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city guy

Philly Looking for 18,000 more residents

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18,000 new residents!  That is alot, but we need them to fill all the condos and homes that are being built in the city.  Can we do it? Only time will tell. 

Here is the article.

Influx Needed to Fill Housing Boom

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This is more of PBJ's silver lining wrpped in a cloud type reporting. What they fail to note is that the declining population is a snapsnot of the city overall whereas the new development is mostly targeted to a specific demographic (upper middle class yuppies and the wealthy) and to specific areas (Center City, U City, Manayunk, NoLibs, etc.) that have had a track record of population growth as of late. You can't take a city as large and as diverse as Philadelphia and simply make generalizations the way PBJ has done.

One thing is true, though, not all these projects will come to fruition. Philadelphia has got to be the toughest large city to build in - from unions to building permits to the historical preservation interest to rampant NIMBYism. All this weeds out the type of speculative development that occurs in places like Miami and San Francisco. Stuff that actually gets built in Philadelphia is the stuff that developers are really sure will be successful since they otherwise would never put up with all the hoops they have to jump through.

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I'm not sure what your trying to say here. Would you prefer they develop toward less affluent people? Why should they, the suburbs don't. Atleast that I can see. BTW, is a condo or home for 350k really that out of line anymore? What are the average houses in the burbs going for? Also, I wouldn't call it a snap shot because the population decline has been slowing for years. I would also add south philadelphia to the list of reversing neighborhoods/area's as there is a ton of development all over down here. Will it be long before people are building in strawberry mansion and mantua?

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I think you're reading WAAAYYYY too much into my statement. 

I have nothing against developing for the wealthy (unlike many in the city).  All that I was saying was that PBJ article seems overly simplistic by saying that the city needs 18K people to fill up the new buildings and implying that that's a hard feat to accomplish b/c of the city's population loss.  I said that the new buildings are mostly geared towards the upper middle class or wealthy so you can't look at the demographics of the city as a whole in making projections.  After all, much of the population loss has been caused by working class people moving to the subrubs and these are not the people targeted by the developments so the population loss is really irrelevant. Rather, to give a fair forcast you must look at whether growth would occur in the market segment targeted by the developers and, from what I've seen, growth has occurred (in the fact that many yuppies and empty nesters are choosing to move to the city).  That's all that I am saying.

Now I understand that there are many in Philly who see the development going on  as being pro-yuppie and anti- the little guy and who see everything as a pie that never grows but that's not me.  I'm all for the city attracting new wealth because I see that as helping all.

As a side note, it seems that everything PBJ reports that's positive about the city is always tempered with their classic negativist statements (the city is loosing peope, businesses are moving to the suburbs, etc.).  They are beginning to sound like a broken record.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, we all know people love to make Philly look bad.

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Something the city needs to do is keep the students at the city's universities in the city after they graduate. I go to Saint Joe's and half the kids are Jerseyites who are moving back to the burbs when they get out. I look at the area around Penn and see that it is becoming increasingly gentrified with young people fresh out of school and I imagine that if they sell the city better the same can happen to the area around Saint Joe's, Lasalle, etc...

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Oh yeah, you're absolutley right. SEPTA needs to get its act together too if Philly is going to grow. Expensive and spotty service isn't going to do much good and it looks like its headed there in the future.

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Oh yeah, you're absolutley right. SEPTA needs to get its act together too if Philly is going to grow. Expensive and spotty service isn't going to do much good and it looks like its headed there in the future.

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I agree with the spotty service but about it being expensive, is it really? I hear this all the time. When I was in Boston it cost a dollar to ride the T, I think. What do other cities cost?

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Boston's is really cheap, not to mention outbound on the Green Line is free after Kenmore Square. Some other cities are a bit more expensive and some a bit less. What angers me about Philly (I go to college in the city) is that even if you live withing city limits you need to take commuter rails to get anywhere. Sure the fare for subways in Philly is 1.30 (I think) but its not like you can get anywhere useful except the waterfront and the sports stadiums. Lines like the R7, and the R5 are the ones really used and those cost $3 or more. New York's subways might be $2 but you can get to all 300+ square miles of that city on them.

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I'm all for the new developments, as long as it's in good taste, but I'd rather attract the working class (namely immigrants) to come work here than the artists, yuppies, and professionals, after all it's the working class that help give the pros their paychecks ;) .

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I think that to put a number on growth is missing the point in so many ways . . . Philadelphia needs to concentrate on QUALITY growth with QUALITY individuals, if the city core grows by 5,000 whitecollar, tech, medical, law, educators then that is much better then 18,000 low skilled, below-the-poverty line migrants. There are the less fortunate out there that is a fact of any big city life however cities that succeed mix both low income workers with high skilled professionals in an environment that is crime and vagrant sparce.

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I'm all for the new developments, as long as it's in good taste, but I'd rather attract the working class (namely immigrants) to come work here than the artists, yuppies, and professionals, after all it's the working class that help give the pros their paychecks ;) .

All these state of the art 500k-3M dollar condos definitely are not being built for immigrants. Northern Liberties seems to be a tad lower scale going after the artsy types. Center citys new residents will be exclusively wealthy. 9,000 new center units may be a conservative estimate.

It would be great to see some working class move back into the city but why you would prefer immigrants over wealthy people is puzzling.

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Why should it be puzzling??? I don't mind the rich ad the wealthy coming here in CC, but if you want culture and ethnicity, you turn to the immigrants. I know that Philadelphia is enjoying a renaisance right now, but I would rather have the town mirror the diversty of a NYC and Boston than look the part of a yuppie wonderland like a SF or a Seattle.

