New report: Center City is growing, booming

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- A new report on Center City life is painting an exciting picture with explosive growth in population, arts and culture, and construction.

The Center City District Report shows that Philadelphia is once again poised for greatness.

It's got some work to do but overall the city is coming alive in a way we haven't seen in 50 years!

Greater Center City's population has grown 16 percent just since 2000 - that's from river to river, Tasker Street to Girard Avenue. It's second only to midtown Manhattan

Millennials are now staying after they graduate college and empty-nesters are flocking to the city.

"People are trying to consolidate the live/work experience. What Philadelphia is able to provide is a place with great employment, great shopping, great arts and culture and now a growing job base so that's a really positive time for the city," said Paul Levy, Center City District CEO.

Construction is booming and developers are trying to keep up.

There is mixed use building going up at 11th and Chestnut streets. It'll have 112 apartments, 90,000 square feet of retail and should be ready next spring.

John Connors, of Brickstone Reality, is thrilled but is already on to the next project.

"We already have five additional buildings under contract. That will be about 70,000 feet of brand new creative office space and about 20,000 feet of retail," said Conners.

There's a 63 percent increase since 1996 in arts and cultural venues with 403 groups offering events and attendance is booming.

Philadelphia now has nearly than 1,000 restaurants and bars, including 369 outdoor cafes.

Travel & Leisure Magazine named it the 'Next Great Food City.'

Retail is booming too. There's been more than $500 million invested in building retail space.

Conde Nast just named Philadelphia the second best shopping city in the world.

"With everything that's going on - even from the pope coming to the DNC next year, we were able to jump on all that. We're kinda in the forefront of brands up and coming in the city so it's been awesome," said Seun Olubodun, owner of Duke & Winston.

The Center City District report is glowing, but it's also realistic - there are areas that could stunt all this growth.

The report says that Philadelphia needs to improve schools to get families with children to stay and it needs to reform taxes to attract more businesses which will bring more jobs.
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