City To Get $30 Million in New Real Estate Tax Revenue

Real estate taxes in Society Hill should rise under revised land assessments announced today by City Controller Alan Butkovitz. Photo: Sikeri | Flickr

Real estate taxes in Society Hill, as well as 35 of the city’s 50 ZIP codes, will likely rise under revised land value assessments announced today by City Controller Alan Butkovitz. Photo: Sikeri | Flickr

The City of Philadelphia is coming into some cash next year. City Controller Alan Butkovitz released his monthly economic report today, in which he reveals that the City’s new property assessments could bring in around $30 million in new real estate tax revenues.

The increase in value is due to the increased assessment of the land portion of 36,778 properties. Real estate taxes will rise on average in 35 of Philadelphia’s 50 ZIP codes. (To name a couple: Center City—$1,013 increase. Northern Liberties—$489.) Taxes will fall on average in 14 and one will see no change. The sum of all these tax adjustments will come out to a net increase in real estate tax revenue of approximately $14 million for the city’s general fund and $17 million for the School District of Philadelphia. Read more »

Main Line Monday: Check Out This Bala Cynwyd Colonial

32 W Lodges Ln, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 19004

32 W. Lodges Lane, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 19004 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

We usually feature ostentatious, extravagant mansions on Main Line Monday. Today, we decided to highlight a more modest house, but a beautiful one nonetheless. This house in Bala Cynwyd is a little more down-to-earth than many we’ve featured here of late. It looks contented, like it knows what it is and isn’t going to try to do anything else. At four bedrooms and 2,279 square feet, it’s simply a nicely sized, charming Colonial. Read more »

That House Out There: How’d This Place Wind Up on This Block?

4620 Kingsessing Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143| Images via Zillow

4620 Kingsessing Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143| Images via Zillow

The 4600 block of Kingsessing Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia—the listing refers to this area as “Cedarhill,” a name we’ve never encountered before—is a tidy block anchored by a church and lined on one side with mostly well-maintained Victorian twins. The partner of the row’s saddest-looking twin, however, went bye-bye some time back.

The good news is: Something’s filled that hole, and the price its builder wants for it suggests that either the neighborhood’s fortunes may be on the rise or the student-housing wave is spreading further southwest.

The not-so-good news is what’s filled the hole. Read more »

Philly Maintains Pace in Walk Score Rankings

East Passyunk Avenue's eclectic collection of shops and restaurants have played a major role in improving their neighborhood's walkability. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

East Passyunk Avenue’s eclectic collection of shops and restaurants have played a major role in improving their neighborhood’s walkability. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

No American city, not even New York, is a “Walker’s Paradise,” according to Walk Score, the outfit that rates communities according to how easy it is to access places on foot (and by bike and transit).

But nine of the top 10, including No. 4 Philadelphia, are rated “Very Walkable” by Walk Score.

New York, as always, topped the walkability ratings with a Walk Score of 89 – just shy of “Walker’s Paradise” status. In a “Walker’s Paradise,” daily errands do not require a car to perform them. Most errands can be performed without one in “Very Walkable” neighborhoods. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Mind-Blowing Estate in New Hope

3220 Windy Bush Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938

3220 Windy Bush Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938| Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

We’ve shown a lot of crazy homes on Property with our weekly posts—there have been huge mansions, tiny trinities and everything in between. This property might be the wildest one, though, and it’s not even because of the house.

If you look at the price and the square footage, you’ll notice a disconnect. The house has 3,823 square feet of interior space, which is certainly a really well-sized house, but it wouldn’t usually call for a $10,000,000 price tag. Well, the reason it’s so expensive is because this farmhouse in New Hope sits on 190 acres of land. Yes, you read that correctly.

One hundred and ninety acres. Read more »

That House Out There: A Home Fit for an Architect in Chestnut Hill

7620 Lincoln Dr., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | Images courtesy The Sivel Group

7620 Lincoln Dr., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | Images courtesy The Sivel Group

Usually, the presence of the word “charming” in a real estate listing is a code word for “small.” But we can’t think of a better term to describe this one-of-a-kind Arts & Crafts home in the St. Martins section of Chestnut Hill.

