Northeast Times

Mayor visits NE Chamber of Commerce

Be­ing the busi­ness com­munity’s biggest cheer­lead­er is part of the gig for Phil­adelphia’s top elec­ted of­fi­cial, and May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter fully lived up to the role last week as he paid a vis­it to the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

After list­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ac­com­plish­ments in pro­mot­ing and de­vel­op­ing com­merce, the may­or en­cour­aged mem­bers gathered for a lunch­eon at the Know­lton Man­sion at Rhawn and Ver­ree to share the love and be busi­ness am­bas­sad­ors for their home town. 

“Let’s be more pos­it­ive about Phil­adelphia,” he said. “Phil­adelphia is really a great, great place to do busi­ness.”

Nut­ter lis­ted what the city has to of­fer com­pan­ies look­ing for new loc­a­tions, and stressed its place in in­ter­na­tion­al com­merce.

“Phil­adelphia is a glob­al city. Its eco­nomy con­nects all the way around the world.” 

Nut­ter said for­eign com­pan­ies want to in­vest in Phil­adelphia.

Many com­pan­ies are com­ing to the city, he said, and plenty of people vis­it on busi­ness.

“This is a great con­ven­tion town,” he said, and stressed that the hos­pit­al­ity busi­ness provides plenty of jobs. “Eighty per­cent of our hotel work­ers are Phil­adelphia res­id­ents.”

Phil­adelphia has been chan­ging. Phil­adelphi­ans have been chan­ging, he said.

“If you haven’t been in Phil­adelphia for the last five to 10 years, you don’t know Phil­adelphia,” he said. “Our di­verse pop­u­la­tion is the strength of our great city.”

MORE FOR BUSI­NESS

The may­or told cham­ber mem­bers that pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing for the first time in 60 years. Part of that is re­flec­ted in the in­creas­ing num­ber — 49 per­cent — of grads of Phil­adelphia’s 101 col­leges and uni­versit­ies who choose to stay in the city, he said. Philly’s growth isn’t just in people, he ad­ded. Com­pan­ies here are ex­pand­ing, he said, and right now, there are 50 ma­jor con­struc­tion pro­jects un­der way.

Yes, he said, Phil­adelphi­ans have their “day to day chal­lenges,” but he said the city has an un­matched qual­ity of life. Phil­adelphia is 70 minutes from Wash­ing­ton or New York, he said, but has a lower cost of liv­ing.

For com­merce to grow, he said, “We want to make it easi­er to do busi­ness in the city and with the city.” To do that, the city will be elim­in­at­ing some fees in 2014.

Phil­adelphia In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port is ex­pand­ing its run­ways, and car­ri­ers are ex­pand­ing their flights and des­tin­a­tions, the may­or said.

He praised the Com­merce De­part­ment’s Of­fice of Busi­ness Ser­vices and spe­cific­ally lauded Com­merce’s North­east busi­ness ser­vice man­ager, Sandi King, for the hard work she does.  

“I can nev­er find Sandi be­cause she’s ac­tu­ally work­ing for you,” the may­or said as he looked in the dir­ec­tion of long­time cham­ber pres­id­ent Al Tauben­ber­ger.

City gov­ern­ment is pump­ing money in­to the North­east, Nut­ter said, point­ing to tens of thou­sands of dol­lars go­ing to com­munity de­vel­op­ment cor­por­a­tions in Frank­ford and May­fair and for Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue im­prove­ments.

When the may­or took some ques­tions from cham­ber mem­bers, one query drif­ted from busi­ness to polit­ics. Asked wheth­er or not he will seek an­oth­er elect­ive of­fice when his second term con­cludes, Nut­ter said, “I am so not think­ing about that.”

He said he still has much to do as may­or. “I can’t ima­gine do­ing any­thing else.” ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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