Dranoff Celebrates Topping-Off of One Riverside

The beam guests signed at the ceremony may be purely symbolic, as One Riverside's frame is largely complete, but it symbolizes years of planning and construction as well as the last piece in the transformation of the Schuylkill riverbank from dump to jewel. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The beam guests signed at the ceremony may be purely symbolic, as One Riverside’s frame is largely concrete, but it symbolizes years of planning and construction as well as the completion of last piece in the transformation of the Schuylkill’s east bank from dump to jewel. | Photos: Sandy Smith

As joggers, dog owners, bicyclists, kids and their parents enjoyed the balmy weather down at street level in Schuylkill River Park yesterday evening (May 25), eight floors up, invited guests, local politicians and some very happy future residents basked in the temporary air conditioning as they joined developer Carl Dranoff and architect Cecil Baker at a “park in the sky” for the ceremonial topping-off of Dranoff’s One Riverside apartment tower.

Guests signed a ceremonial beam on their way to the construction lifts and mingled to the music of the Philadelphia String Quartet before and after Dranoff, Baker and the electeds spoke.

In his remarks to the assembled guests, Dranoff showered praise on all the parties involved in bringing the project to fruition. “It took hard work and three years of planning and construction under pretty intense conditions to transform our vision from blueprints into a stunning addition to our skyline.” Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Double Feature in Chestnut Hill

208-10 Rex Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty

208-10 Rex Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s not too often that you run across a house with a split personality. A person with that character trait might be sent to a therapist, but when you run across it in a house, it opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Architect H. Louis Duhring evidently saw that in this 1860s Italianate Victorian summer home in Chestnut Hill. In the 1920s, he bought this house and added onto it a four-story wing in the Arts and Crafts style in the rear. The result is a super-spacious home, currently divided into three residences, that offers multiple opportunities for its owner, including the prospect of adding additional income property on its site. Read more »

Good News for Philly Starter Home Buyers

The latest data from Zillow show rising inventory with only modest price gains, which is great news for those just getting started as homeowners.

According to the latest national figures from Zillow, things are getting tougher for first-time home buyers across the country: inventories of homes for sale are falling and prices are heading upward.

At least on the inventory front, that’s not the case in Philadelphia.

Zillow’s April Market Report shows that while the inventory of homes for sale in the bottom third of the real estate market is down 7.8 percent from year-ago levels nationwide, inventory of entry-level homes in Philadelphia increased by 2.3 percent in the same period. Read more »

Ground Broken for New Apartments in Chalfont

Second Empire once removed: The design of the new Patriot Station at Chalfont could be a kissing cousin of Philadelphia City Hall. | Rendering: Courtesy J.G. Petrucci Company

Second Empire once removed: The design of the new Patriot Station at Chalfont could be a kissing cousin of Philadelphia City Hall. | Rendering: Courtesy J.G. Petrucci Company

Chalfont’s historic town center is about to get its first new building in several years. When it’s finished, however, it will be hard to distinguish from the ones that have been standing since the mid- to late 19th century.

That’s because Patriot Station at Chalfont, for which ground was broken yesterday (May 23rd), is designed to match the Victorian architecture of many Chalfont buildings, including the one it’s replacing. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: A Cool Pad in Manayunk

4529 St. Davids St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19127 |TREND Images via Keller Williams Blue Bell Realty

4529 St. Davids St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19127 |TREND Images via Keller Williams Blue Bell Realty

Trinity homes all predate the era of modern climate control; the first residential air conditioning systems were developed in the 1920s, right around the time this cute trinity just up the hill from Manayunk’s Main Street was built. No builder in Philadelphia at that time would have installed the new technology in such a modest home.

But that was then, and this is now. City building codes and consumer preferences require air conditioning in all new construction. And while it need not be installed in an existing home that’s being renovated or rebuilt, the owner of this home decided to throw it in anyway when it got a top-to-bottom makeover a short while ago. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The View of 500 Walnut

Architects attending last weekend's AIA convention get a hard hat tour at one remove of the 500 Walnut construction site. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Architects attending last weekend’s AIA convention get a hard hat tour at one remove of the 500 Walnut construction site. | Photos: Sandy Smith

There’s luxury high-rise living, and then there’s luxury high-rise living.

