Broad Street Brief: High-Profile Democrats Visit Philadelphia as Midterms Draw Closer; New Trends In Urban, Suburban Real Estate

November 3, 2022

City Hall

President Biden, Vice President Harris Visit Philadelphia to Support Pennsylvania Democrats; Presidents Biden, Obama to Visit (Again) This Saturday

Last Friday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Philadelphia to speak at a Pennsylvania Democrats fundraiser in Center City, where they each highlighted their party’s commitment to leveling the economic playing field for working Americans. The strategic visits were intended to shore up the campaigns of Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman — the Democratic nominees for governor and U.S. Senate, respectively — the latter of whose poll numbers have continued to tighten with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in the final days of their extremely high-profile and competitive race in the crucial battleground state. This won’t be the last visit for President Biden, as he and former President Barack Obama will be visiting Philadelphia again the Saturday before the midterm elections.

Council President Clarke Introduces District Overlay that Requires Affordable Housing in New Construction

Council President Clarke introduced legislation that would establish mandatory inclusionary zoning in a portion of his 5th Council district. For more information on this bill, please review our policy alert.

New 13-Story Life-Sciences Lab, Office Building Proposed in University City

Sterling Bay and Botanic Properties have unveiled their proposal for the development of a new, 13-story life-sciences laboratory and office building at the 3801 Chestnut Street property they acquired earlier this year. The plan features an energy-efficient design and two retail spaces — as well as minimal parking — and is intended to attract biotech companies and academic tenants. The proposal is the most recent example of the growing trend of life-sciences-related property development in Philadelphia; the amount of laboratory space currently under construction in the city will increase the industry’s footprint by approximately 43 percent.

Fourth District Container Village in West Philadelphia Hosts Grand Opening

The new 4th District Container Village in West Philadelphia opened to much fanfare from local business associations, elected officials, and community members last Saturday. Visitors including Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful John Fetterman — who made brief remarks on the occasion — gathered at the new outdoor shopping space constructed from upcycled shipping containers for the grand opening. The Village features 20 small, local businesses owned by people of color, many of them women, who were selected through a Shark Tank-inspired process from over 100 eligible applicants.

The Market-Frankford El Turns 100: Celebrating Its History, Looking Toward Its Future

The Frankford Elevated Railway, more commonly known as the Frankford El, is for many Philadelphians a perhaps mundane part of their daily commute to work or a convenient means by which to run personal errands. However, in its centennial year, WHYY is looking back on how the iconic blue train line has left an indelible mark on the city, as well as what the future may hold for it as SEPTA continues to provide this public good while combating challenges such as economic depression of some neighborhoods along the route and continuing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Drexel Study Finds Indego Bikeshare Program Promotes Physical Activity Among Residents

A study conducted by Drexel University’s Urban Health Collaborative found that Philadelphia’s Indego bikeshare program may be helping to promote physical activity among residents. The study was conducted by analyzing the behavior and data of newly enrolled Indego members, 40% of whom had never been on a street bike or biked on a Philadelphia street before enrolling. While many bikeshare programs throughout the country are viewed primarily as an alternative means of transportation for residents, the potential for increased positive health outcomes is certainly noteworthy as well.

Suburban Spotlight

What Does the Future Hold for Pennsylvania’s Suburban Office Spaces?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more suburban office buildings are being abandoned — either due to employees choosing to work remotely on a permanent basis, companies deciding to eliminate overhead costs, or a combination of both. Pennsylvania is no exception, with approximately a quarter of its suburban office complexes and campuses sitting vacant. Now, enterprising commercial real estate professionals like Zach Moore and Tony Grelli of Velocity Venture Partners are envisioning what the future looks like for these buildings.

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