Five Amazing Pope Rentals Available in Philly Right Now

Clockwise: Craigslist, BHHS Fox & Roach, Postlets, Craigslist | Pope Francis photo by Jeffrey Bruno via Flickr

Clockwise: Craigslist, BHHS Fox & Roach, Postlets, Craigslist | Pope Francis photo by Jeffrey Bruno via Flickr

If you’re reading this, we can only assume you’ll be visiting Philadelphia around the time Pope Francis makes his way to town. Glad you could make it! Because while you could always choose to camp out with these folks instead of taking up in some cliché high-rise hotel room, we think the following city rentals (i.e. lovely local homes hand-picked by us) are worth a look.

Oh, and if you’re not an out-of-towner reading this… shoo! Go off and take a break from all the Popeadelphia madness! (But if you must stay, take these rentals as examples for how to go about renting your place for the Pope’s Philly visit.)
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What Would You Do with This Massive Kennett Square Estate?

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

We don’t know what to do with this eight-plus-acre estate in Kennett Square.

Rest assured, it’s not its acreage that’s left us puzzled – though, admittedly, its park-like grounds do give the impression of being more vast than they are since the property is surrounded by conservancy land – because we’ve seen plenty of homes sitting on similarly sized, if not larger, plots of land. Rather, it’s the custom-built mansion, which at nearly 19,000 square feet has us wondering just what the heck does one do with all that space?

Don’t get us wrong – it’s gorgeous. Luxury details abound, interior stone walls, and Brazilian cherry and oak flooring throughout…just who wouldn’t revel in a home like that?  Take for instance the two recreation spaces present in the seven-bedroom home: one on the second level, the other encompassing the entire lower level. Then there’s the two-story guest wing. Guest wing!

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An Inside Look at the New Presidential City Apartments

The Washington Building at Presidential City | All Photos by HughE Dillon

The Washington Building at Presidential City | All Photos by HughE Dillon

If you tend to travel (or sit in traffic) on the Schuylkill Expressway, there is no doubt you’ve seen the transformation of the musty Presidential apartment complex that towers over the highway at City Avenue.

The project by Post Brothers–dubbed Presidential City–is quite massive. Four hulking, 12-story buildings are being re-skinned on the outside and getting a luxurious overhaul within. The complex will boast an outdoor pool club and amenity space–free for residents–that CEO and co-founder Michael Pestronk told us will be “really world class.” It all comes together in a tasteful rebirth of a 1950’s-era development by an iconic Philadelphia builder, John McShain. Known as “The Man Who Built Washington,” McShain’s work includes the Pentagon, the Jefferson Memorial and the Kennedy Center (to name a few). Oh yeah, the cost of the project is expected to by $100 million, when all is said and done.

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Divine Lorraine Moves One Step Closer

North Broad Street | Photos: James Jennings

North Broad Street in April 2015| Photos: James Jennings

Brace yourselves, folks. News regarding the Divine Lorraine is going to come fast and furious until the “groundbreaking” event takes place, hopefully sometime in August. Think of it as Property’s version of “Pope Watch.”

On Tuesday, developer Eric Blumenfeld went before the Architectural Committee of the Historical Commission to present the plans for the historic renovation that’s about to take place at the Grand Old Dame of North Broad Street. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the committee voted to approve the overall plans for the project, but had a few suggestions for the man at the center of North Broad’s revival.

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The East Passyunk Avenue Gateway is Coming Along Nicely (Photos)

The East Passyunk Avenue Gateway | Photo: James Jennings

The East Passyunk Avenue Gateway | Photo: James Jennings

The new plaza at the wonky intersection where East Passyunk Avenue meets Broad and McKean streets is coming together quite nicely. The construction fence has recently come down and a few benches, plantings and even the metal pavilion have been installed on the triangular public space.

Sam Sherman, executive director of Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC), told us that the plaza is still very much in progress, but it’s getting there. More street furniture–namely tables and benches–is set to be installed this week.High-tech lighting will play a major placemaking role in the new plaza.

A heavy duty steel pole still needs to be installed and it will eventually project colored lights on the ground and on the McKean Street side of the adjacent Citizens Bank. The LED lights have already been affixed to the pavilion and the benches will get LED treatments as well. Sherman also said that lighting will be able to be projected onto the clouds, much like you see at a movie premiere, and really stamp home the fact that this will be the gateway to East Passyunk Avenue and all it has to offer. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to see it from Center City,” Sherman added. The whole she-bang will be computer controlled and the patterns and colors can be changed for seasonal usage and events.

