Philadelphia, February 10, 2011- Mayor Michael A. Nutter delivered a speech today at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Mayoral Luncheon. The Mayor addressed approximately 1,400 members of the regional business community and outlined a number of initiatives and issues impacting the City of Philadelphia.
A text of the speech is included and should be checked against delivery. Also attached is a sample of important development initiatives throughout the City. These projects, completed, currently under construction or in the pre-construction phase during the Nutter Administration, have created construction and permanent jobs while spurring economic development. While this list highlights a number of significant projects, it does not include all of the projects across Philadelphia.
A RESURGENT PHILADELPHIA. A PHILADELPHIA RISING.
Today I want to talk to you about a city on its way back.
A resurgent city.
A city that is rising.
Despite all of the challenges of the last two and a half years, I firmly believe that we are starting to turn a corner.
Investment is starting to flow again.
Stalled development projects are moving.
We are working all day every day to create jobs.
And we are creating jobs.
The problem is…Ed Rendell is taking all of them!
It’s a pleasure to be here at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where workers are putting the finishing touches on the $780 million expansion that will open next month…on-time and on-budget.
This expansion will support over 11,000 direct and indirect jobs and is the largest construction project in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia is on the rise and we’re on our way back.
This is a city that made the tough decisions early, maintained investments in our core services and – despite the threats that remain – is well positioned for recovery.
Last year – before this audience – I laid out my vision of Philadelphia as a ‘smart choice’ for business.
I said that we would:
Attract and grow business
Support small and minority enterprises
Focus on areas – such as energy efficiency – where we are fast becoming a national and international leader
And create a workforce fit for the 21st Century economy
Because of this strategy – and the way that we guided the city through the great recession – business is ready to invest, ready to create jobs, and ready to do it right here in Philadelphia.
Just yesterday I was at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to announce that Urban Outfitters is investing $20 million to develop the Cruise Ship Terminal Building in order to accommodate their rapid growth.
With this expansion the company will add 1,000 new jobs over the next 3 years.
Since Dick Hayne moved this 40 year old Philadelphia company to the Navy Yard five years ago, Urban has doubled its headquarters workforce to almost 1,300 people and invested over $140 million in building renovations.
What Dick and his team at Urban have done down there is nothing short of remarkable.
And don’t just take it from me. Talk to Andrew Witty, the UK-based CEO of GlaxoSmithKline.
For the last couple of months, Glaxo has been reviewing its Philadelphia operation. It was seriously considering its options – both in and outside of the city.
As part of this process Andrew flew in from England to meet with the senior team here.
One cold afternoon he took an unannounced trip down to Urban HQ at the Navy Yard.
He was so impressed by what he saw that he jumped right back in a taxi to Center City, and told his team that – not only is Glaxo staying in Philly – but that they will consolidate all of their Philadelphia operations in a new $80 million headquarters down at the Navy Yard, keeping all 1,300 jobs in Philly.
GlaxoSmithKline – one of the leading high-tech companies in the world – is recommitting itself to Philadelphia.
And they’re not the only ones.
On Tuesday we broke ground on a $43 million renovation of 600 North Broad Street, which will include new Stephen Starr and Marc Vetri restaurants and apartments by Ron Kaplan – creating over 230 new jobs.
In December – we broke ground on a $50 million Campus Apartments hotel in West Philly which will create around 300 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs – a project made possible with financing from the city, including our first ever EnergyWorks loan for green building.
A new $84 million Kimpton Hotel – the Hotel Monaco at 5th and Chestnut – which will create 180 new jobs.
Teva Pharmaceuticals – the largest manufacturer of generic drugs in the world – is building its new $300 million North American distribution facility in North East Philadelphia. They could have gone anywhere – but with a lot of creative hard work from a lot of people – including former Governor Rendell – and a number of last minute, late-night phone calls, we were able to put a deal together to bring Teva and 500 new jobs to Philly.
The $16 million Bottom Dollar Supermarket in East Oak Lane.
The Mormon Temple at 17th and Vine.
Baker Square and the new $63 million supermarket development in Hunting Park that will continue the revitalization of this neighborhood and create around 500 construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs.
We have focused like a laser beam on making deals happen, creating jobs, and getting projects moving.
And the word is getting out. Just this morning CNN said that “Philly is open for business.”
I want to thank Alan Greenberger and his team at Commerce, Peter Longstreth and the folks at PIDC, and new RDA Director Ed Covington and his predecessor Terry Gillen for all of their hard work.
In just the last year we have invested over $400 million through grants and loans to a wide range of economic development projects, leveraging more than $850 million in private investment and creating or retaining more than 4,500 jobs.
And we’re not just talking about major developments by billion dollar companies.
Through our Office of Economic Opportunity we’re also creating wealth in the black, Latino, Asian, female and disabled business communities.
