Friday, December 19, 2014

POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 12:08 PM

Grocery store chain Aldi, under pressure to say what's going to happen to up to 2,200 workers at 66 less-than-five-year-old Bottom Dollar groceries in Pennsylvania, NJ, Ohio, that the German-owned chain bought last month for $15 million, says it's looking for 50 store manager trainees "in the Lehigh Valley, Philly and South Jersey areas with salaries starting at $52,000" and "potential to earn $75,000 to $90,000 within one year," which Aldi says is "well above the industry standard." 

The suburban Chicago-based chain will meet manager applicants for stores via CareerBuilder.com, and talk to live applicants:
-- In the Allentown-Bethlehem area and Quakertown, this Tues., Dec. 9, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Aldi, 1101 MacArthur Rd., Whitehall.
-- In Montgomery and Lower Bucks Counties and Philadelphia, apply Thurs.  Dec. 11, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Aldi, 550 S. Trooper Rd., Norristown
-- In South Jersey and Philadelphia, apply Thurs. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Aldi, 3105 NJ Route 38, Mount Laurel. 

Applicants must be 18+, with high school diploma or GED, available to work days and evenings Monday-Sunday, retail experience preferred, must be able to lift 45 pounds. "Staff working at least 20 hours a week receive full health insurance, dental coverage and 401K," says Aldi's. 

POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 11:29 AM

Entercom Communications Corp., Bala Cynwyd, says it has agreed to pay $105 million for 15 radio stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego areas, to Lincoln Financial Group, the Radnor-based insurance and investments company.

The deal will boost Entercom's network to more than 100 stations in 23 markets, including Boston, San Francisco and Denver, but not its home base in Philadelphia. Entercom will pay $77.5 million in cash and $27.5 million in preferred stock and will borrow under its existing $50 million credit limit if needed, the company said.

The sale should boost shareholder earnings next year without much increasing the company's debt, Entercom chief executive David J. Field said in a statement. Lincoln had acquired the stations in its 2006 purchase of the former Jefferson Pilot Corp. (Lincoln sold Jeff's TV stations in 2008). Unloading the stations allows Lincoln "to focus on its strategy to grow its core lines of business," said Lincoln chief executive Dennis R. Glass in the statement. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 2:06 PM
(Clem Murray/Staff file photo)

UPDATE: Since writing this Thursday, I have heard from Eagles fans who say the team's wireless seems still a work in progress; they have been unable to access Eagles media through the stadium Wi-Fi service. What is your experience? JoeD@phillynews.com.

EARLIER: "This is one of the most connected facilities in the NFL, with the highest levels of fan engagement on game-day (smartphone and iPad) apps," says Charles W. Berger, pointing to wireless switches embedded high above his head in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field, the 12-year-old Philadelphia city stadium where the Eagles play.

Berger, a Willow Grove native, is chief executive officer of Extreme Networks, a San Jose-based,ha $600 million yearly-sales company whose predecessor, Enterasys, built the Eagles' free wi-fi system last season with project manager PCM Inc. "They put in 30 miles of cable in 90 days, building a bridge to our fans," says Anne Gordon, the Eagles vice president who oversees digital media and other communications (and an ex-Inquirer managing editor).

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:14 PM
File: Wawa's first store, on MacDade in Ridley Township. (Akira Suwa / Staff Photographer)

Royal Farms, the Maryland-based gas station/convenience store/fried chicken store chain, is expanding in Delaware County, the home base for rival gas station/convenience store/hoagie chain Wawa Inc.

Royal opened on Kirkwood Highway just west of Wilmington, Del. earlier this year, and plans to add stores: in Ridley Township (where the developer was given $3.75 million in Pennsylvania taxpayer funds for the development that includes the store) this month; and in Upper Chichester next year.

Royal also has a site where it hopes to build a future store Concord Township (near the US 1/US 202 junction), and is looking for more across the Philadelphia area, according to its local broker, Zommick McMahon Commercial Real Estate Inc.

