The State of the City

Center City fairing well according to the annual state of Center City report

You can’t help but think Center City is doomed with Philadelphia’s looming budget crisis, “Burn, Nutter, Burn” protest banners, library battles and casino building scuffles.

But the good news is, compared to cities across the nation, Center City is actually faring well, according to the annual state of Center City report released Tuesday.  Can you believe it?

The report reviewed 12 categories of city life, from real estate to employment to tourism and almost every category is making the grade, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tourism is keeping the neighborhood above water through Pennsylvania Convention Center bookings, which in turn boosts the local hospitality business, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

Housing prices dropped only 10.1 percent—that’s lower than other U.S. cities and there were only eight foreclosures in 2008, according to the report.

The job market has held strong in Philadelphia due to its important presence in healthcare and education.  Thirty seven percent of the city’s workforce is comprised of these industries, sectors which were not hit as hard with layoffs.

And with all of this good news, what does the city do next?

“What is required now for Philadelphia is a calm, deep breath, a focus on facts not fears…We need to do more serious infrastructure planning for downtown,” executive director at Center City District Paul Levy said.

With the federal stimulus package and funding from Washington, the city must work on making downtown more accessible via transit and better the public environment, Levy told the Business Journal.

“We have nothing shovel ready…We don’t know how this gets funded, but we’re going to start moving forward with preliminary design of these things,” he said.

Planning now for Center City’s future, Levy said, is crucial to its thriving and competing in the 21st century.

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