REAL ESTATE NEWS, celeb sightings, GOSSIP & TIDBITS: Borders, A Message to the Rittenhouse Hotel & a Dollar Store

Rumors of the sale of the Rittenhouse Hotel were sparked with this piece in the Philly Inquirer last week (and an email sent to employees.) I say: People of Rittenhouse Hotel, do not get nervous. I hear, Hersha Hospitality will keep the name, keep the team as they have always done at all the properties they’ve invested in before. They want the consistency, the continuity of your service, you’re smile. The Rittenhouse Hotel has been a AAA Five-Diamond Award (1991 – 2011)
Highest distinction for accommodations and service, and Hersha Hospitality would want to maintain that level of course. I’m sure they know you are the best at what you do, that is what The Rittenhouse has always been, the Jewel of the City. I’m sure they just want to add this jewel to their family of hotels, all within driving distance of Philly. Their headquarters is here in Philadelphia. Hersha Hospitality has an outstanding reputation, they could get a “With Love” GPTMC billboard cause they love Philly so much. So relax. Did you see my photo in the Philly Post today, it was taken at a Hersha Property.
Borders, so many rumors and speculations, mostly by me, sorry. I reported in the Spring that a Forever 21 wanted to move in there, and they were this close. It all fell through, as did several other places because of the darn
mezzanine. Sources tell me that none of the companies, some of which have been wooed by the City, can swallow the mezzanine as usable space. (Guess they never heard of storage, employees lounge, dressing room or maybe even putting the kitchen there.) Yes Cheesecake was going to sign, I learned this week it wasn’t the parking that was the deterrent but that mezzanine was, and then that long trek to the 4th er I mean 2nd floor.
Now Walgreen’s wants it and they aren’t bothered by the mezzanine (I first heard about this on PhiladelphiaSpeaks.) The City has rejected it twice, but Walgreen’s came back last week with another proposal. You might be saying to yourself, but the Border’s space is too big for a Walgreen’s? Well I have news for you, they are going after a lot of the old Borders stores, they want to build Walgreen Super Stores, where you can get everything there but gas. Which really is a good idea as there are no supermarkets in the area. Walgreen’s wants later hours, maybe 24 hrs, then it will be an active corner. The facade of the building makes it upscale, but PLEASE Walgreens don’t cover up the windows like you do at all your stores.Walgreens takes over the largest Borders in Chicago, and in NYC an over 20,000 square foot retail space at 100 Broadway formerly occupied by the bookselling chain Borders has found a new taker – Walgreens (11/21/11). A 42,000-square-foot former Borders store sitting vacant on East Liberty and Maynard streets, Michigan is also vying as a Walgreen’s Superstore. The space next to Borders I hear is slated to become a bank. I had no idea about why the Marathon’s were closing, but I did know that some of them were being shown )real estate wise) to many people since at least early October (I contacted the people involved and they asked me not to go public. Now that it’s out there I had & have some tidbits). The 13th & Broad Street Marathon, which closed last week, is slated to become a bank I hear. Wachovia owns the building. I remember when I told someone a few weeks ago, they said, but Wachovia owns a bank down the street, 1 half block away. That’s true, but my thoughts are there is no bank near the 13th Street corridor, near Lucky Strikes, close to the Arts Dorm across the street, and it would be the closest bank to City Hall’s east side. (You may recall me tweeting in October @iphillychitchat in one of my famed “blind items” that “an iconic restaurant would be closing soon.”) I do here they will be keeping at least 2 of them opened, you’ll be surprised which ones.Tuesday: City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program officially opens a new public space, Mural Arts at The Gallery, the place to tour, shop, learn, and create with the largest public art program in the world. The new space is on the third level of The Gallery at Market East and will allow for a variety of uses including tour box office, retail store, museum, and studio. Mural Arts at The Gallery is a 3,500 square-foot multi-use space that will operate year-round.

It’s official “Free People” is coming to Walnut Street, as I first reported in August. I know all about Free People as they have had a store in Stone Harbor for years now, and that’s all my baby sister wore throughout the summer. Did you know that Urban Outfitters, Free People and Anthropologie, are all owned by Urban Outfitters Inc.? That makes Urban Outfitters like Marcie & Val (13st Biz owners) cause UOI now has 3 stores within blocks of each other.

A Dollar store replaces the Consignment Shop on the 1900 block of Chestnut Street, next to the temporarily closed Kiva. I thought there were rules about what can go near Rittenhouse. Although in this economy I welcome a Dollar store. Looks like it has nice gift wrapping too.Burnz Cigar Vault & Lounge in Lawnside, NJ is an establishment that caters to those who enjoy premium cigars in a relaxing atmosphere, men and women, young professionals and titans of business. Cigar Store: Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-5pm Cigar Lounge: Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri-Sun 11am-Midnight My buddy Gervase Peterson , (Survivor 1st Season) is a partner in the project.Santa Paws at the Sporting Club at the Bellevue. Santa looks a lot like my boxing coach Clif. Jimmy Rollins gets a Slice at 1740 Sansom St on Saturday. No word on whether he’s gonna miss his favorite Philly Pizza place.
Langhorne’s dining scene now has a new hot spot in town as Bonefish Grill opened its doors at 500 Oxford Valley Road. (Off Route 95, Exit 46A. Just before Sesame Place in the Plaza at Oxford Valley). The ZAGAT award-winning restaurant brings its wood-grilled fish, seafood and chops, innovative sauces and indulgent desserts to Bucks County. The restaurant features great-tasting food, extensive craft beer selections, and an adventurous wine list.
(The last 3 pixs I did not take, they were provided by the subjects. Bonefish: Mike Hirata)

Hughe Dillon – Could you vote for me on the Philebrity Awards. I would like to break 400, especially since I have 5,000 readers daily. He doesn’t want your email like other “Hot List” sites that I would never send you too. Thanks HughE