The latest numbers show that we have increased the participation of these businesses in City contracts to almost 24%, a nearly 20% increase.
As we grow our way out of this recession we must ensure that EVERYBODY shares in the recovery.
We want to see more joint venture and equity ownership opportunities for minorities.
And whether it’s entry level or C-level – or on the boards of non-profit or for-profit organizations – we must continue to increase the diversity of our workforce.
We have also focused investment on the small businesses that are the engines of our regional economic growth.
We’re joined by some of those small businesses here today. Please give them a round of applause.
In 2010 we loaned $47 million to 68 small businesses in our city – a 50% increase over 2009.
Through our Emerging Business Loan Program we assisted Barge Construction – a minority-owned firm run by Tanya Fowler and Tyrone Barge – as they retrofit homes in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation.
They have worked with PIDC over the last three years and have grown their business from one $50,000 contract to nearly $1 million in contracts today.
Another loan went to Avi Golen and Jon Wybar – high school friends and co-founders of Revolution Recovery.
They saw an enormous amount of construction waste going into landfills and – in 2004 – decided to start a company specifically to address this problem.
They have gone from strength to strength – beginning with only two employees – and – after a PIDC Growth Loan this year to buy additional equipment – they plan to grow to 36 employees by 2012.
These guys were creating Green Jobs before it became trendy and they couldn’t be doing it in a better place.
Because Philadelphia is becoming the location for clean energy and green jobs in the United States of America.
That’s why the federal Department of Energy awarded $129 million to the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster to create a national clean energy hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
The research and development done at this hub will become small businesses, products being brought to market, and jobs for people whether they have a GED or a PhD.
Demand is already out-stripping supply and that trend is only going one way. Up.
That’s why we made energy efficiency the first major issue worked on by the Metropolitan Caucus – the partnership among the City of Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties.
The Caucus secured a $25 million competitive grant to create EnergyWorks – a program to provide low-cost financing for businesses and homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient.
When President Obama talks about “out-innovating” the rest of the world and “winning the future” – as he did in his State of the Union address – he’s talking about what’s going on in Philadelphia…today.
The final piece of our economic development strategy is to ensure that Philadelphians are equipped with the right education and skills to take advantage of these new opportunities.
We heard from you that the public workforce system was not fully aligned with what you were looking for in future employees.
And so – over the last year – we have worked with you in the business community, with training providers, and with educational institutions to create a public workforce system that works for both businesses and workers.
I look forward to unveiling soon a new industry-led, streamlined system that is better aligned with your needs and that provides our residents with the skills they need to compete in an increasingly competitive economy.
Now – despite many of the projects and much of the progress that I have highlighted today – I am certainly under no illusions as to just how tough the economic conditions remain.
It’s been an incredibly difficult couple of years. It has been painful and noisy.
We very artfully and skillfully managed to upset just about EVERYBODY in the city!
That’s what you get with ‘shared sacrifice’. Everyone has to share in the pain.
We’ve had to make some tough decisions.
And – this being Philadelphia – I never have had to wonder what some people thought about those decisions – they tell me every single day!
You know, I read in the newspapers of opinion polls that ask ‘Did you like what the Mayor did to balance the budget?’
Well I have to tell you, I didn’t like what the Mayor did either!
But it needed to be done. And as Mayor, I had to do it.
I believe that because of those tough decisions – and the way in which we guided this city through the worst recession since the Great Depression – we are well positioned to take full advantage of the recovery.
Since November 2008 we have closed a $2.4 billion gap in our five year plan.
We eliminated over $200 million in annual spending.
We cut the size of our workforce by 6%, eliminating 1,600 positions and saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
And we’re taking on major cost drivers in our budget – health care and pension costs that consume almost a quarter of our spending.
We achieved real, groundbreaking reform with a new hybrid pension plan for both police and fire unions.
And while the police contract has a self-insurance provision that will contain healthcare costs, we had to appeal some parts of the fire arbitration in an effort to get similar reform.
With respect to our other two municipal unions, we continue to seek to reform the contracts that will balance – in a sustainable way – respecting the hard work of our public employees with taxpayers’ ability to pay.
In the meantime we’ve saved money as neither wages nor healthcare costs have risen for these employees in the 3 years I’ve been Mayor.
And so now, after two and a half years of global economic crisis and revenues falling off a cliff, our budget is balanced and our tax revenues have stabilized.
We reduced the size of government, cut spending, and – unfortunately – temporarily asked citizens and businesses to pay a little more.
But what we did, worked.
We maintained our core services.
We protected our most vulnerable populations from harm.
And we have not taken any steps to stabilize our budget in the short-term that will damage our recovery in the long-term.
That’s because we understand that it’s economic activity, investment, and job creation that will put us on a sustainable path to prosperity.
And we know that you won’t invest and create jobs if we don’t continue to make this a safer city and a smarter city.
