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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Main Line Monday: Yep, This Lower Merion Charmer Went For the Floor Layout Switch

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

Well, looky here! Is this a thing with Main Line homes we weren’t aware of? Sure, we’ve seen new constructions try out this layout switch before, but rarely have we spotted this in an older residence. In any case, we kind of like it: this circa 1900 Lower Merion home has its living area and kitchen on the second level, while three of its four bedrooms on the main floor.

Not to worry, though. Its old and new features have been commingled in such a way that deem it a charmer through and through. For example, though renovated in 2011, the historic home managed to keep its original hardwood floors and its entrance hall boasts Old World wainscoting. Upstairs, the main living area offers cathedral and beamed ceilings, recessed lighting, and a kitchen with concrete counter tops and built-in cabinetry refrigerator.

But the apple of our eye? There’s a plank wood wall made of reclaimed barn wood in the family area and the master suite – also on this level – appears to have a similar feature.

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New Narberth Avenue Bridge to Feature Site-Specific Art Installations

The artistic element will be installed in the long yellow strip | Design: VSBA/Narberth Borough

The artistic element will be installed in the long yellow strip | Design: VSBA/Narberth Borough

Narberth Borough has put out a request for qualification (RFQ) for “an artist to create a site-specific, integrated artistic enhancement in conjunction with the construction of the new Narberth Avenue bridge,” according to its website.

The bridge has reached the end of its useful life and to show how important the look of this span is to the borough, they’ve brought in Venturi Scott Brown (VSBA) to assist Pennoni Engineers in its design. “We envisioned the bridge both as a connector between the downtown and residential neighborhood and as a gateway between them — as well as an opportunity to enhance the borough’s identity,” according to the project description on VSBA’s website.

On top of that, Narberth wants this project to stand out and harken back to a time when infrastructure projects were a big deal:

“The hope is that the project can draw inspiration from the time when infrastructure was a matter of civic pride and when ornamentation was considered an integral part of building projects, to commemorate or communicate important civic concepts or narratives.”

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City House of the Week: Delancey Street Manse (Quite Literally) Stands Out

All images by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach-Narberth

All images by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach-Narberth

It’s a bold statement, but this might just be the the pinnacle of highbrow listings on Delancey Street. Hear us out.

First and foremost, look at it. Architecturally speaking, this might be the most unique property on a block chock-full of gorgeous and historic homes. The curved brick facade quite literally stands out from the rest, and that’s without even mentioning its dramatic center hall entry (the only one on the block) and iron balcony. It also dates back to circa 1861, so we’ve got a true timeless classic on our hands. Read more »

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