New Narberth Avenue Bridge to Feature Site-Specific Art Installations

The artistic element will be installed in the long yellow strip | Design: VSBA/Narberth Borough

The artistic element will be installed in the long yellow strip | Design: VSBA/Narberth Borough

Narberth Borough has put out a request for qualification (RFQ) for “an artist to create a site-specific, integrated artistic enhancement in conjunction with the construction of the new Narberth Avenue bridge,” according to its website.

The bridge has reached the end of its useful life and to show how important the look of this span is to the borough, they’ve brought in Venturi Scott Brown (VSBA) to assist Pennoni Engineers in its design. “We envisioned the bridge both as a connector between the downtown and residential neighborhood and as a gateway between them — as well as an opportunity to enhance the borough’s identity,” according to the project description on VSBA’s website.

On top of that, Narberth wants this project to stand out and harken back to a time when infrastructure projects were a big deal:

“The hope is that the project can draw inspiration from the time when infrastructure was a matter of civic pride and when ornamentation was considered an integral part of building projects, to commemorate or communicate important civic concepts or narratives.”

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City House of the Week: Delancey Street Manse (Quite Literally) Stands Out

All images by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach-Narberth

All images by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach-Narberth

It’s a bold statement, but this might just be the the pinnacle of highbrow listings on Delancey Street. Hear us out.

First and foremost, look at it. Architecturally speaking, this might be the most unique property on a block chock-full of gorgeous and historic homes. The curved brick facade quite literally stands out from the rest, and that’s without even mentioning its dramatic center hall entry (the only one on the block) and iron balcony. It also dates back to circa 1861, so we’ve got a true timeless classic on our hands. Read more »

Property’s Photo of the Week: A Moment of Serenity in the Popeadelphia Craze

A photo posted by Mittul (@mittul_) on

In nine weeks, Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia.

From the day he arrives to the day he leaves (check out his two-day itinerary here), he’ll step foot in vastly dissimilar buildings and spaces in the city, among them the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and PaulIndependence Mall, and the Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility. It’s with this spirit of anticipation for this once-in-a-lifetime event that we’ve selected this #phillyscape shot taken inside the Cathedral Basilica on the Parkway.

It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, the “urban pontificate” will have to say about Philadelphia in the hours after his visit comes to an end. So far, it’s been off to a somewhat shaky start with questions centering around whether the city can handle the challenge of such an unprecedented event. Will we be able to transport the crowds to and from their destinations? Will we make a good impression with the Pope and the visitors he brings?

Relax, it’s going to be amazing.

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Former Italian Consulate Turned Mega Mansion Asks $3.25M

All images by TREND via Redfin

All images by TREND via Redfin

Whoa. Could you imagine if this mega-mansion designed by Theophilus P. Chandler  – for the record, historical notes also attribute it to Horace Trumbauer – at the corner of 22nd and Locust was your personal residence? Well, if you’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.25 million, it could be. Heck, even if you’re more the developer/investor type, the property has RM-1 zoning, so something like a condo building conversion is definitely a possibility.

Commissioned by steel businessman Frank Samuel (who may have been the same Frank Samuel who was V.P. of the North Branch Steel Company, “the first to produce the modern street-car rail“) in 1899, the four-story Federal brick beauty went up sometime in the early 1900s. Today, it boasts several features from the era: original stained glass windows, panelings, moldings, parquet and herringbone wood floors, and even a defunct elevator that used to go up to the third level. Bonus historical tidbit? It served as the headquarters for the Italian consulate back in the seventies. And with that, can you guess how many bedrooms it has?

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Divine Lorraine Update: Four “Vetri-Caliber” Restaurants Planned

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

It’s not a dream, people. The long-planned transformation of the Divine Lorraine Hotel into a luxury apartment building starting to become a reality. It’s now fully funded and Chris Cordaro, vice president with EB Realty Management (EBRM), has let us in on some tantalizing tidbits of information regarding the mother of all redevelopment projects, as well as a few others EBRM properties.

Though Billy Procida, the investor behind the project, said that construction could start on the Divine Lorraine by the end of July, Cordaro tells us they’re currently planning a groundbreaking event of sorts at the site, “probably in early August.”

As you know, New York-based developer RAL is planning a large scale apartment tower/grocery store directly next to the Divine Lorraine on Ridge Avenue. Cordaro said the the two groups have been collaborating closely to make sure the buildings work with each other. As such, a shared green wall will be erected alongside the “Garden Veranda” level of the Divine Lorraine.

That brings us to the retail portion of the project. Cordaro mentioned that they’ve identified restaurateurs for the commercial space, which will now be four new restaurant concepts “of the Vetri-caliber” and not high end retailers.

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Headlines: Planning Commission Greenlights North 5th Street Projects

5th and Fairmount | via Phila.gov

5th and Fairmount | via Phila.gov

Two large residential projects on North 5th Street received the blessing of the Planning Commission this week, reports Jared Brey of PlanPhilly.

