Morning Headlines: Are You Ready to Fly From Philly to Cuba?
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
Coming soon: A once-a-week flight from Philly to Cuba?
Maybe. The New York Times reports that eight American airlines on Wednesday submitted applications to the Department of Transportation to schedule direct flights between the United States and Cuba. Among the applications: Frontier Airlines has asked to schedule one weekly flight between Philadelphia and Varadero, a beachfront tourist resort town. The Times notes that not all the applications will be approved; public comment on the proposed routes is open until March 21.
Carl Icahn giveth, and Carl Icahn (possibly) taketh away.
The billionaire investor has promised to pump $100 million into the Taj Mahal casino and help stop the bleeding of Atlantic City — but NewsWorks reports there’s now a caveat: The money isn’t coming if New Jersey approves casinos for the north part of the state. AP quotes Icahn: “Although I had planned to invest up to $100 million in the Taj, just as I made substantial investments at the Tropicana, obviously it would not be judicious to proceed with those investments while gaming in North Jersey is an open issue, and we will have to wait to see the outcome of those proposals.” The New Jersey legislature is expected to soon approve a November referendum.
Comcast probably isn’t buying Yahoo after all.
That’s certainly what Comcast CEO Brian Roberts seemed to hint this week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference in San Francisco. Variety reports that Roberts “doesn’t see any transformative transactions” for the company anytime soon. “I don’t envision any great activity that would require a whole other conversation about us (among regulators),” he said. “We’re trying to execute this year with the momentum we’ve got.”
Philly is about to get a “second downtown” across the river from Center City.
Philly Mag’s Sandy Smith reports on the unveiling of plans for “Schuylkill Yards”: The development, which will be built in several phases starting in a few months and stretching over 20 years, will contain about 5 to 6 million square feet of space when fully built out. About 55 percent of the total will be office space, with the rest a mix of laboratory space and residential buildings, with street-level retail throughout and a landscaped public park at its heart. The development will sit on 10 acres of land Drexel owns between 30th Street Station and its campus plus another four acres Drexel and Brandywine own between them on the block bounded by 30th, 31st, Market and Chestnut streets.
“An antiseptic office building that’s not connected to anything, that’s not what people want anymore,” said Brandywine Realty Trust CEO Gerard Sweeney, whose company will develop the site with Drexel. “Our customers want an integrated lifestyle, and public spaces are key in that. Gathering places are key in that. Accessibility to mass transportation is key. High-quality space is key.”
WIP’s Big Daddy Graham just had a hiccup attack for 41 straight hours.
Philly.com reports the attack started just as Graham was about to begin a 2 a.m. shift on-air. “I started getting bouts of three to four hiccups in a row,” Graham said. “It’s a hard thing to hide on the air.” After 41 hours, he went to the hospital — “Who goes to the doctor for hiccups?” — but started hiccuping again after he was released. Doctors eventually diagnosed the problem as atrial fibrillation — and yes, that’s a heart thing, and yes, a little Googling suggests that hiccups can be a sign of it. Graham is still dealing with occasional hiccup flareups. He says: “I’m a very bad eater with very bad hours, but that’s the price I pay for doing a job I don’t consider work.”
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