The first six homes in the Cinnaminson Hill development. Eighteen more are slated to follow. The open house took place in the second home from the right; the Hard Hat Tour, in the homes on either side of it. | Photos: Sandy Smith
Some of you may have seen me refer to Northeast Philadephia at one time or another as “our vast in-city suburb.”
With all due respect to the denizens of the Northeast, I must now state here that I got this wrong. If what you’re looking for is the look and feel of outer suburbia and an address with a ZIP code that begins with 191, the place you should be looking is Upper Roxborough.
I came to this realization as I hiked down Cinnaminson Street past the point where its sidewalks disappeared to reach an open house PRDC Properties was holding last week for its latest work in progress, Cinnaminson Hill.
The first six homes in this 24-unit development are in various stages of completion, and one of the six was complete enough for PRDC CEO David Perlman and his crew to invite everyone in.
The quality of the construction is up to PRDC’s usual standard, with great-looking exteriors and well-put-together interiors. The interior finishes look like they will be as attractive as the exterior ones once all is said and done.
Of course, the great irony in this project is that by putting 24 semi-detached townhomes on the site of one ultimately doomed 1940s ranch house, PRDC is making this semi-rural-looking area even less rural. But there’s sufficient greenery and open space surrounding this site that the buyers probably won’t raise any objections on those grounds.
And while most of the guests were hobnobbing in the almost-finished home, I asked construction manager John Lucey to take me through some of the not-so-finished units. The photos below show you how one of them is being put together along with the nearly-completed unit.
Cinnaminson Hill: A Look Inside
The garage of the nearly-finished home.
The living room area on the second floor. The entire second level has a tray ceiling.
The dining and kitchen areas, with displays from the companies furnishing the bathroom fixtures, tile and woodwork.
The front bedroom on the third level.
The third-floor hall bathroom.
The tub enclosure is in place, but tilework remains to be completed; the tub is covered to prevent damage during construction.
Laundry room hookups on the third floor.
The third-floor master bathroom's vanity hookups.
One of the bedrooms on the third floor.
The view to the south from that third-floor bedroom.
The third-floor master bedroom...
...will, of course, have dual closets.
Drywall awaiting installation in the third-floor master bathroom.
The electrical switch box and drain pipe from the top-floor wet bar.
The rear of the roof deck.
Some of the responsible parties, from left to right: PRDC President Jon Thomas, Construction Manager John Lucey, and Chief Executive Officer David Perlman.
View to the south from the roof deck to the house that's not quite at the halfway point.
In between these two twins is this 1940s ranch house...
...that's serving as the "construction trailer" for the site while work on the first houses is under way.
Once this first phase is completed, this house will be demolished to provide access to the rest of the site, where 18 more units will be built.
Clearance of this land has yet to take place. City fire lines already run through the property; two hydrants are visible from above, though not in this picture.
The garage of the house under construction.
The first-floor bathroom has a one-piece tub enclosure.
The view from the first-floor bedroom to the rear of the property.
The homes will have basements for storage; the climate control equipment is in the basement as well.
The second-floor living room, showing the frame for the tray ceiling.
Recessed lighting, wiring, and water return lines are visible in this photo.
The kitchen and dining area on the second floor; the kitchens will be in the middle of the open-plan space.
The kitchen pantry closet.
The water supply and return lines for the kitchen sink and the power cable for the dishwasher and garbage disposal.
Markings in the floor give dimensions for elements in the kitchen island. I'm standing on the spot where the dishwasher will be installed; the yellow cable three feet away will supply power to the cooktop.
Wiring for kitchen outlets and water for the refrigerator's ice maker.
You may have noticed by now the absence of copper pipe in these photos. Instead, flexible plastic hosing will supply the cold (blue) and hot (red) water throughout the house. Lucey says the hose is as durable as the traditional pipe. The orange pipe feeds the sprinklers, and the white plastic pipe is for water return.
Sprinkler and water return pipe in the second-floor ceiling.
These stairs look flimsier than they are, but they're still temporary and can support only one person at a time comfortably. Permanent stairs will be installed after insulation is complete.
One of the third-floor bedrooms.
Where the closet will go in the rear third-floor bedroom.
The shared bathroom for the third-floor bedrooms.
The tub for the shared bathroom.
The water lines for the bathroom's vanities and the drain site for the toilet.
A view from the middle bedroom closet to the master bathroom.
HVAC (climate control) ductwork and sprinkler pipe for the master bathroom.
When the permanent stairs are installed, this narrow ledge will become the 36-inch-deep landing required by city building code.
The laundry room; washer hookups are on the right and the vent for the dryer is on the left.
Lucey assured me that this wasn't the mark of some secret cult but rather the construction crew having some fun with markings.
As is typical in most new construction, the outer walls and subfloor are made of composite wood board.
The master bedroom closets and air supply. Note the slope in the ceiling above to allow for proper drainage of the roof deck.
The main load-carrying beams on each floor are made from laminated veneer lumber, or LVL. The beams are made from multiple thin layers of wood that have been prestressed and coated; they support more weight than ordinary solid wood beams.
The water lines for the master bathroom vanities and toilet water return.
The shower enclosure's drain and subfloor are in place but the waterproofing has yet to be applied.
Lucey pointed out this beam on the roof deck landing that sticks up 12 inches above the subfloor. The finished floor and stairs will be level with the top of the beam, with insulation beneath.
The roof deck has yet to get its first layer of waterproofing.
Lucey said that the pipe sticking up from the floor of the deck is required to be this tall by city code so that sewer gases can vent without causing a stink on the deck.
Each twin home has a shared pilot house for roof deck access.
Here you can see where the crew has begun to apply waterproofing to the deck. Lucey explained that the waterproofing usually takes place before the siding is installed.
Outdoor electrical and water service for the roof deck.
The main electrical and data cable circuit boxes in the garage.
It's possible that buyers of these homes may be able to do without cable service if they so desire, for they lie in the shadow of the Roxborough antenna farm, home to the transmitters for most of the city's radio and TV stations.
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