For Rent: Chase Utley’s Phenomenal Ayer Penthouse


BHHS Fox & Roach’s Frank L. DeFazio sent us a link to his blog today, which features an item about Chase Utley’s condo at the Ayer. As we’ve written, Chase and Jen had a new house built for them and their kids (and pets) last year, and they put this fantabulous unit on the market in October 2013. In March of this year, feeling wary about the fact that the unit had no furniture in it anymore, they had it re-staged, hoping that would give the $4.3 million home the kick it needed.

Now DeFazio notes that the listing has changed from a sale to a rental for $17,500 per month. (The monthly condo fees are around $4,000 per month, DeFazio writes.) It’s a beautiful unit. Gallery below, in case you’ve forgotten.

Rent Chase Utley’s Penthouse at The Ayer for $17,500 per month! [Center City Team]

Labor Day Weekend Estate Sales

An example of one of the quirky items that will be offered at the Chestnut Hill estate sale on Monday. Photo via

An example of one of the quirky items that will be offered at the Chestnut Hill estate sale on Monday. Photo via

Is there nothing better than a good estate sale? You get to tromp through a home and really look at the condition of the items as they were used in the space where they were used. If the home is especially beautiful, that’s a bonus, as is the fact that prices tend to be very reasonable. And keep in mind that these days an estate sale is very rarely due to a person’s death. It’s usually because a couple of empty nesters have decided it’s time to move into the city, or because an elderly person is moving in with her kids (or, uh, to a nursing home, which is actually depressing, but just put that out of your mind). Or sometimes people just need to liquidate because they’re exhausted by owning all that crap and are planning to join the Tiny Home movement. Anyway, stop analyzing and start enjoying. Here are three of this weekend’s estate sales that we recommend.

1. Case in point: This rather poignant pre-demolition sale of a Walter Durham home in Penn Valley or Narberth, depending how you look at it. The company handling the sale specializes in big items. For instance, they liquidated the entire Waynesboro Country Club on Route 252 in Paoli and a block-long synagogue in Allentown. So think big for this sale, which includes everything: an antique wood pine mantel, dining room chandelier and sconces, antique brick patios and walkways, flagstones, loose stone walls, patio doors, insulated glass windows, garage doors, an HVAC system, plantings…as the company says on its website, “Remember, if it is there, it is for sale.” If you’re a Durham fan, you can go for a last look before the home comes down in a few weeks. 8/30/2014 9am to 3pm and 8/31/2014 10am to 2pm, Righters Mill Road, Narberth, PA.

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10 Best and Worst Markets for Flipping

RealtyTrac took a look at housing markets with 50 or more flips in the second quarter of 2014 to assess which market was getting the best return on investment (ROI) for the flips. No. 1? Pittsburgh, PA, where on average, the flipper bought a home at a 51 percent discount (below the estimated market value, that is) and resold it at a 4 percent premium above the estimated market value. That’s a 106 percent ROI. Nice job, yins!

Not surprisingly, the worst market for flips is San Francisco, where the second-quarter 2014 average gross ROI was -9 percent. That hurts my stomach.

The overall average for all the markets in the analysis? An 8 percent discount then a 6 percent premium.

Though Philadelphia falls neither on the Best or Worst list, York-Hanover is also on the Best list, a few slots below Pittsburgh. See the lists below.

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Long-Shuttered Department Store Will Finally Reopen

Castor and Cottman

Photo (and gallery below) by the author.

In 2003, the JCPenney on the corner of Castor and Cottman in Northeast Philadelphia shut its doors. I was in seventh grade at the time and, suffice to say, didn’t really think much beyond Wonder what they’ll put there next … oh my god, I hope it’s, like, a restaurant or something. What ended up going there was … nothing.

Wait, what?

Naïve? Yeah, probably. But up until that point whatever vacant buildings were in the area had been there for so long that they were just part of the streetscape. The norm. This closing was something else. Because here’s what happened: the neighborhood felt more dead than usual.

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At Last, Everyone and Everything in Accord at Goldtex

Photo by Liz Spikol.

Photo by Liz Spikol.

Less than a year ago, the news out of the Post Brothers’ Goldtex building was drama, controversy and inflatable rats. Which is why Inga Saffron, in today’s Inquirer, is expressing genuine surprise that not only have the former adversaries moved beyond attacking each other, but that the building itself seems to be – dare we say it – an example of good design.

