I’m writing this week’s blog from Philadelphia, we just wrapped up our full day of programming at ICLV. Fascinating, beautiful city. We can learn a lot. Philadelphia, too, is a city of neighborhoods. And our two regions wrestle with similar issues of public safety, poverty, unsheltered, the need to stimulate business investment. They also have some different approaches for their growth that I find particularly interesting.
We heard from former Mayor Nutter, and I especially appreciated his perspective that overall improvement in their downtown starts with growth of tax base through business investment alongside more housing development. He has been a leading advocate for tax reduction to advance this growth.
We also heard from Paul Levy, CEO of their Center City District. They are a larger version of our Saint Paul Downtown Alliance or Minneapolis Downtown Council. They focus on place, planning, and business attraction in the downtown “Center City.”
Philadelphia has a storied history of change, challenge, recovery, innovation. Today, they have 310k jobs downtown, representing 42% of the city’s total. 40M SF of office space, 13k hotel rooms, 75k residents. And they are growing. How? Based on input from developers, they employ a tax abatement strategy for conversion of obsolete commercial space and for new commercial/housing developments.
More to come on my overall themes from ICLV; know that we have a room full of employers and public sector leaders here listening and learning!
See you in the trenches,