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Up, Up, Up!: The Latest Housing Report for Bucks County

On the heels of a BHHS HomExpert report that saw an increase in Philadelphia home sales within the first six months of the year comes a new set of findings, this time from one of Philly’s surrounding counties: Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS have released their Market Research from TREND MLS Data in Bucks County.

The takeaways? For one thing, Bucks has seen a 3.8 percent hike in its inventory unit levels, meaning that compared to June of last year, this past June saw 169 more homes on sale. CBH REALTORS President Jaime Mancuso attributes this rise to a boost in property sales, according to a press release – emphasis ours:

“Based on the trend lines we’ve seen over the past year, we believe buyers have more choices because of the increased inventory provided by inspired sellers, who have seen that homes on the market are moving quickly in Bucks County. However, unlike what we saw in 2006 and 2007, the market remains healthy because there have not been inflated price increases.”

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Chestnut Hill Firehouse Deemed Historic, New One on the Way

The firehouse is now on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places | via Google Street View

The firehouse is now on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places | via Google Street View

The Philadelphia Historical Commission has decided to historically designate Engine 37 at 101 W. Highland Ave. in Chestnut Hill. The implications of the unanimous vote are actually two-fold, reports Jana Shea of Newsworks.

First and foremost, the facade of oldest active fire house in the city will remain intact. The station dates back to 1894 and was designed by John T. Windrim, whose work also includes the Franklin Institute (among others). Secondly, even with its historic, yet antiquated, charm (i.e. narrow garage doors), the facade will remain as-is and that means Chestnut Hill will be getting a new station fit for the modern needs of fighting fire in its place. Here’s more from Shea on what looks like a major win-win for all parties involved:

Where the future station might be located has yet to be settled, but the [Chestnut Hill Fire House Coalition] believes building a new state-of-the-art facility on an empty lot next to the fire house is the most viable option available … [Coalition member Patricia] Cove says the hope is to keep the existing fire house in use as separate sleeping quarters, kitchen and dining area, plus equipment storage for Engine 37 firefighters.

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Trinity Tuesday: Versatile Rowhome in Philly’s Walker’s Paradise

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

Truth be told (and to dissuade denizens of nearby ‘hoods from lunging at my jugular), almost all the neighborhoods surrounding Center City will fall within WalkScore’s vaunted “Walker’s Paradise” grade. Today, though, we’re going to single out Washington Square West, where this week’s trinity home is located. Its score? Ninety-nine. Damn near perfect (especially if you’d rather do without a car, which might just be something to consider).

Situated directly across from Starr Garden Park, the two-bedroom has easy access to South Street (no lie, it’s literally right behind it) and is a few short blocks from Independence Mall. According to the listing, the house has been expanded and central heat and air conditioning keep it comfortable enough in the face of Philadelphia’s more severe weather.

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Spotted: Three Luxe Townhomes Break Ground at 22nd and Lombard

Rendering courtesy of Philly Living

Rendering courtesy of Philly Living/JKRP Architects

Sure, Philadelphia’s building boom is due in large part to massive developments like 500 Walnut and the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center (just to name a few). But it’s also got a series of smaller projects springing forth that are helping it along. The latest one to break ground? Three luxury townhomes at the corner of 22nd and Lombard.

According to a press release from Philly Living, the residences at 2143-47 Lombard Street are each due to have a full-floor master suite, elevator, finished basement with guest and media rooms, and a full-floor roof deck with beverage cooler, built-in speakers and lighting, and connections for a gas grill. Mmmh, we can already smell the upcoming BBQs…

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Phillies Ace Cole Hamels Sold Newtown Square Home in June

Cole Hamels waves to fans during batting practice before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park on July 22nd.

Cole Hamels waves to fans during batting practice before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park on July 22nd.

Cole Hamels had himself a weekend, huh? After rampant speculation into his future with the Philadelphia Phillies–the organization that drafted him out of high school in 2002–the 2008 World Series MVP further cemented his place in the hearts of fans with a stellar no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. It was his final start before baseball’s July 31 non-wavier trader deadline.

But Property, after all, is a real estate blog, and we have a bit of news concerning Hamels on that front. According to Realtor.com, the lefty sold his home at 1001 Brick House Farm Lane in Newtown Square on June 29 for $1,275,000. Cole and Heidi Hamels originally purchased the Delco home in 2009 for $1,525,000 and later listed it for sale back in June 2014 for $1,650,000. A series of price cuts saw it drop to $1,299,500 on June 26–three days before it ultimately sold.

Before you throw some gasoline on the old baseball hotstove, Hamels actually owned two homes in the same development, and is still listed as the owner of the larger, more expensive one across the street. He still could (and probably will) get traded, but that whole thing where people (and blogs) go berserk when a famous athlete lists or sells their home amid swirling trade winds doesn’t necessarily hold up here.

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