floor: BLT Architects via National Real Estate Development

Remember when Wawa stores were thick on the ground all over Center City and adjacent neighborhoods?

Looks like they will be once again, for this morning, in a news conference fueled by plenty of free Wawa coffee, officials at National Real Estate Development (National Development) announced their latest tenant signing for the retail portion of the East Market project: a Wawa store to go on the 12th and Market corner.

“We are delighted that Wawa, one of the most beloved brands in our region, will be our next partner in reshaping the East Market neighborhood,” Daniel Killinger, National Development’s managing director, said in a news release. “Together, with all of our tenants, we are creating a dynamic urban neighborhood, transforming Market Street with active ground floor retail tenants. Wawa is a perfect anchor for East Market on Market Street.” Read more »

So That’s Why Funk-O-Mart Has Been Calling Itself “The Wiz”

The Wiz - It’s Always Sunny

At left: The Gang from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” gathers outside The Wiz, a fictional store in the first episode of Season 12. At right: An actual electronics store using The Wiz prop as its sign.

Last night was the premiere of the 12th season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the raunchy, clever FXX comedy starring Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, and Danny DeVito. In last night’s premiere — “The Gang Turns Black” — Mac, Dennis, Sweet Dee, Charlie, and Frank found themselves turned from white to black thanks to an electric shock they received while watching The Wiz. (The characters look the same, but look like black people in their reflections; it sounds confusing but was actually done pretty well.)

The best thing about It’s Always Sunny is how it plays on TV tropes, and last night’s episode was a great example: Thrust into a musical version of their own lives, The Gang realizes it must be a plot to make them learn an important lesson. They sing “What are the rules?” throughout the episode. Read more »

What You’ll See in Center City’s New Target

A mural inside Target on Chestnut Street shows Philly landmarks in Target's design style

A mural inside the new Chestnut Street Target. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

The wait is finally over. Center City has a Target.

The new Target, located at 1128 Chestnut Street, is one of the discount chain’s 23 “flexible format” stores and the first located in Philadelphia. It is the 35th Target in the Philadelphia area.

The store can be entered from either Chestnut or Sansom Street, and is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

It’s smaller that an average Target, which is around 130,000 square feet. The one on Chestnut Street is just 19,000 — which means it won’t be selling big-screen televisions, couches or other big-ticket items you’d find at a Target store. Read more »

The Gallery Is Covered in Dust and Debris

The Gallery - renovation

Photo | Dan McQuade

The escalators to the second floor of The Gallery don’t work anymore, but they’re still functional as stairs. “Thank you for the convenience,” I thought, quoting the late comedian Mitch Hedberg, as I walked up the stairs to stop at Villa.

The Villa is the last remaining sneaker shop in The Gallery, a mall that once had so many sneaker shops I was able to submit a mini-ranking of them in my ranking of Philadelphia-area malls in 2011. I went up to Villa — on the second floor of the gallery, which is actually the third level of shopping — to browse the racks of sparse, heavily discounted merchandise.

The Gallery’s remaining sneaker store is moving to the old Bare Fee/Showtime Shoes location on the 1200 block of Chestnut Street, and I picked up some cheap Stance socks before it moves at the end of the month. (If you think buying a pair of socks for $5 is silly, imagine paying $16 for a pair.) Read more »

Report: Brickstone Planning Two Towers at 12th and Sansom

The garage at 12th and Sansom | Google Street View

The garage at 12th and Sansom | Google Street View

It seems like every other week we’re bringing you some news about a brand new development coming to Midtown Village. Well, buckle up, folks. It’s that time of the week again.

Brickstone Cos., the developer whose wrapping up a major apartment/Target project at 1112-1128 Chestnut Street and also working on restoring the Hale Building into offices, is planning their next big project: a large mixed-use development featuring two towers at 12th and Sansom.

The site is currently a lifeless parking garage, but Jacob Adelman of the Inquirer reports that Brickstone wants to bring at least one residential tower and a separate office tower with a hotel to the busy corner. As with their other projects, Brickstone is also planning on adding ground floor retail to bring some life to the street.

Read more »

The Brief: Anthony Williams a No-Show at Dem (Dis)Unity Breakfast

This is the last time we'll run this photo. Promise. | Photos by Jeff Fusco.

This is the last time we’ll run this photo. Promise. | Photos by Jeff Fusco.

1. Anthony Williams a no-show at Democratic post-election unity breakfast to rally behind mayoral nominee Jim Kenney.

The gist: State Senator Anthony Williams was a no-show at a let’s-all-hug breakfast organized by party boss Bob Brady on behalf of Jim Kenney yesterday morning, Chris Brennan reports for the Inquirer. The entire point of the breakfast — which Brady graciously also hosted in 2007, when he was defeated by Michael Nutter — is to set aside any lingering hard feelings from the election (publicly, anyway), and make a show of backing the party’s nominee. Most of the breakfast attendees were Democratic ward leaders. Williams, in addition to being the (distant) 2nd place finisher in last week’s mayoral election, is a ward leader.

So where was he? Williams told Brennan that “he did not know about the breakfast meeting, received no invitation, and had no plans ‘to crash the party.'” That seems … dubious. Kenney shrugged it off. He told Brennan: “People take some time off … I assume that’s what it is, and I wish him well with the time he’s taking off to recharge and get back in the game.” Read more »

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