Does Center City need another moderate-priced clothing retailer?
Marshalls has leased the Staples site, a onetime Woolworth's, at 1046 Market St. Marshalls owner TJX Cos. Inc. of Massachusetts, which opened a one-million-square- foot, 1,000-worker, state-subsidized warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia a decade ago, took the space after Staples declined to renew with landlord Jenel Management Co. of New York.
Metro Commercial Real Estate broker Donna Drew sold Marshalls on the 26,000-square- foot location; Staples is consolidating stores at 15th and Chestnut streets and on Delaware Avenue. Metro boss Steve Gartner called the switch "a net win for Center City," since Marshalls isn't already in the neighborhood.
"Market Street is well-positioned to become one of the city's premier retail corridors, which is why we are investing in our property and adjusting the tenant mix," Jenel Management president Michael Hirschhorn said in a statement. He didn't return calls.
Gartner said the competing Ross store at Eighth and Market and the Old Navy in the nearby Gallery are busy, showing there is demand for more.
TJX has been expanding Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and its other chains as sales rise, while bigger chains have lost business to the struggling economy and online competition.
Marshalls opened a South Philly store last year; it was recruited for Center City by the Philadelphia Retail Market Alliance, an affiliate of Paul Levy's Center City District.
"We met with Marshalls" at the International Council of Shopping Centers meeting in 2010 in Las Vegas, alliance co-chair Michelle Shannon told me. Then, her group invited Hirschhorn and broker Michael Katz to visit so the city could promote its recent residential, hotel, and restaurant growth as a retail magnet.
Hirschhorn "was like, 'Wow,' " Shannon said. "They own lots of different properties, and we were able to get him to see that maybe there were higher, better uses."
There's "enough business to go around," she added. "I hope they include home goods - we don't have nearly enough" for Center City's growing population.
The neighborhood is part of the new Commercial Advertising District, where the Gallery's owner, Ron Rubin's Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, and other landlords hope to add Times Square-style lighted signs to draw night shoppers.
Center City District says it has spent $6 million on better SEPTA shelters and landscaping for the strip. The district also is over- seeing the state-subsidized $55 million renovation of Dilworth Plaza, which splits Market just west of City Hall.
Chemicalmaker PQ Corp. must pay ex-R&D professionals Bonnie Marcus and Roman Wypart at least $2.9 million for lost wages, "emotional distress," and other damages for firing them in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia has ruled. PQ had no comment.
According to the decision, PQ - the 180-year-old former Philadelphia Quartz Co. - was bought by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
in 2005 and turned over to CEO Mike Boyce, who fired 30 in a "reduction in force," or RIF, measure.
Marcus, a manager in PQ's former research-and-develop- ment lab in Conshohocken, and Wypart, a scientist who reported to her, won a 2009 verdict on their complaint. PQ (now owned by Carlyle Group) appealed.
The Third Circuit last week upheld the judgment, noting that, while "the defendant had a right to hire and fire its employees whenever they wanted to, as long as they didn't do it because of age," the trial produced "considerable evidence" of "discrimination." That included the way PQ's stated reasons for firing "changed over time," and that, of employees with Marcus' and Wypart's job titles, "all of those 55 and older were fired in the RIF, while all of those under 55 were retained."
The workers were represented by lawyers Scott Goldshaw and Katie Eyer of Salmanson, Goldshaw P.C., Philadelphia. Buchanan, Ingersoll defended PQ.
Contact columnist Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194, JoeD@phillynews.com,
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