Tenants Continue to Press Case Against New Penn Wynn Manor Owner

Protesters at today’s rally in support of Penn Wynn residents’ demands. | Photo: Sandy Smith

About 40 Penn Wynn Manor residents and their supporters in the Philadelphia Tenants Union staged a protest in front of the Centre Square office complex today at noontime to protest the actions of the building’s new owner, Cross Properties. The remaining residents of the Wynnefield apartment tower, who the union is representing in their dispute with Cross, say the owners are both giving them too little time to find new living quarters and making it difficult for them to rent suitable new apartments.

Residents received notices slipped under their doors Jan. 17 notifying them that the new owner would not renew their leases. A sizable number of the building’s 239 apartments were occupied by disabled veterans, housing voucher recipients, and other tenants with special housing needs. Read more »

8 Projects Win Willard Rouse Awards

Swarthmore Town Center West | Photo from Swarthmore College via ULI Philadelphia

Judging from the major elements contained in this year’s honorees at the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia’s fourth annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Awards for Excellence, the city’s architectural and development communities have not only become masters at multitasking, they’ve managed to successfully complete their context sensitivity training.

Whether the design paid homage to traditional informal style, like Cope Linder’s master design for Swarthmore Town Center West, or made bold modern statements like KSS/Hollwich Kushner’s Pennovation Center and BLTa/Pelli Clarke Pelli’s FMC Tower at Cira Centre South did, in every case it fit in with its setting and enhanced its intended functions. Read more »

Historic Preservation Gets A Big Helping Hand From the National Trust

The designation of Philadelphia’s historic neighborhoods as a National Treasure covers not just the well-known historic precincts of Center City — it extends to neighborhoods all over the city, from the factory town of Tacony to colonial Germantown to the 19th-century streetcar suburbs of West Philadelphia, shown here. | Photo: Neal Santos for the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The designation of Philadelphia as the first and so far only World Heritage City in the United Statea two years ago brought with it bragging rights but not much in the way of resources to preserve its historic character.

Today’s official announcement that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has added Philadelphia’s historic neighborhoods to its list of National Treasures will do something to help preserve that character.

At a midday ceremony in the studio of the KieranTimberlake architectural firm, Mayor Jim Kenney, National Trust for Historic Preservation President and CEO Stephanie Meeks and Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Executive Director Paul Steinke explained how the designation would both help the city bolster its historic preservation efforts and use its historic structures as engines of economic renewal, especially in the city’s more disadvantaged districts. Read more »

1911 Walnut to Be Mixed-Use, Mixed-Income Project

The Sansom Street elevation of the revised Southern Land tower proposed for 1911 Walnut. The Warwick Apartments, part of the revised development, are at the extreme left. | Renderings: Southern Land Company

Southern Land Company appeared before the City Planning Commission today with a revised version of its proposed apartment tower on the last piece of open land right on Rittenhouse Square.

Preservationists will be pleased with one of the two biggest revisions the company made to its proposal, and for those who’ve longed to live on Rittenhouse Square but simply don’t have the scratch, the second is a dream come true.

Plan Philly reports that at today’s Planning Commission meeting, the company presented a proposal that preserves both the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop and the Warwick Apartments, both of which had been slated to fall to the wrecking ball in earlier versions of the project. Both of those buildings will be rehabbed to provide affordable housing units, and the tower itself will contain at least eight more below-market-rate apartments. Read more »

Neighborly in Narberth for $659K

5 Langdon Ln., Narberth, Pa. 19072 | Photos: John Badalamenti via Julie O’Malley, BHHS Fox & Roach

If there’s one word that could be said to describe Narberth better than any other, it’s “neighborly.” Residents adore its small-town feel and down-home charm.

And in a town that’s full of down-home charm, there are few homes that get down more than this handsome stone Colonial on a cul-de-sac in the borough’s northern reaches.

If you go to tour the place in person, chances are you may not even make it past the front porch, as you’ll be sorely tempted to just have the agent go pour you a tall glass of iced tea or make your favorite cocktail and then just sit there with you in the coolness of your outdoor front room. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: 6300 City Avenue

6300 City Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19151 | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise indicated

I have a confession to make: even though they usually lack such amenities as balconies or gyms or community rooms, I think that apartment buildings built in the 1920s are the nicest around. They usually have large, sunny rooms and character newer units just don’t have.

