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Huge Italian Market development project proposed for 9th and Washington

Hearts leapt with delight at this proposal for a long vacant parcel at 9th and Washington -- it has character, retail, residential and PARKING.

At last night’s Passyunk Square Civic Association zoning meeting, conceptual plans were presented for a 5-story mixed-use building that would have 18,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 70 apartments, 8 single-family trinities and approximately 150 parking spaces in an underground lot.

Midwood Investment and Development, the group that is responsible for the recently-completed Cheesecake Factory location on Walnut Street, is behind this development. Though don’t worry, they called this project the “anti-cheesecake project.”

In order to blend with the existing retail on 9th Street, there would be awnings on the street-level to mimic the historic style of the Italian Market. Having those awnings would mean that the retail locations that would be tenants of this building would be able to bring some of their merchandise out onto the street, just like the other vendors in the Italian Market. During the presentation, they expressed that they’d like to keep the street level “alive” and “interactive.” A total of 18,000 sq. ft. of retail space along 9th Street and Washington Avenue is currently in the plans.


Original source: Passyunk Post
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Philadelphia Union advance to the U.S Open Cup

Our local footballers are heading to (and hosting) the finals of the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the country.

Ever since losing an extra-time heartbreaker to the Seattle Sounders in the 2014 US Open Cup title game at PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union made a pledge to get back to that same point this year.

They even came up with the motto of “Unfinished business” to guide them on their quest.

And while it may have taken some wild and unlikely wins, they accomplished that goal, beating the Chicago Fire in one Open Cup semifinal Wednesday before watching Sporting Kansas City take down Real Salt Lake in the other – a pair of results that ensured the Union will host their second straight Open Cup final.

And this time, they want to win it.

“We talked about it after the Seattle game last year that we had to get back to the final because there was unfinished business,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “But as cliché as it sounds, it’s amazing to get back. Every guy in there can look each other in the eye and be happy and know what it means to not just talk about but to actually do it. I couldn’t be prouder of our players.”


Original source: MLSsoccer.com
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Philly Mag weighs in on the future of Washington Avenue

Last year, Flying Kite checked in on the huge changes coming to Washington Avenue, an industrial corridor in transition. Now a couple of big announcements later, Philly Mag takes a look at this key thoroughfare. 

Washington Avenue forms the spine of some of the hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia: Point Breeze, Graduate Hospital, East Passyunk and Bella Vista. It’s also stood as the southernmost edge of greater Center City; a gritty and unforgiving moat of asphalt four lanes wide that makes it oh-so-clear you’re not in Society Hill any more.

Those facts of geography probably make Washington Avenue’s transformation inevitable. In fact, it’s already begun. Center City’s relentless growth has led legions of new Philadelphians to cross the Avenue, and they’re demanding it become, well, a more normal street. They want a Washington Avenue that is less quirky and less chaotic: fewer pastrami factories, more purveyors of artisanal charcuterie.

Developers are rushing to meet that demand. Several mega-projects are in the works on Washington Avenue, including a 32-story Bart Blatstein development at Broad Street that will feature a grocery store, shops, restaurants, 700 parking spaces and 1,600 apartments. Seeking to build on that momentum, city planners want to rezone the western half of the Avenue, much of which is now zoned for exclusively industrial uses.


Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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Philadelphia named one of American's best food cities

The Washington Post names Philadelphia one of the best cities in American, and takes a deep dive into what makes us unique. 

In modern Philadelphia, small is big. Unlike in other major markets, rents here are moderate, making it easy for chefs to open personal expressions. With $100,000 and a decent piece of real estate, says chef Rich Landau of the innovative vegan restaurants Vedge and V Street, “you can snap your fingers and open in two months.” Craig LaBan, the authoritative restaurant critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer, says that a hallmark of the city he covers, rich with museums and historical sites, is its “accessible sophistication.”?

Original source: The Washington Post
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La Colombe acquires influential investor, continues to expand

The founder of Chobani yogurt looks to coffee, La Colombe.

Having shaken up the yogurt world, Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani, now has his sights on a much tougher target — coffee.

Mr. Ulukaya has taken a stake in La Colombe Coffee Roasters, one of the many coffee brands that have sprung up over the last 10 years to cater to the tastes of coffee drinkers who consider themselves connoisseurs...

“We’re in what I call the third generation of coffee,” said Todd Carmichael, the co-founder and chief executive of La Colombe Coffee Roasters. “For your grandfather, coffee was basically a commodity, roasted dark, quick, hot, hard to differentiate. For you and me, it was discovery of lattes, milk-based coffee drinks. And for this generation, it’s about different beans and how a coffee grown in Ethiopia tastes different from one grown in Costa Rica.”

Mr. Carmichael once set a record for an American crossing Antarctica on foot without assistance. “The reason I did that is really just because I told people I would,” he said, explaining how he plans to grow La Colombe into a coffee empire with 150 stores, a thriving online store and robust sales into restaurants.