Would you rather get authentic Mexican food from a Taco Bell or a real Mexican taqueria??? Would you turn to McDonalds for a McRoti or go to a Trinidadian restaurant for a real curry chicken roti??? Or go to a KFC for Jamaican Jerk chicken??? You need immigrants to provide that cosmopolitan mix that every world class city has.

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All these state of the art 500k-3M dollar condos definitely are not being built for immigrants. Northern Liberties seems to be a tad lower scale going after the artsy types. Center citys new residents will be exclusively wealthy. 9,000 new center units may be a conservative estimate.

It would be great to see some working class move back into the city but why you would prefer immigrants over wealthy people is puzzling.

Seems to me there's plenty of room for both. I mean let's put it this way: Philly has lost half a million people in the last 50 yrs so it's got lots of room to spare.

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^^Good point SouthJersey, but you still need developers and infrastructure for those in the lower income brackets. Space is good but you need companies to be able to make a profit servicing all that space for a bracket other then the $500k condo crowd.

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Why should it be puzzling??? I don't mind the rich ad the wealthy coming here in CC, but if you want culture and ethnicity, you turn to the immigrants. I know that Philadelphia is enjoying a renaisance right now, but I would rather have the town mirror the diversty of a NYC and Boston than look the part of a yuppie wonderland like a SF or a Seattle.

Would you rather get authentic Mexican food from a Taco Bell or a real Mexican taqueria??? Would you turn to McDonalds for a McRoti or go to a Trinidadian restaurant for a real curry chicken roti??? Or go to a KFC for Jamaican Jerk chicken??? You need immigrants to provide that cosmopolitan mix that every world class city has.

There are plenty of immigrants in Philadelphia. Its no NYC or Chicago or California, but its more diverse than the majority of US cities (including Boston which, if you take away the student populace, isn't all that diverse). Its just that many of the immigrant areas are off the ebaten tracka nd not easily locatable like Chinatown and the Italian Market are.

here's some

Mexican - Washington Ave. (an increasing Mexican population in So Philly) and some good taquerias there.

Kroean - Cheltenham Ave. (several Korean shopping centers and malls); 5th Street in North Philly nroth of Roosevelt; and Upper Darby

Puerto Rican - 5th Street in North Philly south of Roosevelt.

Chinese - Chinatown in Center City; "Chinatown" in Northeast Philly (an increasing concentration around Adams Ave. and Castor Ave.); and Washington Ave. in South Philly

Brazilian - Castor Ave. near Cottman in NE Philly

Vietnamese - Washington Ave. in South Philly (several Vietnamese shopping centers and restaurants).

Cambodian - 7th Street for several blocks north of Oregon Ave. in South Philly

Russian - Somerton in NE Philly; also check out the Russian-themed Bells Market in the Russian shopping center (I forgot the location but you can google it)

Indian - Millbourne

Ethiopian and Eritrean - Baltimore Ave. in West Philly

I'm sure there are many more that I've missed such as the various immigrant Eastern European communities in NE Philly

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^^Good point SouthJersey, but you still need developers and infrastructure for those in the lower income brackets. Space is good but you need companies to be able to make a profit servicing all that space for a bracket other then the $500k condo crowd.

Developers go where the money is. Immigrants are coming into Philadelphia with or without new working-class development. Alot of that is because they've been priced out of the NYC area and Philadelphia is one of the few major cities that's still affordable. So far, many of them have been rehabbing old rowhomes and old bungalows that others have left when they moved to the suburbs. Thus, there's no need for new cosntruction. After all, a rowhome in deep South Philly (around Oregon Ave.) can still be had for under $100K which is a pittance compared to how much a small apartment would cost in NYC. Philadelphia is far from having a housing shortage.

As for attracting the working class back into the city, it simply won't happen. The trends in just about every city in the US have been the opposite. Working class jobs (outside of service sector jobs) have been going to the suburbs and to smaller cities where labor is cheaper. People follow the jobs.

Mature US cities that have grown (by mature I mean cities not like Phoenix that are still growing by leaps and bounds) have grown almsot exclsuviely because of immigration. Without it, NYC, Chicago, and even the California cities would have lost population. Philadelphia was losing population because it wasn't attracting immigrants at the same rate other major cities were. However, now that population loss has stopped and its not because people have stopped moving out of the city. Rather, its because the inflow (mainly of immigrants) has caught up with the outflow. Detroit, on the other hand, doesn't attract immigrants and is thus continuing to decline.

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I would contend that Phoenix and cities like them would be totally dependent on the much closer immigration legal and largely illegal if not for something call "sun belt cheating" where they have gobbled up areas 5x their size in the last few decades, it would make NYC and Philadelphia very very very prosperous as well having those inner cities reap all the suburban mall and office complex wealth of the metroplex of CT, NJ, Westchester, Long Island in the case of NYC and of Wilmington, Bucks and Montgomery Co's and Jersey in the case of Philly. Instead of letting Phoenix gobble up development lets see how well it and other land gobbling sunbelters like Houston, San Diego, Dallas, Jacksonville, Louisville, Atlanta, Tampa, and Orlando grow in demos being locked down to horse and buggy "days travel to Jersey" boundaries.

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South Jersey 7: You hit the nail on the head! I think before everyone starts complaing about gentrification a an entire city with yuppies and empty nesters they have to come first! I'm not sure that adding 18,000 residents in three years will even put a dent in the city.

This may become an issue when there are 500,000 yuppies and empty nesters coming in an gentrying entire sides of town. But until that happens i think everyone should be happy people are coming back to the core of cities. It's GOOD! These individuals pay lots of taxes that will eventually trickle down to the struggling joe's in the form of improved infrastructure, city programs to assist there special needs and the like. The saying that as the tide comes in All boats rise, fits perfectly.

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All growth is good growth in my book, especially for a downtown that should be safe, convienent and diverse.

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