But along with those large, sunny rooms come cramped kitchens and outdated bathrooms. And so it was with pleasure that I accepted an invitation from Timothy Garrity at Copper Hill Real Estate to take a tour of work nearing completion on City Avenue at 63rd Street, just across from Overbrook Regional Rail station.

6300 City Ave., also known as Wynnewood Hall, is an English Gothic Revival apartment house dating to the early 1920s. An affiliate of Dempsey Development and Brokerage called 6300 City Line DP Partners LP bought the building and the parking lot next to it from St. Joseph’s University in March of last year for $3.25 million, according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Read more »

Philly’s Amenity-Packed Super-Luxe Condo Market

A rendering of 500 Walnut’s 4,000-square-foot treetop terrace. Courtesy of Cecil Baker & Partners/ Scannapieco Development Corp

After years in Bryn Mawr, Wharton professor Peter Fader and his wife were ready to move to the city. But instead of settling for typical Philly luxury — an apartment in a Rittenhouse Square high-rise or a Delancey Street townhouse with a postage-stamp courtyard, two options that have cornered the city’s high-end market for the past few decades — they chose to buy into One Riverside, Dranoff Properties’ shiny new Fitler Square tower. And they’re not alone: The building was 80 percent sold before opening.

Their choice signals a new type of luxury living in Philly. Almost a decade after the recession, Philly’s super-luxe market is more than back — it’s got a whole new look thanks to amenity-packed Manhattan-esque condo towers like One Riverside and Scannapieco Development’s 500 Walnut, projects that are redefining how the one percent live in our city. Read more »

Funding Secured for Penn’s Landing Makeover

The new park and civic space for which funding has been secured is part of a larger overall vision for transforming the central Delaware riverfront. | Renderings: Hargreaves Associates and redsquare unless otherwise indicated, via Delaware River Waterfront CorporationThat huge new lawn intended to suture the gash separating Old City from the Delaware riverfront is a go.

At a noontime news conference at Penn’s Landing, Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney, and Janet Haas of the William Penn Foundation announced that together they have committed all but $10 million of the $225 million needed to build a new park and civic space between Chestnut and Walnut streets from Front Street to the water’s edge and a new signature pedestrian bridge across Columbus Boulevard at South Street.

The William Penn Foundation also announced at the news conference that it would help the city, the Commonwealth and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) obtain the last $10 million needed to finish the job. Read more »

The National’s Rebirth Officially Begins Friday

The new National mixed-use apartment/retail building in Old City. | Rendering: Barton Partners via The Buccini/Pollin Group

A little more than a year ago, as it was being demolished, the old National Products Company Building on North Second Street in Old City got a thorough going-over from Bradley Maule at Hidden City, who noted that whatever else happened, the bright-orange-tile Midcentury Modern facade that made the building worth saving would be preserved and restored.

The only difference between Maule’s description of how that would happen then and what will happen starting Friday, June 9th, is that the people in charge of the reconstruction project have changed. Replacing Glenside-based Dale Corporation is the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), a Wilmington-based developer of multifamily housing, office buildings and mixed-use projects, including Talen Energy Stadium (nee PPL Park), the home of the Philadelphia Union soccer team on the Chester waterfront. Read more »

Philly Ranked Fifth Most Walkable City in U.S. This Year

All of Center City’s neighborhoods, from the Avenue of the Arts on down, are “Walker’s Paradises,” contributing to the city’s continued ranking among the five most walkable cities in the U.S. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

A mere two-tenths of a point dropped Philadelphia from its perch as the nation’s fourth-most-walkable city in this year’s Walk Score rankings of American cities.

Miami traded places with Philadelphia to become the No. 4 most walkable city in the U.S. on this year’s list. But no one should lament this development, for what it means is merely that cities all across America continue to up their walkability game.

A news release from Walk Score parent Redfin noted that once again, all of the 10 most walkable cities had higher Walk Scores than they did last year, and of the top 50, only Omaha saw its Walk Score fall (by a mere 0.3 point). Philadelphia’s Walk Score of 79 was 0.7 points above its showing last year, but Miami posted an even stronger gain of one full point to 79.2, putting it in fourth place and Philly in fifth. Read more »

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