A city with high quality services, in which it is easier to do business, all run by a reforming government that you can work with, and trust.
That’s what we’ve been working on.
A safer city where we have not laid off one single police officer or fire-fighter.
And where Commissioner Ramsey – the best Police Commissioner in the United States of America – has reduced violent crime by almost 13% and cut the murder rate by 22% since I took office.
Where we are reducing our recidivism rate by providing ex-offenders with a second chance and a job through RISE – our Office of Reintegration Services for Ex-Offenders.
And where, in 2009 Commissioner Ayers and our brave fire-fighters achieved the lowest number of fire deaths on record.
And – while tragically last year was slightly higher – it was still the third lowest number of fire deaths on record.
We’re becoming a smarter city and have made tremendous progress under the leadership of School Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman and Lori Shorr and her team in the Mayor’s Office of Education.
Eight straight years of gains in reading and math.
A 10% increase in the percentage of our high school seniors graduating within six years.
A 28% increase in the percentage of Philadelphians with a college degree.
A city with high quality public services where all of our libraries are open, all of our rec centers are open, and – thanks to the generosity of so many in the business community – last summer all of our pools were open.
Let me say that again!
ALL libraries open. ALL rec centers open. ALL pools open.
We’re a more business friendly city with an Office of Business Services that has helped around 2,000 businesses over the last two years and a Department of Licenses and Inspections which – with shorter wait times, faster service, and an easier process – is on course to become the nation’s leading code enforcement agency.
Now, I know many of you are concerned about the level and structure of our taxes.
I am too.
I remember the fights that we waged years ago – and that I helped to lead – to cut our wage and business privilege taxes.
Today I assure you that I remain committed to tax reduction and tax reform.
One of the most difficult decisions I made throughout the entire recession was to ask for – with the support of this Chamber – a suspension of wage and business tax cuts.
And while we are not in a position today to reinstate the reductions in the upcoming fiscal year, we will bring them back in Fiscal Year 14.
In the meantime we are working with City Council to reform the Business Privilege Tax to remove any disincentive to companies located in the city and to help small businesses.
It is my expectation that the budget that passes City Council later this year will contain a reformed and more business-friendly Business Privilege Tax.
I want to thank Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, Councilman Green, all of City Council and my Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister and Finance Director Rob Dubow for their hard work on this issue.
Finally – I know that we cannot continue to attract investment and create jobs if we do not restore honesty and integrity to a reforming city government.
That’s why ethics has been such a cornerstone of my administration and why – because of the work of Chief Integrity Officer Joan Markman and Inspector General Amy Kurland – we have investigated and fired over 100 workers who violated the trust of the citizens of this city.
Dishonest people need not apply to the City of Philadelphia. Nor can they stay in this government – not any more.
Now, it’s pretty tough to completely transform human nature – sometimes bad people do bad things.
However, the difference is that in our administration, when the FBI or the U.S. Attorney’s Office holds a press conference, we are standing right next them – partners in rooting out corruption and crime.
We continue to reform and professionalize government.
We are working to overhaul and revamp our property tax assessment system.
We have eliminated the office of the Clerk of Quarter Sessions – a position that – like the Sheriff’s Office – does not require an elected official.
Now, these things take time. They’re complicated. If they weren’t, somebody would have fixed them by now.
People say they want ‘change’, as long as things stay the same!
But you’d have to go back to the era of Richardson Dilworth to find an administration that has done more to reform government and restore trust, ethics and integrity. And that’s what this city deserves.
Across city government we have done more with less.
However, I am all too aware of the potential landmines that lie ahead.
The federal and state governments are both confronting large budget deficits and – together with the deficit at the School District of Philadelphia – they form a ‘triple threat’ that could impact the stability that we’ve achieved over the past few years.
As the Chief Executive of this City, I understand all too well the difficult choices facing President Obama and the Congress, and Governor Corbett and the General Assembly.
As President Obama has already shown, he is ready to cut funding for even programs that he supports, programs that cities across this country rely upon, like the Community Development Block Grant.
And Governor Corbett will need to make significant reductions in order to close a budget deficit of between four and five billion dollars.
I’ve had to make some difficult budget decisions myself. I get it.
But let us not make cuts in the short-term that will end up costing us more in the long-term – such as across the board cuts to education.
I agree with Governor Corbett who spoke in his inaugural address about education being the key to our future competitiveness.
The gains that we have made demonstrate that there is no better return on investment, than investment in education.
But I’m concerned that major cuts to education spending would hurt not only our young people, but also the competitiveness of our city, region, and Commonwealth.
Yes, we must approach education with an open mind. Yes, we must be willing to reform and provide more choices…to try a new approach where the old ways no longer work.
But across the board cuts will only hurt our ability to preserve an educated workforce in Pennsylvania, to attract the jobs and investment we need to grow out of this recession.
