Farmhouse Friday: Pastoral West Chester Gem Listed for $2.75 Million

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

It’s been in the hands of one family for close to a century, but now’s your chance to make it yours: Deborah’s Rock Farm in West Chester is on the market. Listed last month for a cool $2.75 million, the historic 88-acre estate claims a 9,000-square-foot stone manor home that’s been beautifully preserved and maintained, original bank barn, and tenant house. To boot, it’s got frontage on the Brandywine River and views of the Natural Lands Trust Stroud Preserve.

Like several of our farmhouse selections, Deborah’s Rock claims distinct architectural details that amplify its rustic appeal: brick-floored entrance hall, seven fireplaces, wood-burning stove, beehive oven, and a stone ha-ha wall. The country kitchen, which overlooks the gardens and Preserve, is centrally located at the core of the manor, making it easy to move between the formal dining room and family room.

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Tacony Named “Great Neighborhood” Winner by American Planning Association

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

“Will people finally notice Tacony?” was a question posed right here on Property many, many moons ago (about a month or so after the blog was started, actually). It wasn’t meant to snub, but was, rather, a sincere query in the wake of a surging neighborhood revitalization effort made by the Tacony Community Development Corporation with other local groups.

More recently, Tacony CDC Corridor Manager Alex Balloon took to the Historic Tacony Revitalization Project blog in January to make known the slew of projects slated to improve the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. And boy, are those efforts noticed now!

See, the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter has announced this year’s winners of its Great Places awards, honors bestowed on a select number of “unique, memorable places” in the categories of “Great Neighborhoods” and “Great Public Spaces.” Tacony is one of two “Great Neighborhoods” winners, meaning it has been shown to have “exemplary character, quality, planning, identity, cultural interest, and community involvement with a sustainable vision for tomorrow.” You can see the rest of the winners here.

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Former Italian Consulate Turned Mega Mansion Asks $3.25M

All images by TREND via Redfin

All images by TREND via Redfin

Whoa. Could you imagine if this mega-mansion designed by Theophilus P. Chandler  – for the record, historical notes also attribute it to Horace Trumbauer – at the corner of 22nd and Locust was your personal residence? Well, if you’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.25 million, it could be. Heck, even if you’re more the developer/investor type, the property has RM-1 zoning, so something like a condo building conversion is definitely a possibility.

Commissioned by steel businessman Frank Samuel (who may have been the same Frank Samuel who was V.P. of the North Branch Steel Company, “the first to produce the modern street-car rail“) in 1899, the four-story Federal brick beauty went up sometime in the early 1900s. Today, it boasts several features from the era: original stained glass windows, panelings, moldings, parquet and herringbone wood floors, and even a defunct elevator that used to go up to the third level. Bonus historical tidbit? It served as the headquarters for the Italian consulate back in the seventies. And with that, can you guess how many bedrooms it has?

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The Latest Word on Market Street West

Could Market Street West really be waking up? We said it last week, and now the Inquirer’s latest article on the the Murano, the 43-story condo tower at 2101 Market, is driving the thought even further by saying it’s the living manifestation of the change.

First, though, an update on the tract of Market Street land newly acquired by Brandywine Realty Trust: we now know how much it cost. According to Inky’s Jacob Adelman, city documents show Brandywine paid up $16.6 million for the 37,000-square-foot plot. As we told you previously, the site is on the 2100 block’s southern side near the planned June 5th Memorial Park. Whatever they have planned for the spot, we’ll keep you posted.

But back to “West Market Street Rising” news: Alan J. Heavens reports the Murano, a high-rise completed back in 2008 for a total sum of $165 million, could be the true-life embodiment of “the Center City condo market’s turnaround.” From the Inquirer:

Next month, the last of the Murano’s 302 original units will go to settlement – a milestone that local real estate observers consider not only a measure of market strength but a 180-degree turnaround in the perception of the viability of that Market Street West.

“The area between 20th Street and the Schuylkill River is clearly filling in the dead zones with new residential and mixed-use projects,” said developer Carl Dranoff.

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Jaw Dropper of the Week: Bauhan-Redesigned Barn at Burnt House Hill

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

“His homes are like a well-tailored suit.” Those are the words of a homeowner living in a residence designed by Princeton architect Rolf W. Bauhan. In that same interview, we learn Bauhan had a penchant for the Colonial Revival style and many of his projects are “marked by fine craftsmanship, comfort, and attention to detail.”

Well, gee. If that’s the case, then we should count our blessings, as we’ve just spotted a Bauhan renovation in our neck of the woods!

Nestled on a leafy plot in Doylestown, the Barn at Burnt House Hill (wonder what happened there) is a gorgeous barn conversion with a two-story great room with original stone walls, retreat-like master suite on the third floor, and an in-law apartment on the lower level. It’s a mature structure to be sure (200 years old!), but you wouldn’t guess it from looking at the kitchen, newly renovated with white Carrera marble.

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Headlines: Where Does Philly Rank for First Time Home Buyers?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the state of the real estate market in Philadelphia. We know that home sales are up across the board in the Second Quarter (good news), but overall, how does Philly stack up to other cities when it comes to the all-important first time home buyer?

