There’s a Movie Shoot in Center City Tonight

Photo by Bradley Maule

Photo by Bradley Maule

There’s a movie shooting in Center City tonight.

I know what you’re thinking: Who chooses to shoot a film in Center City on a Friday night? Won’t the crowds be too much for actors, especially a movie that will star Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston?

Those are good questions, hypothetical quizzical reader, but I have an answer for you: The Untouchables will film on Market Street and JFK Boulevard between 15th and 20th streets, which is pretty empty on any night — even Fridays. And neither Hart nor Cranston will be in town tonight to shoot the film. Got it? Read more »

Hey, Who Left This Canoe on Market Street?

Canoe on Market Street

Do you know who left this canoe? | Photo: Dan McQuade

It’s now January 3rd, and the holidays are behind us. The city, empty yesterday, has now returned to its usual hustle and bustle. January 1st seems so far away.

Except, of course, for the canoe someone left at 19th and Market streets. Read more »

Property’s Photo of the Week: Market Street West Is Starting to Wake Up

Follow @brandywinerealty as we Build Philadelphia.

A photo posted by Brandywine Realty Trust (@brandywinerealty) on

If you follow us on Twitter (@PropertyPhilly – hit us up!), you know we have a bit of a thing for realtime crane and construction crew photos – and don’t even get us started on concrete pours. But can you blame us? Philly is rising right before our eyes!

As of late, though, Market Street in particular has been abuzz with activity: a newly built-out, mid-century-style La Colombe opened its doors at 6th and Market; upcoming units at a currently being “remodeled elevator building” at 304 Market popped up on Redfin; not to mention, the massive East Market project finally had its foundation poured.

Also recently, Richard Basciano was reported to have sold off his chunk of the 2100 block to Brandywine Realty Trust, the group who may very well have inspired this surge on Market in the first place – anyone remember when 1919 Market was a big ole’ patch of “Will-Someone-Please-Do-Something-With-This?”

Read more »

Morning Headlines: New Digital Billboards Being Tested on Market Street

If you’ve walked past the former Lit Brothers building at 7th and Market at all this past weekend, chances are you spotted what we told you was coming a few months ago: new LED billboards.

The wraparound digital signs are currently being tested, according to the Inquirer, but once permanently set are expected to “ignite a transformation” on the long dwindling commercial corridor via revenue from advertising contracts and the $10 million going into updating nearby public amenities.

New lights shine over Market East [Inquirer]

Meanwhile, in other news…

Glass Tower Starts Construction at 20th and Market

The corner of 20th and Market is going to look at lot different. Full rendering below.

The corner of 20th and Market is going to look at lot different. Full rendering below.

It was more than a year ago when Brandywine Realty Trust announced specific plans for a building that would sit on the lot at 20th and Market Street, next to the Independence Blue Cross building, which recently completed its own street-level renovation. Throughout the day on Friday, there was a lot of activity at 1919 Market Street (the vacant lot’s actual address), with a large construction vehicle making tracks in the dirt as I stared down from my nearby office window 36 stories above. People moved back and forth, industrious as ants. A public announcement had to be coming soon.

Indeed, today the company that was named Developer of the Year by Development Magazine announced that it has formed a joint venture with Berwyn-based real estate company LCOR and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System that will make the 29-story mixed-use building possible. Brandywine will handle retail, which is currently slated to be a ground-floor CVS, and the public parking lot that will accommodate 215 cars. Hunter Roberts Construction will manage the process of building the 455,000-square-foot  tower, which was designed by Barton Partners.

Here’s what we know in terms of details:

Read more »

Development Roundup: Digital Billboards Are Finally Coming to Market Street and Other Projects…

Market Street side of Mellon Independence Center. Photo credit: Google Street View

Market Street side of Mellon Independence Center.
Photo credit: Google Street View

Construction making way for video billboards set to line the roof of the former Lit Bros. building on Market Street has begun.’s Maria Panaritis reports $10 million went into the project with an additional $10 million going to updating nearby public amenities.

