Suit Corner Is Engulfed By Fire

suit-cornerFirst it was Shirt Corner, the iconic clothing retailer at Third and Market. The retailer went out of business, the building was slated for redevelopment, the redevelopment was scrapped due to structural issues, then it (unexpectedly?) collapsed during demolition. Fans of historical buildings and classic type mourn.

Now, across the street, Suit Corner — which also had a similarly iconic facade, but was still serving customers after 50+ years — has gone up in flames. The fire started this morning, and has apparently destroyed the business, according to news reports.

For more on this story and for updates as it develops, head over to Philly Mag News & Opinion: Suit Corner Fire Is Under Control (Updated)

Image of Suit Corner via Google Street View.

Get a Home Makeover From IKEA

home-tour-squadIKEA calls itself the Life Improvement Store, and it’s now expanding its services to make good on that moniker. Taking a page from the book of home-makeover shows that have become so popular, the Swedes have launched the “grassroots” IKEA Home Tour, which will send a team of experts to different cities to work with desperate homeowners (design-desperate, that is. This ain’t no Extreme Makeover).

The IKEA “Home Tour Squad” is composed of five IKEA employees (pictured, left) who are leaving their store-bound jobs and going on the road to provide two makeovers in each city they visit. So far the cities on that list include Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore/D.C., New York and Philadelphia.

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AQ Rittenhouse Breaks Ground Tomorrow

A rendering of the project by architect BLT.

A rendering of the project via Aquinas’ website.

Aquinas Realty plans to break ground tomorrow on AQ Rittenhouse, a 12-story mixed-use building at 2021 Chestnut. There’ll be restaurant/retail space on the first floor and 110 residential units, with plenty of amenities: a sky terrace, secure covered parking, a fitness center and a “dog washing room.”

The previous building on the site, the YWCA annex, had been vacant since the early 1990s and was seriously blighted by the time it was torn down to make room for something new.

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You Can Now Own a Chunk of the City’s Website, Basically

Chris Sawyer over at philadelinquency has performed another of his data dumps (in a good way) this year by releasing three files that you can download and own. Here’s what he’s got:

1. OPA RECORDS.csv – contains all the basic characteristics of each property in Philadelphia, its owners, the OPA mailing address, and summary information from the Department of Revenue

2. REVENUE RECORDS.csv – contains the full entire listing for every OPA account number in the OPA RECORDS file as you see it when you browse the Department of Revenue’s property tax website.

3. VALUATION RECORDS.csv – contains a history of valuation changes for all OPA accounts that are listed in the OPA RECORDS file, including tax exemption codes and historical assessments.

Once the files are downloaded, they’re yours to keep, so you don’t have to go digging around phila.gov to get the info. Which can be exhausting.

Downloads are here.

Why Do Former Wawas Always Look Like Wawa?

former wawa

The ultimate insult: a Wawa on Mystic Island that’s been turned into a 7-Eleven. Photo via Google Street View.

It was one of the great sadnesses of my life as a native Center Cityan when the Rittenhouse Square Wawa closed. I’d done so much growing up there — bought countless packs of to-be-regretted-later cigarettes, hidden from my parents in the depths of my backpack; giggled with my friends over the Playboys and Penthouses in the very back rows of the magazine racks; stocked up on Butterscotch Krimpets and Jolly Ranchers before the daylong vigils by the fountain in the park, waiting for the boys to walk by.

And then, in 2008, it closed and became  (gasp!) a 7-Eleven. What fresh hell was this? Every day my Center City childhood disappears a bit more, crumbling into Burberry or Cole Hahn ash. But come on, people! Some things are sacred! (At least it didn’t become a Sheetz.)

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For Those Who Want to Know Ahead of Time What Their Roommates’ Arguments Sound Like…

two women arguingThis Craigslist ad to assemble a friendly crew for a group housing situation includes a lot of information about the couple who are organizing it — including what their fights sound like. They’ve been together five years (at just 21 and 22 years old) and are “basically married” and “don’t do drama.” As proof of this disinclination, the ladies break down a sample argument:

“Did you feed the cats?”
“No, you went to work so I assumed you fed them.”
“I didn’t.”
“Well I’m not a mind reader.”
“THEY’RE GOING TO STARVE BECAUSE- oh wait no, they got into the trash, lousy brats. I take it back, they deserve a late breakfast.”

Be warned, however, that while the fights are brief, they may get repetitive in terms of content as the pair has the two cats, five fancy rats, a guinea pig, and a border collie — all of whose nutritional requirements will need remembering.

Looking for future roommates! (Philadelphia) [CL]

Photo via hercampus.com

So What’s All This About a Wegmans Coming to Center City?

wegmans.heart

Let’s just get this out of the way: There is no actual forensic, DNA-firm, hold-up-in-court evidence that Wegmans is coming to downtown Philadelphia. None whatsoever. Reputable, in-the-know sources have scuttled the scuttlebutt, which first popped up last month with the announcement of Bart Blatstein’s proposed development at Broad and Washington (floorplans and more info below, by the way). For instance:

Passyunk Post: “A source who would know, but who required anonymity, told us that in no uncertain terms, Wegmans ‘is definitely NOT coming to Broad and Washington.’

Naked Philly: “So could [Wegmans] really be happening?!?! Unfortunately, our sources tell us that it isn’t. As was the case previously, we’re hearing that the likely tenant will be a Superfresh or a Giant.”

A Wegmans spokesperson — someone called someone! because reporting! — told the Passyunk Post “they have no plans for a location in Philly proper.”

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I.M. Pei Home Sells for $1.1 Million

pei-opener

Most people know I.M. Pei designed the Society Hill Towers, but projects like this three-story townhome at 251 South Third Street, are less well-known. In this case, the home, which is almost 45 years old, has been completely renovated but retains important architectural details, like a unique staircase lit by a skylight. The sleek, modern kitchen — Wolf, Sub Zero, Gaggenau, Thermador and Miele — was designed by Joanne Hudson, as were the bathrooms. There’s a gated parking space and a large garden too. It’s a wonderful home in a terrific neighborhood — no surprise that it sold fairly quickly.

Slideshow below.

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Flintstones Furniture to Match Dick Clark’s Unbelievable Flintstones House

livingstone with child

A small child enjoys Stéphanie Marin’s Livingstones. Photo via the designer’s website.

This week Web Urbanist published “Flintstones Furniture: 15 Designs Made of Stone and Lava,” and while I can’t be sure they were thinking of the late Dick Clark’s unbelievable Flintstones house, each of these designs is a lovely complement to his home’s interior. In fact, the gallery offers prospective buyers some decor ideas, should they be overwhelmed by the possibilities.

My favorite pick is the Livingstones, which I’ve long been obsessed with because I’m basically a cat and I just want to sleep all the time. In fact, I love all of Stéphanie Marin‘s work because so much of it caters to the high-end beanbag audience — and you know who you are. Below, a slideshow of Marin’s “stone” work, which would soften the hard edges of Clark’s home, both inside and out.

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