Amazon HQ2: the case for Philadelphia

Late last month, Amazon made a huge announcement, stating that they were on the hunt for a new location for their next North American headquarters, Amazon HQ2.

Since then, cities across the continent have been scrambling to prove that they have exactly what Amazon is looking for.

While places like Denver, Boston, and Chicago are top of the list, none of them have the east coast location, affordability, and available space that Philadelphia has.

“Philadelphia’s got the superior location, midway between Washington and New York, the nation’s political and financial capitals,” said Inga Saffron in her philly.com op-ed on why Amazon should pick Philadelphia. “It’s one reason why Forbes thinks we’re the city to beat.”

Philadelphia has three sites that meet the requirements of Amazon’s RFP: Schuylkill Yards, uCity Square, and the Navy Yard. A team of Philadelphia representatives from across the city are working towards pitching these three locations to meet the October 19th deadline.

“We are collectively acting and thinking as one large community,” said Matt Cabrey, Executive Director of Select Greater Philadelphia in a philly.com article. “If this project ends up anywhere in Greater Philadelphia, we all benefit.”

Philadelphia has the talent, location, quality of life, affordability, and growth that Amazon is seeking, and we want them to come see for themselves why Philadelphia is the perfect fit.

Life sciences sector generates $88B in Pa. economy

KPMG’s study of the life sciences sector in the state of Pennsylvania revealed that life sciences generated $88.5 billion for the state in 2016 and supported more than 340,000 jobs.

The study, which was revealed at Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s annual conference, focused specifically on companies that specialized in human health.

“This report reinforces our optimism about the future of the life sciences in Pennsylvania,” said Christopher P. Molineaux, President and CEO of Life Sciences Pennsylvania in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “We have a successful track record in securing prized federal funding, a talent pool second to none, and better proximity to capital and regulatory agencies and a low‐cost structure, in comparison to our competitor states.”

Philadelphia is a national leader in clinical trials, a pioneer for personalized medicine, and one of the largest life sciences hubs in the world; 80% of U.S. pharmaceutical and biotech companies have a presence in the tristate region.

Rowan ranks among best universities in the U.S.

Rowan has moved from a top regional university to a top national university.

U.S. News & World Report recently released their top universities in the U.S., ranking Rowan in several categories, including 19th for engineering, 90th for best public institutions, and 171th overall.

“These are truly exciting times for Rowan University,” said Dr. Ali Houshmand in the University’s press release. “The 2016-17 academic year was our most productive in recent history with four new buildings, tremendous growth in academic programs and more. Now, with increased national recognition, a groundswell of support from alumni and partner organizations, plus $1 billion in construction being planned, Rowan will continue to be on the rise.”

Other Philadelphia-area universities such as Villanova, Drexel, Princeton, and University of Pennsylvania were also ranked as top colleges in the U.S.

Downingtown might be getting their largest private investment ever

The Hankin Group, an Exton-based real estate management company, announced an acquisition of a 70-acre plot of land.

The land is in the works to become what is planned to be new residential structures, commercial space, a pedestrian bridge, and a new Downingtown train station.

“At completion, Downingtown will be the only borough in the region with AMTRAK, SEPTA, and Chester Valley Trail access in its downtown,” said Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell in a Vista Today article. The access to the trails, pedestrian bridges, and open space will continue to improve accessibility and make Downingtown an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

If the plan moves forward as expected, this plot of land will become the largest private investment in Downingtown’s history.

Image via Vista Today/Chester County Planning Commission

Holtec reveals new HQ office in Camden

Holtec International recently announced its opening of their new office building on its 50-acre campus in Camden, New Jersey.

The building, which will serve as Holtec’s headquarters, amounted to a $320 million investment at the former site of the New York Shipyard.

“We managed to design and construct a facility that supports the rapid growth rate of this international company,” said Paul Swartz, CEO of USA Architects, the designer of the headquarters’ office in a New Jersey Business Article. “Successfully joining forces toward Camden’s revitalization and the future seems brighter than ever for South Jersey.”

The company plans to hire 1,000 new employees by the end of a 10 year period.

Holtec’s relocation is contributing to the revitalization of Camden’s economy.

SEPTA adds train service to northern Delaware

There will be additional train services to and from Wilmington and Newark.

SEPTA announced earlier this month that it has added trips on weekday nights and Saturday mornings.

“Better train connectivity is something our residents want, our small and big businesses want, and our visitors want,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki in a Delaware Business Now article. “Improving train service in Wilmington broadens access to opportunity for residents while potentially saving riders hours each day on their commutes and thousands of dollars each year in transportation costs.”

These added routes make a big difference to people who don’t work traditional 9 to 5 jobs while also increasing regional connectivity.

Greater Philadelphia ranked 4th most improved economy in U.S.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor revealed that Greater Philadelphia is ranked 4th in the nation for most improved economies from 2015 to 2016.

According to Headlight Data, a comprehensive data company that collected the national growth percentages, total U.S. employment grew 1.7% in 2016.

The overall economic improvement of the U.S. economy was .40%; Philadelphia had a .45% improvement rate, falling just behind Tucson, AZ at .71%, Grand Rapids, MI at .86%, and Nashville, TN at 1.84%.

A .45% improvement rate translates to more than 45,000 Philadelphians who became employed last year.

This improvement in employment in Greater Philadelphia will continue to stimulate economic growth throughout the 11-county region.

Wilmington ranked as top city to move to before it gets too popular

Wilmington’s population clocks in at 71,000; a small town compared to Philadelphia’s population of 1.6 million.

But according to Thrillist, Delaware’s largest city is one of 15 cities across the U.S. to move to before it gets too popular.

“The city really checks off a lot of boxes,” said Wilmington entrepreneur Matt Van Belle. “The cost of living is cheap, you can walk everywhere, you have access to major metros via train or a short drive, [and] some of the best beaches on the coast are an hour away.”

Cities were ranked on their low cost of living balanced out by cultural activities and amenities. Wilmington’s high concentration of financial institutions and cultural landmarks such as the Queen Theater and the Hotel du Pont were named as factors that were draws for population growth.

Penn and Jefferson make nation’s top hospitals

New York City is the only other metro area in the U.S. that tops Philly for number of top-rated hospitals.

It has three, just one more than Philadelphia. According to U.S. News, Penn-Presbyterian and Jefferson hospital are ranked as two of the best hospitals in the nation.

Penn ranked 10th overall in the U.S., while Jefferson ranked 16th.

“Jefferson’s strong rankings tell the story of clinicians and staff pursuing better outcomes every day for patients and improving their lives,” said Jefferson’s President & CEO Stephen Klasko in a Philadelphia Business Journal article.

Other Philadelphia region hospitals that made the list included Bryn Mawr Hospital, Chester County Hospital, Christiana Hospital, Lankenau Medical Center, Paoli Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, Riddle Hospital and Virtua Voorhees.

UPenn and Princeton in top 10 universities in U.S.

Forbes released its list of top 100 colleges and universities in the U.S. late last month, with two Greater Philadelphia region universities making the top 10.

Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, ranked #4 in the nation, while the University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, ranked #7.

A total of six Philadelphia region colleges made the top 100 list, including Swarthmore at #19, Haverford at #25, Villanova at #73, and Bryn Mawr at #95.

Philadelphia has one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the U.S., with 103 located across the 11-county region.

See Forbes’ full list here.