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.

UDel collaborates to lower drug cost

The University of Delaware is collaborating with Delaware State and Clemson University as a part of a team that received $6 million to perform research on lowering the cost of drugs that treat several debilitating diseases.

The drugs in the study currently cost several thousands of dollars; the new research is aiming to mitigate these costs in order to make the treatment less expensive for patients. According to a Delaware Business Now article, the project is called “Advanced Biomanufacturing: Catalyzing Improved Host Development and High Quality Medicines through Genome to Phenome Predictions.

“This project will help us address the challenges we face in making these medicines more widely available, which could prove transformational for thousands of patients,” said Kelvin Lee, professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware in Clemson’s press release.

Other colleges across the region such as Temple University are making strides in medicine that have national and global implications.

New multifamily complex coming to King of Prussia

A new development project is coming to King of Prussia.

Woodfield Investments, a North Carolina based real estate company, received approval to construct a 320-unit apartment building to be called Woodfield Valley Forge.

According to Bis Now Philadelphia, Woodfield closed on $31.3M of equity financing for the project. It is planned to have a 495-space parking garage, a gym, and a sky lounge, among other amenities.

It will be constructed in the Village at Valley Forge, the mixed-use area at King of Prussia Town Center that contains retail, office, and green space. Although ground has yet to be broken on the new project, the company says that it expects the structure to be completed by 2019.

This new development is helping to transform King of Prussia into a mixed-use hub where people can work, live, and play.

Photo courtesy ofWoodfield Investments/Phillips Realty Capital

Coastal Zone Legislation Will Make Delaware More Business Friendly

The Coastal Zone Act, which was reformed late last month by the General Assembly in the state of Delaware, will allow for the redevelopment of 14 industrial sites across the state.

The legislation will alleviate restrictions on transferring goods to ships and repurposing property, but still maintains regulations surrounding oil refineries, steel mills, and natural gas terminals

“The reforms in [this] legislation will help improve economic opportunity for all Delawareans and create good-paying jobs across our state,” said Governor John Carney in a Newsworks article.

The signing of this bill is expected to help bring businesses to the state of Delaware and bolster activity at the Port of Wilmington.

Four International Companies Select Philadelphia for U.S. Headquarters

Four companies based in Europe are locating their U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia within the next year.

Two of the four companies are locating here as a direct result of the Philadelphia Department of Commerce’s European trade mission in September 2016.

The companies include Italy-based Tactical Pro USA, which sells military products, France-based Clem, a car sharing interface, Germany-based LambaWerk, which is a healthcare provider, and Portugal-based Cave Digital, a software company.

These businesses chose Philadelphia over other cities for numerous reasons, including cost of doing business, location, and talent pool. Cave Digital claimed that the latter was a huge draw.

“We are always thinking long-term and the future leaders of our company are in colleges and universities,” said Joao Costa, Cave Digital’s Business Strategy Manager, in a Philadelphia Business Journal article.

The software company was initially looking at New York as their landing spot before visiting Philadelphia and deciding it was a better choice.

Spark Therapeutics Gets Preliminary Approval from FDA for Groundbreaking Drug

Spark Therapeutics, a Philadelphia-based biotechnology company spun out of CHOP, is on their way towards creating the first gene therapy treatment for a genetic disease approved in the U.S.

The company has developed a drug to treat rare inherited blindness. The FDA accepted their application for a biologics license and granted it priority review. A test study of the drug, which streams genes directly to the eye’s retina, has shown that 97 percent of people treated experienced improvements.

“It’s really an exciting moment for medicine,” said Spark CEO Jeffrey D. Marrazzo in a Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Nothing like this drug currently exists in the U.S. The work that Spark is doing is one of the ways that Greater Philadelphia is pioneering health care and life sciences.

Newark, DE Train Station Breaks Ground

A new train station is coming to Newark, DE.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the commencement of construction of the future Newark Regional Transportation Center.

The new station, a $26 million investment, will be a transportation hub that will include a wheelchair accessible platform, improved safety, and expanded parking lot.

“Not too long ago I was on the Northeast Regional that stops here in Newark and it is striking to see passengers get off and literally walk across the tracks,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Delaware, in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “Tracks, whereas as you’ll see any moment, relatively high-speed rail zips up and down the Northeast Corridor. This will get fixed and this will get fixed because of a long-term collaborative effort between all of us.”

The new transportation hub will increase mobility throughout the state of Delaware and the 11 county region of Greater Philadelphia.