Knit Wit Closes One Door, Looks to Open Another

Knit Wit has lost its lease at 1729 Chestnut St. But not to worry: its owners are already scouting for its next home on Rittenhouse Row.

Knit Wit has lost its lease at 1729 Chestnut St. But not to worry: its owners are already scouting for its next home on Rittenhouse Row.

A “lost our lease” sale is usually sad news, but in the case of Knit Wit, the store’s owners are taking the forced closing of its 1729 Chestnut Street location in Rittenhouse Row in stride.

“We are out looking for a new location every day and will keep you posted as soon as we find a great new space,” Ann Gitter, co-owner of Knit Wit, said in a news release. “Our Bryn Mawr and Margate locations are receiving new merchandise daily. They are open and will continue to be. We thank Philadelphia for all of the love and support and hope to be open somewhere great as soon as we can.”

Rittenhouse Row’s executive director, Corrie Moskow, is an old friend of Gitter’s. Like Gitter, Moskow says the closing is simply another step in the upscale boutique’s evolution. Read more »

Luxe Loft in NoLibs for $639.9K

1147 N. 4th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19123 | Photos: Daniel Sandoval, The Somers Team

1147 N. 4th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19123 | Photos: Daniel Sandoval, The Somers Team

Are you the type who drools over the high-tech industrial aesthetic?

Have we got a home for you.

One of the finest examples of that style in the city, a spacious, bi-level corner penthouse condo in Northern Liberties’ Cigar Factory, is now on the market.

Its chic factor is through the wood-beamed, steel-supported roof, enhanced by exposed ductwork and brick walls, a spiral staircase and a super-sleek Eurostyle kitchen in the open main living space. Read more »

Apartments Proposed Atop Ardmore Christian Science Reading Room

The Christian Science Reading Room on Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore would get a two-story apartment building on top under a proposal submitted to Lower Merion's historical review board. | Google Street View image

The Christian Science Reading Room on Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore would get a two-story apartment building on top under a proposal submitted to Lower Merion’s historical review board. | Google Street View image

Developers Chris and Ryan Tobin want to join the parade of builders adding apartments to downtown Ardmore. Their modest proposal, however, would add two stories to a one-story historic building, so it got referred to the Lower Merion Historical Architecture Review Board.

The Main Line Times reports that the board voted to send the developers back to the drawing board to address concerns about the project’s design and its effect on neighboring structures. Read more »

Who’s Building Philly: David Perlman

PRDC Properties prides itself on delivering value to aspirational buyers and renters. | Photo: Brandon Morrison, PRDC Properties

PRDC Properties prides itself on delivering value to aspirational buyers and renters. | Photo: Brandon Morrison, PRDC Properties

One thing that David Perlman’s former line of work and his current one have in common is this:

He specializes in renewing old things.

Back in 2002, those things were cars. At the time, he ran a chain of auto-parts stores called Royal Auto. But even then, he said, real estate was on his mind.

“I’ve always dabbled in real estate, from New York to Pennsylvania,” he said.

But in 2002, the auto-parts magnate decided to recast his lot as a real estate developer.

He did it, he said, because he saw a hole in the market no one else was filling.

That hole was “the need to deliver quality housing at a reasonable price.” Read more »

Historical Commission Kicks Jewelers Row Can Down the Road Again

The historic status of the buildings at 704-08 Sansom St. remains up in the air after Friday's Historical Commission meeting. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

The historic status of the buildings at 704-08 Sansom St. remains up in the air after Friday’s Historical Commission meeting. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

After an hour of contentious debate and impassioned pleas from local preservationists, the Philadelphia Historical Commission voted 8-3 to continue postponing a final decision on adding the threatened structures at 704 and 706-08 Sansom Street to the city historic register until the status of Toll Brothers’ demolition permit applications is resolved.

Plan Philly’s report on the commission meeting noted that there was sentiment on the committee as well as among the preservationists who attended to rule on the merits of the applications anyway, even with the demolition permits in dispute. That way, commission Chairman Robert Thomas said, they would be protected should Toll’s demolition permits fall through. Read more »

Owner of Comcast Condos Revealed!

We now know who owns those 45th-floor condos: Comcast's chief honcho.

We now know who owns those 45th-floor condos: Comcast’s chief honcho.