A new report from personal finance website WalletHub shows Philly sits smack dab in the middle of the pack at number 31 of a list of 62  “large cities” (over 300,000 people), clustered with a group that includes New Orleans (29), Minneapolis (30), San Antonio (32) and San Diego (33). For what it’s worth, Pittsburgh, with its population around 305,000 people, is ranked 8th on the list of large cities

However, for those first time home buyers looking to live in one of the most populous cities in the the United States, Philly is among the best. Only Houston (15) ranks higher on the list.

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Trinity Tuesday: This 1,000-Square-Foot House Could Turn You Into a Minimalist

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

Purging old paperwork from my drawers, donating long-untouched books to the library, clearing my perpetually mail-laden bureau, and re-organizing my closet…these are all things I try to be consistent with. Before I know it, though, it’s suddenly back to square one and I’m staring at a messy abyss on a Monday morning with the clock ticking in my ears, all because I slept in all weekend and never got around to decluttering.

I’m a wannabe minimalist in other words. Perhaps that’s why I love trinities so much: three stories, charmingly aged, and compact? Sign me up, man, because there’s no way living in snug quarters will allow me the luxury of “forgetting.” Even Joshua Becker from the Becoming Minimalist blog thinks so, going so far as to list twelve reasons why living in a smaller home will make you happier – see no. 1, 2, 9, and 10!

All that being said, were I or any other aspiring minimalist in the market for a trinity house in Philadelphia, this Rodman Street property might be a place to consider. Granted, it’s an expanded home and certainly a lot more sizable than other trinities, but it offers just 1,005 square feet of living space. Original wide-plank wood flooring is throughout and there’s a wood-burning fireplace on the first level. Exposed brick makes appearances, most notably in the main bedroom (third floor), where there are vaulted ceilings and access to a roof deck.

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Main Line Monday: Valley View Estate Listed for the Second Time in Sixty Years

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

Almost saved this one for Friday, but we just couldn’t wait to share it with you! Listed last week for a cool – brace yourself, now – $3.5 million, the Valley View estate in Lower Merion finds itself on the market for the second time in sixty years. Quick, get thee to the gallery below before it disappears for another couple of decades!

Situated on more than two acres, the property consists of a stone Pennsylvania farmhouse, three-car garage, and heated swimming pool with hot tub. The Valley View main residence claims 8,000 square feet of living space, including a fully renovated basement with a 1,200-bottle wine cellar. One of its neatest features, though, is the custom wall covering depicting New York Harbor circa 1860 in the formal dining room.

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Report Says These Are Center City’s Hottest ‘Hoods to Live in

Gorgeous. | Shutterstock.com

Gorgeous. | Shutterstock.com

Do you own a home in one of these Philadelphia neighborhoods? Can’t say we’re surprised: the latest HomExpert Report by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach REALTORS has named the following five areas the Hottest Places to Live in Center City, based on the number of homes sold there within the first six months of 2015.

They are as follows:

  1. Fairmount and Art Museum (19130)
    Homes sold: 243
    Median price: $310,000
  2. Rittenhouse Square (19103)
    Homes sold: 174
    Median price: $500,000
  3. Old City (19106)
    Homes sold: 126
    Median price: $370,000
  4. Northern Liberties and Fishtown (19124)
    Homes sold: 115 homes
    Median price: $385,000
  5. Washington Square (19107)
    Homes sold: 68
    Median price: $325,500

Overall, though, numbers have shown the Greater Philadelphia Area to be in something of a rebound as of late (just last week we got a hold of some nice ones from Kevin Gillen, who, granted, also offered a word of caution): in that same HomExpert Report, Greater Philly home sales – that includes New Jersey and Delaware – have jumped by 13.8 percent, “their highest point in four years,” between 2014 and 2015. Between 2012 and 2015, the increase is 24.6 percent.

Zeroing in on Philly, the infographic shows 7,124 homes sold for a median of $155,500 within the first six months of 2015. This number is up from the 6,243 sold in the first six of 2014; the 6,718 sold in the first six of 2013; and the 5,559 sold in the first six months of 2012. Percentage-wise, that makes for a 28.2 percent leap between 2012 and 2015.

Philadelphia 2014-2015

Screenshot of HomExpert Report | BHHS Fox & Roach REALTORS

On a hyper-local level, here’s how particular sections of Philadelphia did in the first six months of this year compared to last year and going all the way back to 2012. (Yo, the Northeast seems to sell more within the first six months, but check out the Riverwards, West Philly and South Philly consistently having some of the biggest increases):

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Property’s Photo of the Week: Market Street West Is Starting to Wake Up

Follow @brandywinerealty as we Build Philadelphia.

A photo posted by Brandywine Realty Trust (@brandywinerealty) on

If you follow us on Twitter (@PropertyPhilly – hit us up!), you know we have a bit of a thing for realtime crane and construction crew photos – and don’t even get us started on concrete pours. But can you blame us? Philly is rising right before our eyes!

As of late, though, Market Street in particular has been abuzz with activity: a newly built-out, mid-century-style La Colombe opened its doors at 6th and Market; upcoming units at a currently being “remodeled elevator building” at 304 Market popped up on Redfin; not to mention, the massive East Market project finally had its foundation poured.

Also recently, Richard Basciano was reported to have sold off his chunk of the 2100 block to Brandywine Realty Trust, the group who may very well have inspired this surge on Market in the first place – anyone remember when 1919 Market was a big ole’ patch of “Will-Someone-Please-Do-Something-With-This?”

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