Business News in Brief

News Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

By: Jason Laughlin

In the Region

Coretrust gets $200M injection

Coretrust Capital Partners, a real estate investment company with offices in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, has closed on a $200 million equity commitment from a fund managed by Austin, Texas-based Hawkeye Partners. The fund, which has the ability to expand to $300 million, will focus on office-building acquisitions in the major markets of the Mid-Atlantic, the West Coast, and the Southwest, Coretrust said in a statement Wednesday. Coretrust is led by three original partners of Thomas Properties Group, an offshoot of the company that developed Philadelphia’s Commerce Square office complex. – Jacob Adelman

Uber helps with missing kids

Philadelphia’s fleet of Uber drivers will lend their eyes to assist in searches for abducted children. The car service said Wednesday that it is partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to send SMS messages to its drivers in cities that have issued an Amber Alert, a warning system initiated when there is a suspected child abduction. The messages will include information on how drivers who see something suspicious can contact authorities. The partnership is being implemented in 180 U.S. cities, including Philadelphia. About 12,000 Uber drivers operate in the city, the company said. – Jason Laughlin

Rally against fossil fuels

Grassroots activist organizations announced a new coalition on Wednesday to fight growth of the fossil-fuel industry in Philadelphia, including opposition to building out the region as a destination for Marcellus Shale natural gas production. The coalition, called Green Justice Philly, held a launch rally Wednesday at Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall. At the rally, some decried Philadelphia Energy Solutions for pollution coming from its South Philadelphia oil refinery. Members of Green Justice include Action United, Food & Water Watch, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Maypop Collective for Economic and Climate Justice and Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. The coalition is calling on the city to step up investment in green-economy programs and to decline new permits for fossil fuel companies that are not complying with their existing emissions permits. A Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ representative said the company had “nothing to add” to the conversation. Ironically, the firm agreed Wednesday to pay a fine of $175,000 for pollution violations in late 2014 and early this year levied by city, state and federal environmental agencies, said Mark McDonald, press secretary for Mayor Nutter. – Inquirer staff

Brown & Brown moving locally

Brown & Brown of Pennsylvania is moving into Keystone Property Group’s SORA East office building in Conshohocken from a location in Plymouth Meeting. The employee benefits and business insurance firm has signed a 16,846-square-foot lease at the 125 E. Elm St. building, Keystone said Wednesday. Keystone relocated its own headquarters into the 42,580-square-foot Conshohocken building from Bala Cynwyd in March after acquiring it last year. – Jacob Adelman

Foundations plan merger

Philadelphia’s Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Life Sciences Foundation, of San Francisco, both founded by retired University of Pennsylvania professor Arnold Thackray, said they plan to merge next month. The headquarters of the combined entity will be at the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s museum and library on Chestnut Street in Old City, but the organization will retain offices on the West Coast. The Chemical Heritage Foundation, founded in 1982, had $5.4 million in revenue in the year ended June 30, 2014. Its purpose has been to preserve and study the full history of chemical sciences. The Life Sciences foundation was founded in 2010 and focuses on the history of biotechnology over the last 40 years. It had $1.9 million in revenue in the year ended June 30, 2014. – Harold Brubaker

SEPTA starting food drive

SEPTA will announce its annual food drive Thursday during a rally at Dilworth Park. Representatives from the transit agency and Philabundance will meet to draw attention to an annual food collection program scheduled to run from Oct. 19 to 30. Large green donation boxes will be installed at 43 SEPTA stations for riders to deposit boxed and canned goods that will be donated to Philabundance for underprivileged families. The kickoff rally for the “Stop Hunger at Your Station” drive will begin at 10 a.m. at 15th and Market streets.

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