Choose Your Own Adventure (And Address) in Rittenhouse Square

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Option A: You buy a 960 square foot retail space at 1614 Spruce Street which may or may not continue as Margarita’s Beauty Salon. Option B: You purchase a five-bedroom home with private garage parking and a jaw-dropping roofdeck at 304 S. Smedley. Option C: You wind up with A and B because they both comprise the same property. Whomever buys this Rittenhouse Square mixed-use property will have some decisions to make.

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For Sale: Chestnut Hill’s Stonecliffe Has Arcaded Living Area

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If Theophilus P. Chandler were of this generation, he would be what we call “a game-changer.” Unfortunately, he died in 1928. But as founder and president of the American Institute of Architect’s Philadelphia chapter and founder and director of the University of Penn’s Department of Architecture, Chandler was a significant force who elevated the role of architecture in the city’s psyche during the late 1800s.
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Morning Headlines: Building Set For Groundbreaking at Navy Yard Tomorrow

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Photo credit: NavyYard.org

As part of the Navy Yard Master Plan, Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners are developing the Commerce Center, a 75-acre site set to include three multi-tenant flex space buildings, all of which are already fully leased. One of the properties is set for groundbreaking tomorrow.

Natalie Kostelni from the Philadelphia Business Journal reports on the tenants of the new 75,000-square-foot space located at 4000 S. 26th Street:
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Splendiferous Interior: Restored Carriage House in Bella Vista

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Among the charms of living in this greene country towne you can count streets nearly narrow enough to touch both sides simultaneously and the occasional carriage house remaining in a row of homes. This darling property on Kater boasts both and also includes a garage big enough for three-car piggyback parking in case you need a little more than colonial delights.

Above the cavernous garage is a loft-like living space with with exposed bricks, refinished pine floors and high wood-beam ceilings. The space has two large skylights and several windows that help break it up into separate areas. The single bathroom features a custom industrial sink and a very cool restored door. The kitchen is situated in the middle, open to the living and dining areas. And there is a wall of closets for the sleeping area in the back.

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Build a Custom Condo Overlooking Independence Hall

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The luxury will come at a cost – this property is listed at a cool $5 million – but it’s about time that city residents are offered the same perk so many hotel guests regularly receive: a direct view of Independence Hall. Adjacent (and connected) to the Omni Hotel, The Bank Building was built in 1857 to serve as the headquarters of the Philadelphia National Bank. What once stood as Banker’s Row is now a boutique condo building combining 19th century grandeur with the Omni’s concierge-level services.

This property is listed as raw space, which means the buyer will be on the hook for construction costs, but the buyer will also be free to customize the home to his or her exact specifications. A pretty rare deal for such new construction among history. As it stands now, the space includes high ceilings, exposed brick walls, wall-sized windows and a private wrap-around terrace with Chestnut Street and Center City skyline views.

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Morning Headlines: Center City Office Rental Rates Below National Average

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Every year the Center City District releases a “State of Center City” report. What did we learn this time around? It may not be doing as well as one would hope.
According to the Inquirer’s Chris Hepp, the report says Center City is “showing signs of distress” for…well, a bunch of reasons. What caught our attention was the issue of office rental rates, which shows that while Center City’s population has been increasing over time, office rental rates are still below the national average. What’s this mean exactly? Just the area’s inability bring in new employers, in direct contrast to other cities and even the suburbs.

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Malvern’s Most Earth-Friendly Cedar Mansion

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This Lindal Cedar home on Conestoga Road is about as green as it gets — and in some intriguing ways. For instance, the railings are made, in part, of the pipes and wood from a 400-year-old church organ. And recovered iron from the very historic Morris Steel Company was used as a building material.

As is obvious from all those windows, the home is optimized for solar panels, but the sun will heat and light things even without. The listing also notes “radiant flooring to optimize expenses in the basement” and “European designed AC high velocity delivery” as well as seven ceiling fans and a fireplace on every floor.

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What Becomes of an Empty Frat House?

penn-frat-houseIn late November 2012, Penn’s Skulls, or Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, moved out of its on-campus house after losing its charter due to a death at one of its parties. Now, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports, the corporation of Skulls alumni that owns the house and the university are finally discussing its future use.

The fraternity wants to come back to campus, the executive director of its international organization told the paper, but won’t start talks with the college until 2015. (The university’s director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life said that Greek organizations often have to wait four to six years before they can “recolonize.”) And PKS likely wouldn’t move back into the house until a few years after that.

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