The Best Halloween Costumes for Urban Planners: Philly Edition

Photo credit (vacant building): pwbaker via Flickr. Photo credit (zombie): Nathan Rupert via Flickr.

Photo credit: pwbaker via Flickr (vacant building) and Nathan Rupert via Flickr (zombie).

On the heels of the architect costume ideas we told you about, we thought it only fair to show you Halloween guises aimed at urban planners. Planetizin has complied four lists of over 30 potential costumes, but we narrowed it down to five and added suggestions for how to Philly-fy them. Below, our picks:

Bike Lane — Black clothes, white tape, maybe throw in a helmet. No one will be expecting this, but with the topic of bike lanes gaining major traction in the city recently, it’s sure to earn a comment or two from bike lovers and haters alike.

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Lament for Little Pete’s

Little Pete's interior view via Google Street View

Little Pete’s interior view via Google Street View

As we noted before, Little Pete’s may be torn down to make way for a luxury hotel. I say “may” because hotels have a way of not happening here. Take the W, if you will, which for years, has been promised but not realized. Or the supposed hotel boom that would result from the completion of the Convention Center. I believe the yield has been two hotels, while the only building that was spared from the wrecking ball for the Convention Center still stands empty. Center City has vacant lots waiting for a magic touch (looking at you, 19th and Walnut).

Some hotels are stalwarts, the Warwick among them. Now part of the Radisson family, it’s directly across the street from what could be a Hudson hotel designed by DHS should things by Mystery Developer go according to plan. Why narrow 17th Street needs another hotel is not clear to me, but what is clear is that getting rid of Little Pete’s changes the tenor and character of Center City in a way that’s inevitable, but also sad.

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Morning Headlines: The Gallery Could Get City Funding


During a conference call this past Wednesday, PREIT president Joseph F. Coradino alluded to a possible contribution from City Council that would go into renovating parts of the Gallery. The Inquirer’s David Sell has the statement:

“We’re poised to deliver a world-class project. Our discussion with the public sector continues to progress with the expectation that City Council will consider a public financing package in December and ratify it in early 2015. As this process unfolds, we intend to update you on our vision, scope, schedule, and returns.”

Sell reports that a Thursday call to Council President Darrell Clarke’s spokeswoman about the news hit a dead end as she was “unaware of such plans for Council consideration.”

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Little Pete’s to Meet the Wrecking Ball?

Photo |

Photo |

Little Pete’s, the Center City diner whose old-fashioned ways made it a beloved gathering place for downtown workers, late-night hipsters, and visiting politicians, is expected to meet the wrecking ball soon in order to make way for a 300-room hotel.
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This Center City Condo Is Going For $70,000

1324 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

1324 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

A mere block from the Avenue of the Arts, you’d think this studio condo on Locust Street would be asking for a bit more. After all, the unit is in the Arts Condominium building, which offers its tenants bicycle parking, fitness center, community room, and on-site laundry facilities.

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Philly Named Best City to Be…a Vampire?

Philadelphia may be included on many top cities lists, but having the no.1 spot for this was unexpected. Redfin published its findings this week, using data that included which towns had the highest average number of cloudy days, blood drives, and the longest bar/club hours (hey, vamps need entertainment too!).

They also looked at which cities had been ranked as having the most homes for sale near cemeteries because, quote, “vampires wouldn’t want to travel too far to get from their home to their coffin when the day breaks.” Of course they wouldn’t.

Here’s how Philly scored: Read more »

Gladwyne Commons With Church Conversion Is a Go

The interior of Gladwyne Methodist Church, soon to be converted to residential space.

The interior of Gladwyne Methodist Church, soon to be converted to residential space.

Main Line reBUILD has secured approval from Lower Merion Township—in a unanimous 12-0 vote—to move forward with the development of 310-324 Righters Mill Road. The hearing officers were impressed by the company’s ability to balance preservationist concerns with contemporary neighborhood priorities, including parking and the maintenance of the old structures. They even quoted John Keats when referring to reBUILD’s plans, and for a company specializing in adaptive reuse, you can’t do better than that.

The project includes the conversion of the circa-1842 Gladwyne Methodist Church, the church parsonage and the adjacent Odd Fellows Hall into rather luxurious residential space. To wit:

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On the Market: Lovely Victorian in Art Museum Area

833 N Woodstock St, Philadelphia, PA, 19130

833 N Woodstock St, Philadelphia, PA, 19130

In addition to having retained its original moldings, wood floors, and entry hall bannister, this Woodstock Street residence has also managed to keep a built-in armoire in the main bedroom. Not too bad for a restored home built circa 1882.

The master bedroom also boasts exposed wood beams, built-in bookcases, and an expansive walk-in closet and laundry room. A beamed ceiling also hangs over the remodeled eat-in kitchen, which includes such details as butcher block countertops, double sinks and a new refrigerator. Additional custom shelving is in the home library/family room.

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Best Explanation Yet of What the Heck An Earthship Is


Photo of earthship in Taos, New Mexico by Biodiesel33 via Wikimedia Commons

For reasons I don’t comprehend, Philebrity writes that Tony Lawton, who you’ll meet in the video below, looks like “he’s relocating to his Earthship from his car.” As far as I can see, he’s just a human being in a gray t-shirt. It’s not like he has dreadlocks and a huge beard with food stuck in it. Would a suit and tie have been better? At any rate, whether you like his appearance or not, his presentation — part of an indiegogo campaign that’ll further the Earthship Philadelphia movement — is the first lucid, 101 explanation we’ve heard from Earthship advocates here of exactly what an Earthship is, how it came about, what materials are used, how it works, and how it could be used in this city. (You could probably learn a good deal more at this workshop, but it’ll cost you $25-$50.)

Oh, and FYI Philebs: trying to create sustainable, affordable housing that will, in part, serve the homeless population isn’t “hippie” stuff, even when Crosby Stills & Nash plays in the background of a video about it. It’s 2014. Everyone’s pretty much onboard with this saving-the-planet business.

Video below. Read more »

Morning Headlines: Residents to Protest Dranoff Development

Logo for One Ardmore Place, Carl Dranoff's new mixed-use development. Courtesy Dranoff Properties.

Carl Dranoff’s mixed-use tower on Cricket Avenue in Ardmore has been in the works for a very long time, but it still doesn’t sit well with some community members, who will hold a protest in front of the Lower Merion Township building on Saturday. From

Critics say the project, One Ardmore Place, would not jibe with the mom-and-pop character of downtown Ardmore, bringing more density and traffic, and more burden to the schools….

Dranoff Properties says the building will bring $100 million in economic stimulus and create a more vibrant downtown.

Montco protest planned for Ardmore project  

More headlines, this way…

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