The one thing Natalie Kostelni, the Philadelphia Business Journal’s ace real estate reporter, couldn’t find out when she broke the news (paywall) that the new Comcast Technology Center will have three condominium residences this past Monday was the actual identity of the buyer of the units.

The Philadelphia Inquirer now has that information.

Jacob Adelman reports that the buyer is Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and his wife Aileen.

The report also cites an interview with Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David Cohen, in which he says that the units will be Four Seasons Residences, managed by the Four Seasons Hotel that will occupy the building’s top floors.

But will the Robertses live in one of the condos? Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Nirvana in Devon for $8M

500 S. Waterloo Rd., Devon, Pa. 19333 |Photos: Herb Engelsberg via Jack Aezen

500 S. Waterloo Rd., Devon, Pa. 19333 |Photos: Herb Engelsberg via Jack Aezen

Some mansions have more than elegance to recommend them. This home in Devon is one of those, because it has a story behind it.

That story begins in 1903, when Philadelphia attorney and philanthropist William C. Bullitt built this home as a summer residence on 12 acres of land near Waterloo and Exeter roads. He called it “Oxmoor,” after his family’s ancestral home in Louisville. His will provided for the home to pass to his two sons, William C. Jr. — the first U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in the FDR administration — and Orville H., one of the founders of Blue Cross of Greater Philadelphia (now Independence Blue Cross) and a board chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, upon his death.

That took place in 1919, whereupon the sons sold it to Francis R. Welsh, who renamed it “Nirvana.” With its beautifully landscaped grounds and classically elegant detailing, the name certainly fit. Read more »

CDR Panel Gives Toll Jewelers Row Tower a Mixed Review

The CDR panel's advice to Toll's architect: Make up your mind what kind of tower this is supposed to be. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

The CDR panel’s advice to Toll’s architect: Make this building modern or make it neotraditional, but make it one or the other. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

Toll Brothers City Living’s proposal for a 29-story residential tower with ground-floor retail on Jewelers Row went before the design doctors yesterday (February 7th). Their diagnosis: The building suffers from a case of architectural schizophrenia.

Curbed Philly’s report on the Civic Design Review meeting indicates that only one of the members of the CDR panel, developer Leo Addimado, liked the proposed design. But even he urged Toll and project architect SLCE to make the design more frankly modern. Committee members referred to the structure as having split personalities throughout the meeting. Read more »

Former Trump Site Becomes Turnkey Development Opportunity

Aerial view of Pier 35 1/2, looking towards Center City

The ready-to-build development at Pier 35 1/2. | Rendering: Cecil Baker + Partners via Shovel Ready Projects LLC

Attention, developers! Shovel Ready Projects LLC has such a deal for you.

It’s 2.13 acres of prime Delaware waterfront property just north of Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Street in the Central Waterfront District. Pier 35 1/2, where Donald Trump had announced plans for a high-rise condo tower several years before he became President, is now available as a ready-t0-build 41-unit townhouse development.

Shovel Ready has done all the prep work: preliminary engineering, zoning permits, site acquisition and preparation, and design by noted local starchitects Cecil Baker + Partners. It took them two years and $5.5 million to put it all together.

They’re offering it for $12 million — and, they say, the buyer will make a 40 percent return on investment easily. Read more »

SEPTA Opens Up on MFL Cracks

60 Market-Frankford Line M-4 cars will remain sidelined while the cause of and repairs for cracked vent boxes and beams are dealt with. | Photo: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

60 Market-Frankford Line M-4 cars will remain sidelined while the cause of and repairs for cracked vent boxes and beams are dealt with. | Photo: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The bad news: About 60 Market-Frankford Line rapid transit cars will be out of commission for an indefinite period while SEPTA analyzes just what caused the cracks that spread from vent boxes to major load-bearing beams — or would have if a SEPTA maintenance shop worker hadn’t found cracks in two of those beams Friday night.

The good news: SEPTA has 218 cars in its M-4 fleet, which means that once undamaged cars can be uncoupled from damaged ones, it will have the 144 cars it needs to run regular peak-hour service. Detaching and reattaching the cars, however, will take a few days at least, and until then, there will be minor indigestion during the busiest travel times on the line. SEPTA will have enough buses to take care of the pain, though.

Those were the two most important takeaways from this afternoon’s news conference with SEPTA General Manger Jeff Knueppel. Read more »

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