Broad Street Garage to be Replaced by ‘Upscale’ Hotel from Choice Hotels?

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

It looks as though Center City is going to have another hotel project on its hands in the not-too-distant future, and it’s front and center on the Avenue of the Arts.

A recent press release from Choice Hotels says it has signed an agreement with “franchise partner Pearl Properties … to develop a new Cambria hotel & suites in Philadelphia, PA.” The planned location? You guessed it (or read the sub-headline), it’s the corner of Broad and Locust, where owner Pearl Properties is in the process of demolishing the former parking garage. The Cambria is set to feature 206 rooms and is expected to be completed in 2017.

Back in August, we put you on to a plumbing permit that signaled the demise of the rundown garage. At the time, a representative from ParkAmerica, its former operator, told us that he had heard the building was to be taken down “brick-by-brick” sometime after Pope Francis left town in September or October. Though a representative from Pearl Properties couldn’t be reached about the project, the press release states it in plain terms, and confirms some rumors we’d been hearing for some time now–yet another hotel is being touted for South Broad Street.

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Main Line Monday: Adorable Starter Home in Narberth Asks Under $400,000

TREND Images via Duffy Real Estate Inc

We’re switching gears for this edition of Main Line Monday. Sure, we often feature palatial estates that offer all kinds of amenities, but there’s a decidedly different home in Narberth that caught our house-huntin’ eyes. We’ll blame it on the fire-engine-red shutters.

For just under $400,000, the picturesque starer home has a lot to offer, including a great location that’s just a short walk to nearby Narberth Playground and the Narberth regional rail station.

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Up, Up, in a Crane: What Life is Like as a Tower Crane Operator

This is the office for a tower crane operator. | Photos: James Jennings

With upwards of 20 tower cranes dotting the Philadelphia skyline these days, you’d be forgiven if you sometimes caught yourself daydreaming about what life is like in one of those bubbles that float high above the city. I definitely do.

After all, with mega projects under construction alongside the Ben Franklin Bridge, up and down the Schuylkill River and right in the center of it all at the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, tower crane operators have a view unlike any other, day in and day out.

I recently met with the team over at One Riverside, including operating engineer Joel Crooks of Madison Concrete Construction; Andrew O’Donnell, project manager at INTECH; and developer Carl Dranoff, to not only talk about the many intricacies and rigors of the job, of which there are many, but also to take the chance to make the 200-foot ascent up the tower and experience first hand the exhilaration of getting into the cab of the crane.

What I learned was eye opening, and what I saw was simply breathtaking.

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Early Renderings for 1911 Walnut Leaked; Developer Says They’re Outdated

1911 Walnut

The proposed site of 1911 Walnut | Photo: James Jennings

If a popular development forum is to be believed, it looks like Southern Land Company has gigantic plans for 1911 Walnut–like, 600-foot high glass castle-type plans. But as the old saying goes, you can’t necessarily believe everything you see on the Internet.

Representatives from Southern Land Company have long said they envision an iconic development for the site, and according conceptual renderings posted to a thread on the Philadelphia forum (and subsequently on Facebook) of Skyscraper Page, a tower consisting of apartments and condos (as well as many balconies and a large, tree-lined terrace) will rise to 51 floors and top 600 feet. Multiple site plans show a large, multi-story retail and amenity podium fronting Walnut Street, and another on 20th Street that wraps around the corner and onto Sansom Street.

It’s quite a spectacular sight, to be sure, but are these designs the real deal?

Yes, the renderings are indeed legitimate, or at least they were, a spokesperson for Southern Land Company confirmed with Property. However, they are no longer accurate and are out of date.

“We have been meeting with neighborhood stakeholders over the last several months to obtain their input and are updating the renderings accordingly,” wrote Rebecca Divine in a follow up email. “We will release the latest and greatest within the next two weeks. We are excited be a part of Rittenhouse Square and Philadelphia and look forward to sharing our plans with the community.”

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Philly’s Housing Market Roars Onward, Sale Numbers Highest Since the Recession

Photo credit: Julia Rowe | Flickr

Photo credit: Julia Rowe | Flickr

Philadelphia’s housing market is seeing major gains across the board, and according to a new quarterly report from housing guru Kevin C. Gillen, we haven’t seen these kinds of numbers since the Great Recession–or, as is the case with the number of $1 million home sales, ever!

