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 »

The Beautiful Destruction of Market East

Snellenburg's in 1915

Snellenburg’s in 1915 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Library of Congress)

A few years ago I bought a $10 photograph at Mostly Books. My friend told me it was too much, but I didn’t bother to haggle and now it’s on my wall. It’s of Snellenburg’s at 11th and Market. I’m not sure where it’s from, but there’s a card glued to it describing the old department store. The card says the photo is courtesy the Community College of Philadelphia. I’ve assumed it was in the lobby of a since-closed building, but that’s just a guess.

Of course, I never saw that Snellenburg’s in real life. The store closed in 1962. By the time I was a kid, it had been altered and was unrecognizable to the building today. I live nearby, and I occasionally stopped by some of the stores in the building (on the way back from The Gallery). It was your usual Center City strip: City Blue, USA Boutique, Hallmark, an eyeglasses store, a cell phone shop, a dollar store, a scrub shop, a store called “FUNKY” I never set foot in. Read more »

Headlines: Brandywine Realty Trust Hints at Market East Plan

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

All signs point towards the redevelopment of the “concrete heap” of a parking garage at 7th and Market into something much different in the future. Brandywine Realty Trust recently dished out $17 million for the building and it quickly became clear that they had plans beyond its current set up. In late April, The Inquirer reported that Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, said the site could hold up to “600,000 square feet of development.” That’s some big time stuff.

Now, Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal says that Brandywine has already set the gears in motion to make that a reality, initiating a change in zoning for the mixed-use parking structure. Read more »

Is There Really Going to Be a Retail Revival at The Gallery?


A look at the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. | Image courtesy PREIT.

PREIT finally released its renderings for The Gallery, and they are shiny visions of glass and gleaming white tiles and flashy digital signage. But underneath the high-shine veneer, what are we really getting?

First, there’s a name change. The Gallery — which has long since shed its identity as the key retail hub of the city — will be known as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. The name speaks to one of the issues Philly faces in nabbing prime national retailers: They’ll come, but only in off-price, discount form (see: Nordstrom Rack and, most likely, Bloomingdale’s).  Read more »

The Secret Plans for The Gallery Have Finally Been Revealed

Is that The Gallery? No. It's the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia | Image courtesy of PREIT

Is that The Gallery? No. It’s the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia | Images courtesy of PREIT

Welp, the genie is now officially out of the bottle. PREIT and Macerich have finally come forward with their vision for The Gallery and it’s full of windows, digital signage, stark white floors, glassy escalators and 125 new restaurants and higher end shops, albeit it probably their discount lines. Hell, it won’t even be called The Gallery anymore. No, it turns out that Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia rebranding bit was true after all. It really is the end of The Gallery as we know itRead more »

East Market Update: Crews Testing Terra Cotta Panels on Site

Whether you live in the city or just stalk it on Instagram (#phillyscape, ya’ll), there’s a good chance you’ve seen the incredible demolition efforts going on at the site East Market project between 11th and 12th on Market Street. It’s captivating. Well, it’s not going to stay that way forever. In fact, the movers-and-shakers of the project are starting to test the building materials on site, as reference in the above tweet.

A representative tell us that this panel is is a sample of the terra cotta that will be at the base of the two retail podiums at East Market. BLT Architects is in charge of the design, which will completely change Market East as we know it. Phase one is expected to cost $230 million and includes 322 residential units above the retail component. Need a refresher about what it’s going to look like? Here’s a fancy gallery for you: Read more »

Photos: Strawbridge’s Becomes Century 21


Yesterday morning I went to take a look at what was once Strawbridge and Clothier and is now Century 21 — not a real estate agency, but the Gallery’s new 100,000-square-foot anchor store. Our sister site Shoppist has plenty of information about names you’ll find (Milly, Y-3, Tumi, Le Creuset, etc.) and where you’ll find them (first floor or second). I didn’t take notes on that because I was too obsessed with looking for, and finding, historical details that might ricochet me back to the days when Strawbridge’s was still a thriving entity. After all, that was an important part of Philadelphia’s history. In 1996, when the company was passed from the Strawbridge family hands to the May company, the New York Times published what amounted to a eulogy, “Philadelphia Keeps Strawbridge Name but Loses a Retail Tradition.”

Read more »

East Market Project Gets Infusion of Funds

east market rendering detail

Detail from one of the East Market renderings. Full versions below. Courtesy National Real Estate Development.

Gov. Tom Corbett has just given the East Market project a $2.5 million shot in the arm, bringing the total state monies invested so far to $10 million. The city, according to a release that went out today, will spend $4 million to spruce up the area in question, once known as Market East (which previously had a train station known as Market East as well, but now known as Jefferson. Quiz later).

The project is that massive reinvention of, er, The Area Formerly Known As Market East. From the release, here are the latest details:

The funding will help support the first phase of development for East Market, estimated to cost $230 million. This initial phase encompasses 1100 Market Street, including new construction of a mixed‐use development consisting of 107,000 square feet of new retail with frontage on Market Street and a 322-unit apartment building above the retail space. There will also be a new parking garage for 201 cars and a centralized loading facility to service this and future phases of the East Market development, all below grade to minimize traffic impacts and support the pedestrian-centric plans. Also included in this first phase is 34 South 11th Street, former home of the Family Court. This building will be transformed into 150,000 square feet of new office space and an additional 44,000 square feet of ground floor and second floor retail space.

East Market is owned by National Real Estate Advisors, JOSS Realty Partners LLC, Young Capital LLC and SSH Real Estate and is supported on this project by IBEW, NECA and NEBF.

Read more »

Philly Becomes the Land of the Logos

This space for rent?

This space for rent? Or every space for rent?

When I first moved to Philadelphia six years ago, one of its chief faults (in my view) appeared to be this: It wasn’t New York.

After living and working and starting to raise a kid here, though, I’ve come to a different opinion. One of the best things about Philadelphia? It’s not New York.

There are a lot of things I mean by that, but for our purposes today I mean this: If you’re awake and outside in Manhattan, it’s quite likely that all of your senses are being assaulted by advertising and corporate branding: Neon this, billboard that, handbills over there, posters over here. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s never-ending and sometimes you just need a break.

Yes, there is plenty of advertising in Philadelphia, but — like the city itself — it’s not quite so crammed in on top of itself. There are empty spaces on the sides of buildings! There is, occasionally, room to breathe! This is, on the whole, a pretty good thing.

But maybe that’s starting to change a little bit.

Read more »

« Older Posts