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 10:43 AM

Retail real estate broker Steven H. Gartner, president of Metro Commercial Real Estate, Philadelphia, has packed up and headed over to industry giant CBRE Inc. as Executive Vice President for Retail in the Philadelphia office. The firm last year absorbed another independent Philly rival, Brandon Famous' Fameco. Gartner's job "will include special projects up and down the East Coast," said Anthony Buono, CBRE retail services chief, in a statement.

Gartner, who counts The Gap, TJX (Marshall's), Kohls and Citi among his past clients, has served as Pa. director of the International Council of Shopping Centers, which is trying to help members deal with the drop in brick-and-mortar shopping amid the surge in digital retail. He's also a co-chair of the Jewish Federation Real Estate Group and the real estate group for State of Israel Bonds. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 8:34 AM
Nicholas Schorsch, head of American Realty.

Shares of RCS Capital Corp., the New York investment firm controlled by Jenkintown scrap-metal heir turned corporate landlord Nicholas Schorsch, rose 10% to $10.72 in Thursday morning trading after RCS said it has cut a deal with Schorsch-founded American Realty Capital Properties Inc. to end litigation over American Realty's aborted plan to sell Cole Capital and related assets to RCS for $700 million. American Realty shares were flat on the morning's news, at $9.21.

RCS cancelled the Cole deal in October, after two American Realty officials quit and the company blamed them for submitting phony public financial reports. But American Realty sued RCS, in Chancery Court in Delaware, to force the deal through anyway. To end the dispute, RCS agreed to pay American Realty $32.7 million up front, plus $15.3 million by 2016. American Realty will also keep RCS's $10 million down payment. 

In a statement, RCS ceo Michael Weil said the deal "is in the best interests of RCS Capital stakeholders. We believe the negotiation of a fixed-cost settlement clearly outweighs the potential expense and distraction of a drawn-out litigation process, enabling us to focus" on expansion.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 3:44 PM
1515 Market Street (via Google Maps)

Accesso Partners LLC, the Florida firm formerly known as Beacon Investment Properties, has paid $85 million ($169/ft2) to Winthrop Realty Trust for 1515 Market St., a 502,000 sq. ft. office building whose tenants include Temple University, the Heffler accounting firm, state offices, and ground-floor Citizens Bank and FirstTrust branches, among others. In its sale offering, broker JLL said the building was 87% occupied.

Doug Rodio, executive vice president at JLL and part of the team that closed the deal, said there will be a string of additional Philadelphia-area building sales anounced before year's end. 

POSTED: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 3:23 PM

Montgomery County Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro says my Sunday column unfairly compares Pennsylvania's 2013 pension contribution rate -- among the lowest and worst in the nation, according to Moody's -- to Montgomery County's. “Pennsylvania's contribution to its state pension funds, which Moody's reported at 52 cents for every dollar needed for 2013, could fall to "about 35, 36 percent" for 2014-15, county finance director Uri Monson tells me, based on available state budget documents and preliminary pension fund estimates.

Montgomery County's own contribution is $3.5 million, vs. an actuarial break-even projection of $10 million -- or 35 percent, about the same as the state's, this year. But Montgomery County has increased its contributions under the current administration, while Pennsylvania this year cut back: "The trajectories are different," Monson says. And since Montgomery County's asset-to-liabilities ratio is significantly higher than the state's, the county is moving in the right direction, while the state is digging deeper into a hole, as the county sees this.

Separately, Monson corrected the asset allocation data I posted for the county. Montgomery says it has by now invested 35% of its assets in U.S. stock index funds -- plus another 25% in international stock index funds, for a total of 55% in stocks. Most of the remaining assets are now in bond funds; relatively little is left in private investments, and none are in hedge funds, which I wrongly included in the category of legacy investments the county is still divesting. 

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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