U.S. Construction is developing 43-units at 5th and Fairmount. The project will also include a corner retail space and a green central courtyard. John Farina, developer/builder with U.S. Construction told us in June that they could start construction as early as August. Brey reports the project will go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on July 29th, as a variance is needed for multi-family use.

The Planning Commission also considered a 23-building, 45-unit project on 5th and Thompson Street. Similar to the 5th and Fairmount development, plans include a corner retail space, but also a community dog park on Orkney Street. Brey notes that developer Sean Frankel addressed some feedback heard during Civic Design Review process, “[Frankel] had the layout reorganized so that all the living quarters are above grade. In addition, the developer added landscaping elements to the parking area to meet the 10-percent requirement of the zoning code.”

More Real Estate (and Ramen) Headlines:

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Fingers Crossed: Richard Neutra’s Pitcairn House is Under Contract

Inside the Pitcairn House

Inside the Pitcairn House

We don’t want to jinx it, but the Pitcairn House in Bryn Athyn is under contract. The listing recently changed hands to Frank Blumenthal of Keller Williams Realty, who confirmed that a deal is “slated to go to settlement in about three weeks, like the middle of August.”

The masterpiece was designed by legendary modernist architect Richard Neutra and built between 1958 and 1962. We begged someone to snap it up (and give us a tour?) in February. It looks like that’s finally happened.

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Is Construction About to Kick Off at 205 Race in Old City?

The lot at 205 Race as of June 2014 | Google Street View

The lot at 205 Race as of June 2014 | Google Street View

The long and winding road of the 205 Race development in Old City looks as though it’s about to reach an important milestone. You might even call it groundbreaking (pun intended).

After years of planning, controversy and multiple design tweaks, construction permits were recently posted on the site at 2nd and Race, the longtime home of a surface parking lot.

The permits provide a glimpse of what exactly is to come–a 17-story building with parking in the basement level, a retail space on the ground floor and 146 “dwelling units.” We haven’t heard an exact date for the groundbreaking, only that one is currently being planned.

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Headlines: Take a Look at the Upcoming One Liberty Observation Deck (VIDEO)

The upcoming Philly from the Top | Photo: Cory J. Popp

The upcoming One Liberty Observation Deck, aka Philly From the Top | Photo: Cory J. Popp

Philly From the Top, a ticketed observation deck on the 57th floor of One Liberty, is slated to open in the fall. Slowly but surely, images of the ongoing construction have started to trickle out, but do we have something special for you.

Remember those videos from Cory J. Popp a few weeks ago that gave you a nearly unprecedented look at the skyline from the top of some of Philly’s tallest buildings? Chances are good that, unless you know a guy, you won’t be getting too many opportunities to touch the sky in such a manner. That is, of course, until Philly From the Top opens. Now, Popp takes us beyond the pictures and serves up a stunning video of the city from high above the street. Only this time, it’s in the (pretty raw looking) space atop a tower that stretches to 945-feet at its apex. Also, it’s behind glass.

When complete (probably after Labor Day), Philly From the Top will provide 360-degree views of the city. It will be operated by Paris-based Montparnasse 56 Group and surely be a fun #PhillyScape hashtag to follow along with on Instagram. As for ticket prices, sales “go live just before opening with general admission set at $14 for youth (ages 3 – 11) and $19 for adults,” according to a recent press release. A restaurant/cafe was in the plans when it was announced in December. However, a rep from the company said in an email, “at this point the Montparnasse 56 team does not have any plans for a café or restaurant in the space.”

This post was updated to include the ticket prices and also to note that the cafe is not in current plans. 

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Headlines: Plans for Hale Building Include Offices, Restaurants

The Hale Building | Google Street View

The Hale Building | Google Street View

Walk by the Hale Building on Chestnut and Juniper street and you’ll immediately recognize the building, even if you don’t know it by name. For many, especially those new to Philadelphia, it’s the decaying architectural contradiction wrapped in construction netting for safety purposes. The logical series of questions flow as follows: What is it? What was it? What the hell happened to it?

For those of you concerned about its future, news broke this weekend that plans are in motion to revive what has been called “Chestnut Street’s hideous yet heartbreaking ogre” into creative office space. As Jacob Adelman of The Inquirer reportsthose plans come from a familiar name:

Brickstone, whose restoration credits include the former John Wanamaker and Lit Bros. department stores on Market Street, plans to renovate the seven-story building at 1326 Chestnut and revamp its upper floors into offices for advertising firms or other creative users, managing partner John Connors said. The ground floor will be divided between two restaurants, he said.

Chemical magnate William Weightman commissioned Willis G. Hale to design the building in the late 1800’s. It was completed in 1887 and vehemently panned by architectural critics soon thereafter. As GroJLart of Philaphilia put it, “This [building] was the Symphony House of its time, reviled by architecture critics to the point of being showcased as an example of what not to build.”

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