Morning Headlines: Center City Office Rental Rates Below National Average

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Every year the Center City District releases a “State of Center City” report. What did we learn this time around? It may not be doing as well as one would hope.
According to the Inquirer’s Chris Hepp, the report says Center City is “showing signs of distress” for…well, a bunch of reasons. What caught our attention was the issue of office rental rates, which shows that while Center City’s population has been increasing over time, office rental rates are still below the national average. What’s this mean exactly? Just the area’s inability bring in new employers, in direct contrast to other cities and even the suburbs.

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Morning Headlines: Jon Bon Jovi’s New Soul Homes Open in Fairmount

JBJSoulHomes

A 55-unit mixed-use housing project by Project HOME will open its doors to many of the city’s formerly homeless this week — thanks in large part to Jon Bon Jovi and his unlikely partnership with Sister Mary Scullion.

Scullion recently told Philly Mag’s Joel Mathis how that relationship evolved:

“Jon was the co-owner of the Soul (Arena Football League) team at that time, and he was staying at the Ritz Carlton on Broad Street. He looked out his window and saw someone just out in the bitter cold and got his sound engineer and said to him, ‘Can you find me an organization in this area that we could partner with to do something about this? It’s an intolerable condition.’”

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Morning Headlines: Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside Gets Urban-Friendly Redesign

carl dranoff one riverside

Rendering of the project via Philly.com

“A true urban tower,” that’s what Pulitzer-winning architecture critic Inga Saffron has called Carl Dranoff’s redesigned One Riverside project at 25th and Locust. The building, proposed last summer, had originally sparked complaints from locals and Saffron herself.

So what exactly are the differences between the old and new design?

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Morning Headlines: City Tries to Shut Down Kensington Chocolate Factory

blasius chocolates

Screenshot of Blasius Chocolate Factory via Google Street View

Look at the recent posts on their Facebook page and you’ll find nothing but support for Blasius Chocolate Factory. That’s because city officials showed up on Wednesday to force the business to cease operations, an order the Factory continues to ignore.

Apparently, the Venango Street business owes more than $12,000 in delinquent property taxes — money that owner Phil Kerwick believes he does not owe since the factory is only opened half the year.

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Reduced: Gorgeous 1850s West Chester Farmhouse

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Originally listed for sale at $3.6 million in October, this 19th-century West Chester farmhouse has a lot to love, including a rustic kitchen hearth (above), extensive woodwork, woodburning stoves, cast iron tubs and a restored stone bank barn used for entertaining and athletics.

Renovated from top to bottom in 2009, the home’s custom kitchen has cabinetry by Goebel and appliances by Thermador and Sub Zero. Outside, landscaping and hardscaping have resulted in a patio suited for entertainment.

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Unique Hexagonal Home Designed By Henry J. Magaziner

105 cherry lane wynnewood pa

In January of 2012 Hidden City profiled late Philadelphia architect Henry Jonas Magaziner, describing him as both a preservationist and advocate whose “inspirational presence” could still be felt in places like Center City and Valley Forge. Unsurprisingly, his devotion to the area was a personal one.

After graduating from Central High School in Northwest Philadelphia, Magaziner went to Penn but had to drop out because of the Great Depression. After some time as a salesman, Magaziner went back and graduated with a degree in architecture in 1936. He then worked for his famous father, Louis Magaziner, before leaving to practice in different parts of the country. In 1946, he returned to Philadelphia and resumed working for his father, followed by seven years at his own private firm.

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Morning Headlines: Conshohocken Development Stalled Again

Screenshot via Google Street View

Screenshot via Google Street View

It’s been almost seven years since the Borough of Conshohocken purchased the 60,000-square-foot, three-story Verizon building on Fayette Street, but getting redevelopment of the property off the ground has not been easy.

Last week the Borough Council postponed the award of a demolition contract after concerns about a low bid from one of the four bidders, Neuber Demolition & Environmental Services, which made a “less than ideal offer” of $414,950, according to the Times Herald’s Carl Rotenberg.

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Morning Headlines: Penn’s Landing Redevelopment Plans Still Being Perfected

Penn's Landing Master Plan rendering via PlanPhilly.

Penn’s Landing Master Plan rendering via PlanPhilly.

As of now, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) has more of what project manager Karen Thompson calls “a conceptual framework.” But in a little over a week — April 25th, to be exact — the DRWC aims to showcase stronger renderings of Penn’s Landing redevelopment.

According to PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates, the current framework elaborates on certain points in the Master Plan and tests the project’s feasibility “in terms of logistics and engineering.”

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