Archive: December, 2012
UPDATE 12/18: The Saturday Evening Post's redesign and its return to Philadelphia -- along with its 191-year archive and, maybe, its $70 million art collection -- is headed by an editor with business chops and a serious tone:
"We'll be Vanity Fair meets Smithsonian," says Steve Slon, a founder of Rodale Press's Men's Health and editor of the AAPR's 40 million-circulation member magazine. "We're calling it the New Saturday Evening Post. We're redoing the logo. Our tag line is '200 years in the making.'
"The magazine in the last 30 years was relying on nostalgia, tradition, the good old days. We'll still have that, with the old Norman Rockwwell paintings. But we're relegating that to a small part of the magazine, like National Geographic's 'flashback' page.
Citigroup's Citibank division plans to shut its suburban Philadelphia branch network, while leaving Center City offices open, bank officials told me today.
The global bank, based in New York, said last week it would close 13 of its 21 branches in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs, along with others in the Boston area and North Jersey, while laying off 11,000 people (5,000 in IT) in a cost-cutting move.
The shutdown list, company officials told me, includes last week's closing of an office in Oxford Valley, and planned March closings of Citi offices in Berwyn, Chester County; in Villanova, Media and Springfield, Delaware County; in Abington, East Norriton, Montgomeryville, Plymouth Meeting, and Willow Grove, Montgomery County; in Doylestown, Southampton and Warrington, Bucks County.
Shares of PBF Energy, the Parsippany, NJ-based company that runs the former Valero refineries in Paulsboro and Delaware City and Sunoco's first refinery in Toledo, Ohio, have been trading a buck or two above last Thursday's initial public stock offering (IPO) price of $26 a share.
PBF, run by veteran refinery buyer and seller Thomas O'Malley, says it raised $533 million, and will use the money to buy back shares from investors First Reserve Corp. and Blackstone Group, as well as O'Malley. More in this PBF statement and in PBF's share prospectus.
John Norcross Ph.D., a South Jersey native, psychologist and professor at the University of Scranton, belongs to a small group: He studies New Year's Resolutions and other attempts people make to recognize and change "maladaptive behaviors and relationships." "We get a lot of calls this time of year" from feature reporters desperate to write something thoughtful for New Year's Day, Norcross told me.
"We get a lot of calls this time of year" from feature reporters desperate to write something thoughtful for New Year's Day, Norcross told me.
This year there's more calls than usual. Norcross' new book, "Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions," got written up among the six "best guides to later life" in the Wall Street Journal's Dec. 6 issue. (Others include Peter Spiers' "Master Class" and ex-NYTimes columnist Anna Quindlen's "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.")
Post Bros. Co., the Philadelphia firm owned by brothers Michael and Matthew Pestronk, agreed to pay $51 million for the 1,030-unit, 4-tower Presidential City Apartments complex, 3900 City Ave. overlooking the Schuylkill Expressway.
Gebroe-Hammer Associates' Joseph Brecher and Eli Rosen represented the seller, who they wouldn't immediately identify. Tax records show the building was owned by an affiliate of Manhattan-based BLDG Management Inc., which is run by Lloyd Goldman. The seller has kept a lease on the ground-level retail property, according to Gebroe-Hammer.
Post, which has clashed with Philadelphia building trades unions over its past refusal to agree to work with all-union contractors, has been buying up rundown apartment buildings, gutting or renovating them, and jacking up rents. Many apartment investors have been similarly taking advantage of the difficulty working people have had getting mortgages since the banking crisis of 2008.
Winthrop Realty Trust, Boston, says it has paid around $57 million to take over the non-performing $70 million mortgage on 1515 Market St., a 514,000 sq ft office building that counts Pennsylvania state courts, Citizens Bank and Temple among its clients. Statement here.
The building was last purchased for $76 million in 2007, according to city records here. The buyers were Philadelphia-based Stockton Real Estate Advisors, founded by Rubenstein Co. veterans James Paterno and Christopher Amoroso, backed by national property investor CBRE Realty Finance. More about that deal here.
Citibank will cut 13 Pennsylvania branches as part of its ongoing cost reductions, which also include axing 5,000 I.T. people, Bloomberg reports here (search story for "Pennsylvania").
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. lists 21 Citi full-service branches in PA, all in the Philadelphia area. Citi recorded around $800 million in deposits at its Doylestown office, apparently its local office of record for corporate and branchless accounts; plus around $900 million at the other 20 branches combined, for a per-branch average of less than $50 million, small by big-bank standards.
The local offices, developed in Citi's effort to enter the Philadelphia and Boston markets in search of loan customers and cheap deposits starting in the mid-2000s, cost Citi around $3-4 million each. Some of the Boston-area branches are also slated to closed.
Delaware's senior U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, moderate Democrat, Post Office reformer and friend to banks, says he's been picked by his fellow Democrats to head the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, where he'll know more than we will about drone killings, torture and other secret actions in our name, while also trying to defend, extend and modify Obama's budget cuts. Carper's statement:
"I am honored to be selected by my Democratic colleagues to become the next Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Our nation has faced some significant challenges in the decade since this committee was reorganized to encompass both Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and I know there are numerous challenges that still lie ahead – whether it is securing our nation's borders and ports, protecting our critical infrastructure from cyber attacks, reducing wasteful and fraudulent spending or getting better results from ineffective programs.
"Thanks to the steadfast leadership of Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins on this committee, we are safer as a nation today than we were when they took the helm.