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  #17741  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2017, 7:35 PM
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SAP to add nearly 400 jobs in Pennsylvania

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Global enterprise software company SAP will add nearly 400 jobs in Pennsylvania over the next three years, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday, and 150 of those high-wage jobs are coming to the Philadelphia region.

The positions are coming to SAP's U.S. headquarters in Newtown Township as well as a $72.2 million expansion to SAP's footprint in Pittsburgh, where it will hire 242, for a total of 392 statewide.
http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelp...nsylvania.html
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  #17742  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2017, 8:12 PM
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Admittedly, I cherry-picked the nicest-looking schools on the list. Which, unfortunately, I agree are mostly in not-so-great areas to attract investment, although I wonder about the Fort Pitt school.

Last edited by BrianTH; Jan 10, 2017 at 8:42 PM.
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  #17743  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 12:21 PM
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And the NIMBYs have succeeded in getting the Planning Commission to reject the Pennley South project:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/ci...s/201701110078

Affordable housing proponents who opposed the project will pat themselves on the back, then watch as the rest of East Liberty gets unaffordable all the faster due to lack of sufficient supply of new market rate units.

Last edited by BrianTH; Jan 11, 2017 at 12:35 PM.
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  #17744  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 1:48 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
And the NIMBYs have succeeded in getting the Planning Commission to reject the Pennley South project:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/ci...s/201701110078

Affordable housing proponents who opposed the project will pat themselves on the back, then watch as the rest of East Liberty gets unaffordable all the faster due to lack of sufficient supply of new market rate units.
As I said, it was inevitable once ELDI weighed in, given their pull in the neighborhood. Unlike the "Enright Parklet" NIMBYs they actually have an agenda beyond blocking the development, which is to ensure that the affordable units which were (and will be) lost are replaced by the developer. I'm guessing the plan will go back to the drawing board and come back with some level of affordable housing attached to it, as my understanding is Whole Foods is now very invested in moving to this site.
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  #17745  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 2:14 PM
Don't Be That Guy Don't Be That Guy is offline
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As I said, it was inevitable once ELDI weighed in, given their pull in the neighborhood. Unlike the "Enright Parklet" NIMBYs they actually have an agenda beyond blocking the development, which is to ensure that the affordable units which were (and will be) lost are replaced by the developer. I'm guessing the plan will go back to the drawing board and come back with some level of affordable housing attached to it, as my understanding is Whole Foods is now very invested in moving to this site.
The developer was already sitting aside part of their TIF towards the city's new affordable housing fund, which seems like a reasonable comprise.

Honest questions here. The developer's attorney said that they met all of the planning requirements, so what unfulfilled criteria did the Planning Commission base their decision on? Who does ELDI answer to and how do they legally dictate what is or isn't acceptable? They certainly aren't elected or appointed.

I have no real opinion on the quality of this project, but what's the point of a zoning code or development standards if the Planning Commission isn't going to follow them when making decisions? That sends a very negative message to anyone doing business in or with the city.
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  #17746  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 3:12 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by Don't Be That Guy View Post
The developer was already sitting aside part of their TIF towards the city's new affordable housing fund, which seems like a reasonable comprise.

Honest questions here. The developer's attorney said that they met all of the planning requirements, so what unfulfilled criteria did the Planning Commission base their decision on? Who does ELDI answer to and how do they legally dictate what is or isn't acceptable? They certainly aren't elected or appointed.

I have no real opinion on the quality of this project, but what's the point of a zoning code or development standards if the Planning Commission isn't going to follow them when making decisions? That sends a very negative message to anyone doing business in or with the city.
As far as I can tell, the developer in no way violated its side of the deal. Indeed, the City in some ways may have violated the deal even before yesterday, since part of the agreement to sell Enright Park involved the developer getting development rights to build affordable housing at the "Mellon's Orchard" site at the corner of Station and N Euclid (that site was ultimately given to another developer).