Investors and other involved parties are aiming for a New Year’s Eve light up as the area has long been a ghost of its retail past. The “stadiumlike, wraparound, LED signs” are expected to encourage redevelopment and bring in revenue, something it has already started doing:

Indeed, advertising contracts for billboards of this nature can be very lucrative. Merlini estimated that annual revenues from the signs to be installed atop the Lits building would be in the “seven figures.”

“We didn’t know what a revenue source it would be until we got into it,” he said, adding that advertisement contracts were already in place.

Here are other unfolding projects…

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Vaguely Plausible Plans to Demolish, Build at 11th and Market

11th and Market, facing west.  Photo credit: Google Street View.

11th and Market, facing west.
Photo credit: Google Street View.

Philadelphia’s stagnating retail corridor on the east side of Market Street might finally get a major wake-up call, and we’re not talking about the Gallery. Instead, the owners of the drab strip of stores on the block between 11th and 12th have secured new backing from IBEW and National Real Estate Advisors that makes their plans for the block seem like they might finally come to fruition. The stores currently on the 1100 block have been cleared out for demolition in July, to make way for a development named East Market.

Restaurants, entertainment, fashion stores, and even grocers will be included in the new project, but here’s a more elaborate description by the Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano:

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Looking Even Worse for the Salvation Army


The Inquirer has an examination of what people knew and when they knew it before the Hoagie City building collapsed onto the Salvation Army thrift store. This goes to the heart of the matter in terms of culpability, both criminal (civil lawsuits) and moral. It also reemphasizes what we already knew and which Victor Fiorillo wrote about in September: The Salvation Army is not looking good in this whole thing. Some fundamental questions:

– Did the store manager at the Salvation Army know the employees were at risk?
– Did the Salvation Army supervisor of nine stores know the employees were at risk?
– Did the Salvation Army organization know that the demolition was risky enough to merit closing the location while the work continued?

The Salvation Army’s lawyer, Eric A. Weiss, told the Inquirer that the organization had no idea what stage the demo had reached.

At decision-making levels, Weiss said, the charity thought it was still negotiating with its Market Street neighbor over what steps would be taken to shield the shop during demolition when the collapse occurred.

He said the Salvation Army had designated a Harrisburg lawyer to negotiate with the owner of the building being torn down, STB Investments Corp., a company controlled by real estate investor Richard Basciano.

But the Inquirer reported previously that STB warned the organization of the hazards in a series of emails. As it stands now, aside from the criminal charges filed against the demolition contractor and the excavator operator, it seems as though the Salvation Army will bear the brunt of the blame for the loss of life and the injuries suffered. Good thing they’ve got deep pockets.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Woman Who Lost Legs in Building Collapse Recounts Awful Details

The Daily News reports today on the deposition of Mariya Plekan, the woman who was trapped under the rubble of the Salvation Army thrift store for 13 hours. By the time she was rescued, her injuries were too severe to save her legs, which had to be amputated. The details she gave are haunting and hard to hear:

Plekan, who said she was conscious for the entire ordeal, recounted how she found a small hole through which she could see light and hear parts of the rescue operation above her.

“They started to move things around, then I had a hope, I had a hope that they will save me shortly. But it didn’t happen,” she said. “I was screaming, ‘Help, help.’ But nobody heard me.”

“I was praying, praying, ‘God, help me,’ so I could be found,” she said.

A search dog tracked her down.

Read more »

Market8 Group: ‘Understands Dynamics of African-American Community’


Today Market8, one of the five remaining contenders for Philadelphia’s casino license, announced new endorsements for its project: those of the Philadelphia NAACP; the Urban League of Philadelphia (ULP); the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC); and the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The endorsements shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, at least coming from ULP and UAC, with whom Market8 worked to create an inclusion strategy to benefit members of the community who are not generally included in the success of such ventures.

The NAACP’s Jerry Mondesire was impressed by the plan: “I don’t know of any other organization doing a major project that has put this much thought into its inclusion plan,” he said, explaining his organization’s endorsement.

Read more »

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