Original source: The New York Times
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Philly choreographer brings ballet into the modern era

Choreographer Matthew Neenan stuns with "Sunset, o639 Hours" -- the show is headed to a New York festival.

A few weeks back, the lobby of the Wilma Theater here took on the aspect of a cheap Hawaiian resort. Polynesian music twanged from speakers. Everyone who entered was offered a paper-flower lei. This was not a visit from a hula troupe. This was a gala performance of the Wilma’s resident contemporary ballet company, BalletX. And yet the atmosphere made complete sense, if only in combination with a more incongruous fact: The ballet on the program was about a signal incident in the history of airmail.

That work, “Sunset, o639 Hours,” debuted at the Wilma last year to rave reviews. BalletX reprised it here this July, brought it to the Vail International Dance Festival this month and will perform it in Manhattan on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the Joyce Theater’s late-summer Ballet Festival...

Mr. Neenan, 41, has found some fame of his own — not cover-of-Time level but impressive for an American ballet choreographer, especially one who doesn’t live in New York City. In addition to making dances for BalletX, which he founded with Christine Cox in 2005, Mr. Neenan has been the resident choreographer of Pennsylvania Ballet since 2007. Ballet troupes around the country perform his works, and in the past two years — busy ones for Mr. Neenan — Alastair Macaulay has praised him in The New York Times as “one of the strange originals of American ballet” and “one of the most appealing and singular choreographic voices in ballet today.”


Original source: The New York Times
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Talking mental health on campus with a focus on Penn

The New York Times shines a light on a mental health crisis on college campuses. The story focuses on University of Pennsylvania, where student Kathryn DeWitt describes her struggle. She has since become involved with Active Minds -- a Flying Kite partner through our work with the Thomas Scattergood Foundation -- to create change.

Classmates seemed to have it all together. Every morning, the administration sent out an email blast highlighting faculty and student accomplishments. Some women attended class wearing full makeup. Ms. DeWitt had acne. They talked about their fantastic internships. She was still focused on the week’s homework. Friends’ lives, as told through selfies, showed them having more fun, making more friends and going to better parties. Even the meals they posted to Instagram looked more delicious.

Other efforts at Penn include the formation of a peer counseling program, to start in the fall, and the posting of “ugly selfies” to Instagram and Facebook, a perfectionism-backlash movement that took place for a few weeks earlier this year. Nationally, researchers from 10 universities have joined forces to study resiliency, and the Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program has enlisted 90 schools to help develop mental health and wellness programs. Active Minds, which was founded at Penn in 2001, now has more than 400 chapters, including ones at community colleges and high schools. Ms. DeWitt is the Penn chapter’s webmaster.


Original source: The New York Times
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Philly team wins International Youth Poetry Slam

A local team triumphed at the International Youth Poetry Slam.

Philly Youth Poetry Movement (PYPM) won the finals of the Brave New Voices (BVN) competition in Atlanta, last week.
It’s the third time the group has brought the title to Philadelphia since it started in 2006.

“I started it because there were no safe spaces for young people to create and write and produce and advocate for themselves,” says executive director Greg Corbin. “When a young person finds the value of their voice, they find the value of themselves. They understand that their story actually means something.”

From a modest poetry night, the program now how twice-weekly writing workshops, monthly slams, an annual city-wide high school slam– and three national titles.


Original source: CBS News
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Philadelphia Magazine lists 2015's 'Best Philadelphians'

Philadelphia Magazine picks 35 locals worth noticing including Mayor Nutter, Mo'Ne Davis, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and the Ludemans of Postgreen Homes.

This group of Best Philadelphians should have so many more people on it — several million more — because every Philadelphian is a Best Philadelphian. Every single one of us should get a gold star, dammit, especially when it’s snowing outside and the buses aren’t running and the ramp to 95 is closed. But all yearbooks must have superlatives, so we do want to highlight some people who have made this a banner year — starting with the guy who kind of runs things in this town.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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Looking for housing for the Pope's visit? The floor might be your best bet

Housing all the anticipated visitors coming to town for the Pope's visit in September continues to be a favorite topic of discussion.

There aren't enough beds for the more than 1 million visitors expected to flood Philadelphia when Pope Francis visits in September, particularly for those trying to be frugal. So Belinda Lewis Held had to be creative when it came to sheltering the more than 1,000 young people she's guiding that weekend: They'll be bunking down in museums, classrooms and churches.

"They're young and they don't mind the floors. They'll bring sleeping bags or yoga mats and pillows," said Lewis Held, director of group travel for APilgrimsJourney.com, a Pittsburgh company that organizes worldwide Catholic tours. "They're willing to rough it for Pope Francis."

With the papal visit imminent and the city's 11,500 hotel rooms filling up quickly, wannabe visitors are thinking outside the box(spring) when it comes to lodgings, particularly when they want to keep costs down.