Gillen, senior research fellow at Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and chief economist of Meyers Research LLC, dug into the Q3 numbers and found the rising tide has become a city-wide phenomenon: “Price appreciation continued across all of the City’s neighborhoods, while sales posted their best quarter in the post-bubble era and million dollar sales broke their all-time historic record.”

Let’s take a peek, shall we?

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Six Splendiferous Spaces to Make Your Holiday Season Bright

TREND image via Zillow

TREND image via Zillow

Trust us, the quirkiness will go up a few notches at certain points in this list, but we thought we’d ease you in by starting with a more traditionally designed space. This cozy room, found in what might be an outbuilding on this Main Line property, is just what we imagine for a family get together that counts several adolescents at the dinner table. Just picture it: Every one finishes their Turkey Day meal and the adults file into the formal family room, while the teens make their way here and hang out undisturbed, free to listen to their rock and roll music and do the Snapchatting. It’s a win-win!

The Bryn Mawr residence, which includes a 5-bedroom dwelling with columns, 2-car garage, and storage/playhouse, is listed for $1,699,000. More info here.

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Cherry on Top: Parkway Complex With Mega Whole Foods “Tops Out” Today

The Dalian

Rodin Square/The Dalian on the Park site from September | Photo: James Jennings

The development scene on the Ben Franklin Parkway is booming these days as multiple big-time projects–including a revamped luxury hotel, over 1,000 apartments, bridge and park improvements and more–are bringing all kinds of attention to Philly’s cultural corridor.

One such project, a massive mixed-use development dubbed Rodin Square, takes up about a full city block on a three-acre parcel bound by 21st ad 22nd streets, and Spring Garden Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street (map). Dalian Development and International Financial Company (IFC), along with INTECH Construction, will officially “top out” the project today at a ceremony slated for noon.

The event will take place on the tricked-out “Skydeck” amenity terrance overlooking the Parkway, and mark a milestone in the construction process for the $160 million project. The groundbreaking took place in August 2014, and construction is expected to fully wrap up in summer of 2016. The apartments will be ready soon thereafter, but you’ll have to wait a tad longer for the gigantic Whole Foods Market to arrive–it’s scheduled to open in fall 2016.

So what will we have when the proverbial dust has settled? Let’s just say you can expect some big things.
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Trinity Tuesday: Super Comfy Abode in Queen Village Hits the Market

TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred - Whipple-McFeely Team

TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred – Whipple-McFeely Team

Reader, please bear with us as we try to suppress our groan of longing. It’s not our fault that snug master suite with, yes, an exposed brick decorative fireplace has got some pretty strong curl-up-with-a-book-and-hot-cocoa vibes radiating off every corner. Loving the exposed beamed ceiling too. Our verdict? Heart eyes emoji!

Mind you, the house that it’s in is itself a charmer, too.

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Glam It Up: Makeover of 40th Street Trolley Portal to Start in 2016

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

In case you missed it, the University City District has published its latest State of University City report, an annually-released compendium of the developments bubbling up in University City. The guide spotlights several sectors in U.C., among them academic, commercial, and residential, as well as the impact UCD itself has on this section of the city.

With relation to the latter, the release of the report came with the announcement that the 40th Street Trolley Portal transformation would be seeing its groundbreaking take place next year.

We previously reported the makeover project, spearheaded by UCD in partnership with SEPTA, the city, and neighborhood leaders, came with the aim of turning the bleak station into a lively social space with greenery and stormwater infrastructure, movable furniture, and arts and cultural programming.

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For Rent: Port Richmond’s Pan-Dandy Ghost Sign Apartment

"Kolb's Pan-Dandy Bread" sign | Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.

BEFORE: “Kolb’s Pan-Dandy Bread” sign| Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.

Lookin’ for a unique pad to rent in Port Richmond? The apartment with the 100-year-old ghost sign is now for rent. The Somers Team pinged us on Twitter to let us know that the place is now completed, and the 2-bed, 2-bath apartment is going for $1,250 per month.

Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. snapped a bunch of great shots of the vintage Kolb’s Bakery sign during construction. Now, it’s the focal point of the bedroom. In short, it’s gorgeous.

The finished product looks super clean and sports and industrial look, especially because of the sign, the bottom portion of which looks to be incorporated into the shared landed and mail area.

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