After all, the Arts & Crafts movement celebrated the charm of artisanship, and there’s plenty of that in evidence in this home, built in 1913 by architect Robert McGoodwin as his personal residence. But as its copious use of stone should indicate, it was built to be a home of substance and character as well as one of charm. Read more »

CCD Releases 2016 State of Center City Report

Repeat after us: Things continue to get better on the whole in Center City. But the city's anemic performance on employment growth keeps it from achieving its full potential and contributes to the city's persistently high poverty rate as well. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

Repeat after us: Things continue to get better on the whole in Center City. But the city’s anemic performance on employment growth keeps it from achieving its full potential and contributes to the city’s persistently high poverty rate as well. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

It’s become something of a mantra each spring when the Center City District releases its annual “State of Center City” report at its quarterly meeting at the Union League:

CCD President Paul Levy rattles off a bunch of statistics that show robust growth on a number of fronts all over Center City: Residential construction, hospitality and tourism stats, patronage at arts and culture venues, the strength of the eds-and-meds sector, commercial office space absorption, you name it.

Then he gets to the part about office employment and overall job growth and puts up a huge asterisk.

So it was this year. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Elegance in Elkins Park

The entrance hall at 429 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park, Pa. 19027

The entrance hall at 429 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park, Pa. 19027 | Images courtesy The Sivel Group

Ornate. Elegant. Luxurious. These are the words that come to mind when looking at this week’s Jawdropper, “Sylvan Edge,” a Georgian Revival mansion in Elkins Park.

Some houses are large mansions that aim for a casual, lived-in look. This house is a large mansion that aims for a regal look. Everything about it, from the high-gated entrance to the marble floors to the French Empire style chandeliers, evokes a sense of old-fashioned opulence. Read more »

ZBA Wants Time to Digest Blatstein Proposal

The Civic Design Review panel was as critical of Bart Blatstein's revised proposal as its neighbors have been of the original. Perhaps he should go back to the drawing board? | Rendering: Cope Linder Architects

So far, no one’s been happy with Bart Blatstein’s 1001 South Broad proposal. The developer gave the ZBA so much material that it wants two weeks to mull it all over. | Rendering: Cope Linder Architects

Bart Blatstein will have to wait two more weeks to find out whether he has permission to pursue his vision for a rooftop retail village and 32-story apartment tower with garage parking for 600 cars on a long-vacant lot at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, at the southwest corner of Hawthorne. The zoning board opted to hold a decision on the project while it considers the “excessive information” presented at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Blatstein is seeking two special exceptions from the zoning code to build 1,000 apartments and 625 parking spaces on the lot. At the hearing, community members objected to the project over a host of concerns, while zoning board chairman Jim Moylan tried to limit their comments to the two issues before the board: the above-ground parking garage and the retail uses on the roof deck. Steve Cobb, a lawyer in Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office, also testified that Johnson is opposed to the project in its current form. Read more »

5 Cool Homes Near Circuit Trails

The Schuylkill River Trail in Montgomery County, part of the Circuit trail network. | Photo by Flickr user Montgomery County Planning Association

The Schuylkill River Trail in Montgomery County, part of the Circuit trail network. | Photo by Flickr user Montgomery County Planning Association

As we reported last week, developers and homeowners are finding that having a bike/hike trail near their property is a bankable amenity.

That’s because, as a recent Urban Land Institute report documented, “active transportation” facilities increase the value of properties adjacent to them.

One of the most extensive such active transportation networks is The Circuit, an evolving 750-mile network of dedicated bike and hiking trails spanning the nine-county Greater Philadelphia region. The ULI report featured it as an example of transformative transportation facilities.

If you are in the market for a new home, you might want to consider one of these homes currently on the market if you’d like to have the option of commuting by bike or just want to have better recreation options nearby: Read more »

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