The first kind offers you space where the builder has done the heavy lifting and lets you outfit it from a range of high-end accoutrements; you can supply the interior designer to give it some of your own personality.

Tom Scannapieco specializes in the second kind, the kind where you shape the entire space from the layout to the details to suit your desires. This style of development has redefined the upper end of the luxury market in Philadelphia, and last Thursday, he explained how he raised the bar to a group of architects in town for the American Institute of Architects convention, who also got to see his latest ultra-luxury project as it rises from the ground. Read more »

Main Line Monday: A Real Sanctuary in Narberth

200 Price Ave. # ELM 5, Narberth, Pa. 19072 | TREND Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

200 Price Ave. # ELM 5, Narberth, Pa. 19072 | TREND Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

One of the most sensitively executed adaptive reuse projects on the Main Line is now complete, and as a result, you now have the opportunity to live in a condo like no other in one of the Main Line’s most walkable, family-friendly communities.

This top-of-the-line unit at is the result of Main Line reBuild’s conversion of Alexander Mackie Adams’ 1929 United Methodist Church of Narberth into Elm Hall at Narberth Place, with six distinctive condominium units. This one, Unit 5, occupies part of the church sanctuary, which means you get some fabulous architectural elements built right in along with the modern conveniences you might expect. Read more »

Great Park(ing) Spaces Pop Up at AIA Convention

"Lean back," the chalk instruction advised visitors to At Media's Jury Award-winning parklet. And they did. |Photos: Sandy Smith

“Lean back,” the chalk instruction advised visitors to At Media’s Jury Award-winning parklet. And they did. |Photos: Sandy Smith

“Imagine.”

That’s the theme of this year’s American Institute of Architects convention in Philadelphia.

But imagine what?

Seven local architects, designers and firms that work closely with architects and builders each had their own answer to that question yesterday when they competed for a jury prize and public favor at Day One of the two-day Saint-Gobain Parklet Design Competition.

Regrettably, each of those two competitions gave out only one award, and there was enough variety and creativity in the entries that just about all of them deserved a “best” award of some sort. So I’ll make up some: Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: Great Room in North Wales

106 White Tower Lane, North Wales, Pa. 19454 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

106 White Tower Lane, North Wales, Pa. 19454 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

“Were you raised in a barn?”

Your kids might answer this question literally if they grow up in this huge former barn in North Wales.

Built in 1841, the structure has been converted into a one-of-a-kind home that offers totally modern comfort, room for expansion and a heaping helping of vintage character. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The View From Vue32

Architect's rendering of Vue32 in the context of its surroundings | Rendering by Erdy McHenry Architecture courtesy Cashman & Associates

Architect’s rendering of Vue32 in the context of its surroundings | Rendering by Erdy McHenry Architecture courtesy Cashman & Associates

Ground was ceremonially broken one week ago for Vue32, the new apartment tower Radnor Property Group (RPG) is building and will manage for Drexel University at 32nd and Race streets. But a recent hard-hat tour of the site reveals that work on the foundation and substructure is well under way.

RPG President David Yeager led us on a hard-hat tour of the construction site and explained why the slender 16-story tower looks the way it does and how all the pieces of the project, which also includes a row of townhouses, fell into place.

Yeager worked with Drexel President John Fry on a series of redevelopment projects on and around the Franklin & Marshall College campus in Lancaster, and now that he’s back in Philly, Fry has turned to Yeager and his company again to help him carry out Drexel’s master campus plan. The Vue32 project advances two key elements of it: reducing the pressure on off-campus housing in Powelton Village by providing more apartments for members of the Drexel community and promoting homeownership by Drexel faculty and staff in the neighborhood as well. Read more »

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