I think LG poisoned the well locally because it refused to work with ELDI. ELDI has been engaging in a difficult balancing act in the neighborhood. On one hand, unlike most community development corporations, it's not only run by the local business groups, but has a for-profit arm. This means they benefit personally from gentrification. On the other hand, they want to be seen by the community at large as having the interests of East Liberty residents at heart. The compromise they seem to have staked out is to allow market-rate new construction to take place, but also to ensure that the raw number of affordable units does not decrease. You can see this in the new development west of Centre Avenue - they had the new Larimer development fully built out, moved the East Liberty Gardens residents there, and are now going to demolish and rebuild that development.

LG refused to play ball with ELDI in terms of finding replacement units for the Penn Plaza residents to move to. This was the only real reduction in affordable units (not counting the dribs and drabs in smaller buildings which get flipped) since the towers came down. It's a big issue for the neighborhood and the organization, and has caused neighborhood anxiety about gentrification to reach a fevered pace. I haven't talked to anyone at ELDI recently, but I am guessing their goal is to leverage replacement affordable units, at which point they'll be happy to green light the project.

But yes, looking beyond the local issues, this shows why zoning as it is practiced in the U.S. has turned into a terrible thing, because these tools can (and usually are) used towards bad rather than good ends. You shouldn't need to have a political strategy to get any major development built.
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  #17747  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 3:37 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I'm guessing the plan will go back to the drawing board and come back with some level of affordable housing attached to it, as my understanding is Whole Foods is now very invested in moving to this site.
I hope you are right. I note that they did have a deal which would involve funding for affordable housing nearby, which didn't seem to make much of a difference. Affordable housing in this specific footprint may also be a good idea, but my concern is a lot of the tone of the opposition seemed to be pretty anti-market-rate development in general, reflecting the common but dangerously backwards belief that limiting the construction of market rate units is good for housing affordability.
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  #17748  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 3:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don't Be That Guy View Post
I have no real opinion on the quality of this project, but what's the point of a zoning code or development standards if the Planning Commission isn't going to follow them when making decisions? That sends a very negative message to anyone doing business in or with the city.
So I believe they had the property rezoned as "AP, Mixed-Use Planned Unit Development," and my rough understanding is that zoning allows a lot more flexibility, but it gives the Planning Commission a bigger say in what exactly happens.

That doesn't mean they can be arbitrary, but I don't know off hand whether this is within the legal bounds of their discretion or not under that process.

Generally, almost all big projects require some sort of variances, street relocations, or so on, which gives public authorities plenty of opportunities to kill projects they don't like. So I think it really becomes a political issue in the long run.

Edit: I also recall the motion approving the zoning change had something about the need for community input and some other special criteria, but I believe all that was focused primarily on the parklet and street issues. Gentrification/affordable housing may well be the dominant issues at this point, but that is an example of the sort of thing I was referring to--whether or not the Planning Commission technically was supposed to be worried about affordable housing, they might have the legal authority necessary to kill the plan if they can style it as not liking the parklet and/or street plan.

Last edited by BrianTH; Jan 11, 2017 at 4:01 PM.
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  #17749  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 4:44 PM
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A proposal for a Chicago--Columbus--Pittsburgh "hyperloop" is among 35 semifinalists in a global competition:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/tra...s/201701110085

This is a sort of technology (magnetic propulsion in near-vacuum tubes) that has long been talked about, because from a pure physics standpoint the merits are obvious. The question is whether it can be made to work in practice.

Edit:

Some more resources if people are interested:

http://abc6onyourside.com/news/local...ine-to-chicago

http://venturebeat.com/2017/01/10/hy...r-hour-trains/

Last edited by BrianTH; Jan 11, 2017 at 5:04 PM.
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  #17750  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 5:04 PM
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Overshadowed by the Penn Plaza debacle is that the URA greenlit two office projects at the same time - the new North Shore building and the rehab/modernization of the former Medical Arts building.

In addition, the URA is considering a proposal which will involve a new mixed-use structure on land on Colwell Street. This will involve retail, three stories of mixed-income apartments, and four stories of parking. This is the location of the potential site. Seems an odd location for retail, since it's a block back from Fifth, but if it's a grocery store or something else which is "big boxish" I could see it still getting traffic.
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  #17751  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2017, 5:44 PM
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I also see the URA has retired the Fulton/Renaissance TIF two years early. I wish more people were aware that these TIFs in the City often get retired early, meaning it was an even better deal for the tax base than expected.