In Saffron-ese:

The surprise is that the renovated factory emerged from the debacle with its architectural integrity intact.

“There must be something in the water,” she writes, explaining that both Electricians Local 98 boss John Dougherty and developer Michael Pestronk both expressed some regret over the affair.

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Pending Sale for $5.2M: Villanova Estate “Conamara”

TREND photo via

TREND photo via

Conamara (the traditional spelling for Connemara) is the name of a picturesque area in West Ireland. It’s also the name of this Villanova estate that sits on more than 10 acres of the vaunted Ardrossan land, where Hope Montgomery Scott–the inspiration for Katherine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story–once lived it up.

After being listed on the market for $7,695,000, it was slated for auction in April 2013. According to public record, it sold in July 2013 for $4 million and was placed on the market just weeks later for $5.25. Now, little more than a month later, it’s pending sale at that same price.

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Woodward French Village House Is Back on the Market

419 Gate Ln, Philadelphia, PA, 19119

419 Gate Ln, Philadelphia, PA, 19119

In spite of its two-day period back on the market, the home has been attracting attention for much longer. A few years ago, Alan Jaffe included the property on a piece about the French Village in Mt. Airy in PlanPhilly’s “Look Up!” Here’s a snippet talking about the architectural history of the neighborhood:

“The French Village, whose homes are found on Elbow Lane, Gate Lane and Allens Lane, was built in easy walking distance from the Mt. Airy train station, as the area became a railroad suburb for the affluent businessmen and professionals of Philadelphia. The homes were built in the Wissahickon Style, incorporating the local mica schist, generous green landscape and flowing streams.

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House of the Week: Stunningly Creative 7BR

This property in Point Breeze aka Newbold is actually two: 1410 and 1412 Tasker, just off Broad Street. The entry is through 1410, leading to an open floor plan of 1410 and 1412. Let’s take this floor by floor. I’m relying heavily on the listings copy here to reduce any confusion.

On the first floor, there’s a brand new double height kitchen with stainless steel appliances, six-burner Thermador stove, granite countertops, and a double porcelain sink. The downstairs bathroom is sweet: claw foot bathtub and glass tile walls inside, with glass doors that lead to an outside private garden with a hot tub. The living room has wood burning fireplace, and, as in the kitchen and bathroom, painted concrete floors with radiant heat.

The second floor is where 1410 and 1412 kind of split. So in 1410 there’s a reading nook with a catwalk (!), a den with painted pine floors and then access to a decked area that links 1410 to 1412, which has another bedroom with pine floors but also with a Bay window. And this side of the second floor — 1412 — also has a renovated bathroom with a hex tile floor with radiant heat.

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Morning Headlines: Is Bridesburg Really Getting A Waterfront Park?

Well here’s something to smile about! A waterfront park with access to Orthodox Street is coming to Bridesburg, a neighborhood which for too long has missed out on the possibilities offered along the nearby Delaware River bank. The news comes from a joint effort between PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey and Hidden City’s Bradley Maule to examine and report on new developments alongside the North Delaware Riverfront.

Apparently, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC) have “nine acres of new waterfront parkland,” which it plans to develop despite there being no financial backing or design just yet. Tom Branigan, director of DRCC, told PlanPhilly that funding would most likely come from city and grant funds.

The land was previously under the hand of the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) who emphasized its industrial use (it’s the site of the Philadelphia Coke Co.) when trying to attract buyers, but which, ultimately, resulted in unhappy residents. From PlanPhilly:

“Bridesburg has been cut off from the river for I don’t know how long, probably more than 100 years,” said Tom Branigan, director of DRCC, in an interview with PlanPhilly. “They’ve been looking for park space with access to the river for some time.”

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Rodin Square Development Breaks Ground

Rodin Square Whole Foods Rendering

Rodin Square broke ground this morning. The massive development includes a 55,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market at 501 N. 22nd Street (directly in view of the Ben Franklin Parkway) and a 10-story, 293-unit, luxury apartment complex called The Dalian on Fairmount.

Dalian Development and International Financial Company, the developers behind the $160 million mixed-use project, say the Whole Foods, which will include a 5,000 square foot café and a two-story glass façade, won’t be the only retailer on the premises.

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