Philadelphia officials may permit camping in some public parks, and untraditional offerings have appeared online. On Airbnb, a Delaware River houseboat was booked but a converted dance studio was still available late this week. Craigslist had a listing for an empty warehouse and multiple couch surfing options.


Original source: The Associated Press via The New York Times
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American Idol to hold auditions for final season in Philadelphia

As the reality TV juggernaut nears retirement, it's coming to Philadelphia to search for singers.

If you’ve been waiting to audition for the hit Fox-TV show “American Idol, “ your last chance may be upon you – and luckily an audition opportunity is coming nearby for the show’s final season.

“American Idol” 15 auditions will be held Aug. 2 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.

The stop is among  five scheduled stops auditions that started July 10 at Denver Coliseum in Colorado. The next is scheduled for Wednesday at Martin Luther King, Jr. Arena in Savannah, Ga. Other scheduled stops are Aug. 8 at Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark., and Sept. 15 at Cow Palace in San Francisco, Calif.

Those who wish to audition will line up the morning of Aug. 2 at The Liacouras Center to register. If you wait until late in the day on audition day to register, the auditions may run out of space and time.


Original source: Allentown Morning Call
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The Inquirer checks in with Oxford Mills, the teacher-targeted development

We told you about Oxford Mills back in 2013. This teacher-centric development in Kensington draws a community of like-minded young people.
 
Oxford Mills is the first development of its kind in the city, billing itself as an "urban oasis for teachers and nonprofits." It features 114 apartments, most of which are rented to teachers at a discount, and just under 40,000 square feet of office space, most of which is leased by education-related companies.

The project originated when Philadelphia developers Greg Hill and Gabe Canuso joined with Baltimore-based Seawall Development, the outfit that in 2009 pioneered teacher housing complexes in that city. Hill and Canuso, who turned their attention from luxury projects to more socially conscious work, loved the idea of a space for educators, they said.

"We've heard so many stories about newer teachers, younger teachers that really struggle," Hill said. "Landing in tough schools without a lot of resources - it's a challenge. But to come home and have colleagues to communicate and share ideas with, they're more energized and supported."

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Putting the city's youth to work over the summer

Fewer American teenagers are holding down summer jobs. Some organizations are working hard to combat the problem.

The absence of work means more than having no money for a mobile phone or a night out with friends. A summer job can provide essential experience that is crucial to snagging better jobs later, experts say. Research shows that for every year teenagers work while in high school, income rises an average of 15 percent when they are in their 20s.

If that’s true for Nasir Mack, he may be wealthy by the time he turns 30. The 16-year-old is starting his third summer in the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program. In the past, he was employed by an engineering company and a community college. This summer, he will work at the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

When Nasir first heard about the program through friends, he jumped at the chance, given the alternative. “I’m not going to be doing anything but sitting in the house,” he said. “Why would I want to do that when there are so many things out there you can be doing?”


Original source: The New York Times
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Philly rapper has number one album in the country

Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill has the number one album in the country.

Meek Mill is the new top musical act in the U.S., vaulting to No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 (dated July 18), as the arrival of his new album fuels his vault to the top. The rapper dethrones Taylor Swift, who drops to No. 2 after spending a record 31st nonconsecutive week at No. 1.

Original source: Billboard
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The New York Times highlights SoNo development, office space for millenials

This ambitious project between Chinatown and Northern Liberties looks to attract young workers.

The 250,000-square-foot building, now occupied by a distributor of maternity clothing, will be remade into a center for media, advertising and technology companies, under plans recently announced by the developer, Alliance Partners HSP.

The building, in an industrial zone between Philadelphia’s Chinatown and the rapidly developing Northern Liberties neighborhood, will be reconfigured at a cost of about $50 million into space expected to accommodate up to eight tenants employing a total of 1,000 to 1,500 workers in an open-plan arrangement, the developer said...

The project aims to tap into an influx of millennials — those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s — who are being drawn to Philadelphia by growing job opportunities and housing that, for now, is more affordable than that in Washington or New York.

The city is also retaining more local university students who are staying after graduation in response to the growing job market, greater availability of housing, improved amenities such as public parks, and a vibrant downtown restaurant scene.

By creating the new space on the southern edge of the already millennial-rich Northern Liberties and within a 20-minute walk of City Hall, Alliance believes it will be well positioned to attract tenants that employ the targeted work force...

Mr. Previdi said the new space — named SoNo, for south of Northern Liberties — will be designed to encourage the collaboration that is highly valued by tenants like software companies. “They want everybody talking; they want everybody sharing ideas,” he said.

The redesign will minimize the amount of individual employee space while allowing more for common areas like a cafeteria, a gym and parking space for 70 bicycles. Alliance plans to begin construction by the end of this year, and to complete the project within 24 months.


Original source: The New York Times
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