Anyway, a seven-story mixed-use building on that Colway site sounds pretty good to me. As always, I wish it was a bit taller, but that is still an acceptable scale for that location. I also understand the parking component isn't very sexy, but structured parking in Uptown is going to be necessary for it to overall continue developing as it should, and this is a good location for it since it is in fact off the main streets (Fifth and Forbes).
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  #17752  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summersm343 View Post
SAP to add nearly 400 jobs in Pennsylvania



http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelp...nsylvania.html
Yes, this is great news. SAP is allegedly going to be the anchor tenant for a very prominent riverfront infill office building that has been a long time coming.

Render:

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  #17753  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 1:13 AM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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Originally Posted by Austinlee View Post
Yes, this is great news. SAP is allegedly going to be the anchor tenant for a very prominent riverfront infill office building that has been a long time coming.

Render:

Very nice. That's what I like to see
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  #17754  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 11:42 AM
TBone7281 TBone7281 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austinlee View Post
Yes, this is great news. SAP is allegedly going to be the anchor tenant for a very prominent riverfront infill office building that has been a long time coming.

Render:

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Originally Posted by summersm343 View Post
Very nice. That's what I like to see
It'll be nice to fill this lot in with something.

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  #17755  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 11:47 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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As always I wish it were taller, but I agree the SAP building is nice-enough and it is filling a prominent gap (just to the right of the bridge on the far side):


Last edited by BrianTH; Jan 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM.
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  #17756  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 1:50 PM
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I agree. It's a fine enough building and fits in. It would have been nice for at least one building in that area to be of some moderate size.
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  #17757  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 3:07 PM
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I don't have a problem with the height... I tend to prefer waterfront buildings to be shorter. Though it would be nice to see taller buildings behind them. The 3-story strip mall that runs behind the Pet Food building and the Hyatt Place are travesties of land use.
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  #17758  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 3:32 PM
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Developer pitches 7-story garage-apt.-retail project for URA-owned site in Uptown

Location.

I believe this is in conjunction with the NRG power/chilled water plant that is to be integrated with UPMC Mercy and the Pens development.

Not sure how successful "mixed-use" will be, considering it's in a back alley of uptown, but sure. The law office on the corner has been trying to sell that place since before the arena went up, and the price seems to come down every year. It's not a bad location, just shoe-horned into a weird spot.
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  #17759  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 3:36 PM
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Originally Posted by AFW523 View Post
Developer pitches 7-story garage-apt.-retail project for URA-owned site in Uptown

Location.

I believe this is in conjunction with the NRG power/chilled water plant that is to be integrated with UPMC Mercy and the Pens development.

Not sure how successful "mixed-use" will be, considering it's in a back alley of uptown, but sure. The law office on the corner has been trying to sell that place since before the arena went up, and the price seems to come down every year. It's not a bad location, just shoe-horned into a weird spot.
We already posted about this upthread. Technically this site is in Crawford-Roberts, not Uptown, as Fifth Avenue is the border.

One thing I find interesting about the project is it's one of the few mixed-income developments I think you would potentially get a pretty wide mix of renters. I'm still scratching my head at the ground floor retail idea, which is much more appropriate for a location right on Fifth.
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  #17760  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2017, 4:22 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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I don't have a problem with the height... I tend to prefer waterfront buildings to be shorter. Though it would be nice to see taller buildings behind them. The 3-story strip mall that runs behind the Pet Food building and the Hyatt Place are travesties of land use.
Yeah, if the next layer was 10-12 stories, and the next one after that 15+, this could have been nearly ideal.

On the plus side, some of that is still theoretically possible. You probably can't undo the lost opportunities in the middle layer any time soon, but we still have the back half of Gold Lot 2 and the remainder of Gold Lot 4 to work with:



Unfortunately I don't trust this development process to get any of that right either.
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