BREAKING: Norman Foster to Design New Comcast Building

449px-Comcast_PhillyRumors have been mounting lately that Liberty Property Trust has something big and Comcast-related planned for its space at 18th and Arch. And now Hidden City is reporting that whatever Liberty’s plans are, they will involve a design by world-renowned Foster + Partners.

Even if you’re not familiar with the Pritzker Prize-winning, London-based architects, you’ve probably ogled some of their work. The famous London “gherkin” is a good example. As is France’s enormous Millau Viaduct. In other words, this is pretty big news for our future skyline.

Liberty’s past projects have included One Liberty Place as well as the first Comcast Center, so we know they like breaking records. For now, no one at Liberty is saying a word and neither are representatives from Foster. Stay tuned to see how this develops, and head over to Hidden City to check out some original renderings for the lots surrounding the Comcast Center. Remember the American Commerce Center?

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Hoaxmaster Tuiasosopo Had “Romantic Feelings” for Manti Te’o

In an interview with, who else, Dr. Phil, the Manti Te’o Hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo revealed that he was in love with Te’o throughout the time he was faking the voice of Te’o’s fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua. In other words, he  was living vicariously through the fake girlfriend he created, in order to feel closer to the Notre Dame star. Dr. Phil previewed his interview with Tuiasosopo, which airs Thursday, to NBC’s Mike Taibbi.

Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love. I asked him straight up, “Was this a romantic relationship with you?” And he says yes. I said, “Are you therefore gay?” And he said, “Well, hen you put it that way, yes.” And then he caught himself and said, “I am confused.”

Tuiasosopo also claimed full responsibility, denying Te’o was in on the hoax.

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[Deadspin]

Opening Soon: Garage and Growlers

Suddenly Jason Evenchik has an empire. The man behind Time/Bar/Vintage and the upcoming Garage in South Philadelphia is also partnering with Jay Willard (Dandelion and El Vez) to open Growlers in the previous home of Vesuvio and Little Bar at 8th and Fitzwater.

Evenchik tells us that Growlers will be a gastropub with a living room feel. The wood burning fireplace in the dining room will be a focal point.

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Is Philly’s Four Seasons In Winter?

Lately, I’ve been hearing chatter among the city’s business elite that Philadelphia’s Four Seasons just isn’t what it used to be. One tipster said that the company might actually be pulling out of the market. And on my own recent visit to the property, built back in the days when Bill Green Sr. was the mayor and the Philadelphia 76ers actually won a championship, it seemed more like a Convention Center Marriott than an “elegant … five-star luxury” property, as the website promises. Read more »

On (And Off) The Record At Hop Sing Laundromat

There have been a lot of stories told about Hop Sing Laundromat and its owner/operator/inventor/driving force, the singularly-named Lêe. Some of them are true (yeah, free shoe shines) and some of them are not (no, it’s not going to be open in April, or probably May either, and no, there is not going to be a secret entrance), but all of them have been bouncing around the interweb for months now as Philly’s food writers, cocktail fiends, real estate speculators, Chinatown watchers and lovers of modern mysteries have traded them like bubblegum cards–hoping that the strangest of them will be true, worrying that none of us will ever know for sure as potential opening dates have whistled by seemingly unnoticed by Lêe himself.

My favorite of all the rumors? The thing about the bar–that a month or so ago, with his 40-foot, custom-designed bar already roughed out, wired and piped, he dropped by the space late one night and decided that it was all wrong. The whole thing needed to be moved to the other side of the room, completely torn out and rebuilt. That one turned out to be true.

But, of course, I didn’t know the whole story.

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Praise Be To God: The Shake Shack Cometh… Officially!

You know that you’re living in a food-worshiping town when the prospect of a burger and milkshake stand from New York could fuel rampant speculation, off-the-record phone calls, and anonymous tips. But such has been the case for over a year regarding the esteemed Manhattan-founded Shake Shack, with the first fattening tidbits coming in to Foobooz way back in December 2009.

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