Furthermore, let us not balance our budgets on the backs of vulnerable Pennsylvanians.
We have made tremendous progress in Philadelphia protecting children from harm, reducing the number of people living on our streets, and keeping our families together.
DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose is changing her department in many positive ways.
But a major reduction in funding for our social services network would reverse the gains we have made over the last few years.
I have already pledged that I will work with Governor Corbett and the General Assembly to tackle this challenge, but I will continue to strongly make the case for reasonable and responsible funding for education and social services.
And as the region’s business community – leaders who will be directly affected by any reversal in educational gains and decline in the quality of life that significant cuts in these areas will bring – I need you to use your relationships in Harrisburg to make this case as well.
Make no mistake. The triple threat of federal, state and School District deficits is very real.
Despite the actions that we have taken, there are outside forces that threaten our progress and stability.
But I do believe that we have built a foundation that can weather any storm.
I have lived in this city my whole life.
I was born, raised, and created all my trouble in West Philadelphia at 55th and Larchwood.
This city opened the doors of opportunity for me – St. Joe’s Prep, Penn.
The people of this city gave me the privilege of serving on City Council for almost 15 years as a District Councilperson.
And then – the ultimate honor – to be Mayor of my hometown.
I love this city. I know this city. And there is no challenge that can be sent our way that we cannot overcome.
I see evidence of this every single day in neighborhoods all across Philadelphia.
Let me end by telling you about a small section of North Philly called Hartranft.
Over the last year we’ve been working with community leaders and residents to help them devise a plan – based on their ideas and concerns – to address problems of crime, blight and unemployment
One of these leaders – Diane Bridges of the Neighborhood Enrichment and Transformation CDC – has been fighting for her neighborhood since she first moved there almost 40 years ago.
Diane is the go-to person in her community, organizing clean-ups, Thanksgiving Turkey give-aways…conducting business from the steps outside of her front door.
She told us that one of the major problems in her neighborhood was folks having access to computers and the internet to look for jobs.
And so, working with the School District, Temple University, and three community development corporations, we opened a computer lab at Hartranft Elementary School for people in the community to use to look for jobs and access adult education programs.
Four weeks ago Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin and I headed to North Philly to officially open the computer lab and – shortly after we left that night – ten folks from the neighborhood jumped right on those computers and started taking tests to determine which Temple University adult education program would best suit them.
It’s been like that ever since.
With the help and support of city government and our partners – this community is coming together and finding new ways to tackle old problems.
And – as Diane likes to say – “We’re turning the ‘hood’ back into a ‘neighborhood’.”
The resilience that we see in community leaders like Diane Bridges, and in folks using the computer lab at Hartranft Elementary School, is the same resilience that I see in all of you.
In Bill Hankowsky and the team at Liberty Property Trust who – after a two year hiatus – recently broke ground on their first new development since May 2009 and did it right here in Philadelphia, at the Navy Yard.
In Sam Sherman and his partners at Zitner’s Chocolates, who are keeping a storied Philadelphia brand alive for another generation as they work to revitalize a part of North Philadelphia.
It is examples like these – and countless others that I experience every day in neighborhoods, boardrooms, factories and campuses all across this city – that are the irrefutable evidence that in Philly, we can handle whatever is thrown at us.
THAT’S why I believe in Philadelphia.
Despite the toughest recession in anyone’s lifetime this city is taking off…and I’m not just talking about the $5.3 billion expansion of the Philadelphia International Airport.
We’ll shortly be unveiling a Master Plan for the Central Delaware River that will transform the waterfront into the most dynamic and exciting waterfront space anywhere in the United States.
We’re revolutionizing the way that we plan and manage development in this city through a new zoning code and soon to be finalized comprehensive city plan.
Our population is growing – in fact, we’re growing one baby at a time and I am pleased to announce that last night PIDC’s Anne Nevins gave birth to Baby Jackson Patrick Otto Nevins!
Over the last decade we have almost doubled the number of visitors to our city. People want to be in Philly.
They’re coming to visit Independence Hall, President’s House and the most historic square mile anywhere in this country.
They come to hear the internationally renowned Philadelphia Orchestra.
To see a revitalized Benjamin Franklin Parkway – soon to be home to the new Barnes Museum. To see the Philadelphia Museum of Art, African American Museum, and National Museum of American Jewish History.
And – dare I say – to see the soon-to-be once again World Series winning Philadelphia Phillies and 2012 Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles!
And we’re on the cutting edge of the emerging green economy, perfectly positioned to play a leading role in a more competitive 21st Century and to become the greenest city in the United States of America.
All of this is critical to our number one priority of generating economic activity, creating jobs, and putting Philadelphians back to work again.
We’re transforming city government and investing in our neighborhoods.
We are a Philadelphia on the way back.
We are a resurgent Philadelphia.
We are…a Philadelphia rising.