Narberth’s Oldest (and Long-Vacant) Church Could See a Mixed-Use Revival

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

Sitting right across from Narberth Train Station and just minutes from the borough’s downtown on foot, the former Baptist Church of the Evangel awaits a potential mixed-use revival that would include 4,500 square feet of office space and four two-bedroom apartments.

According to the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison, Bala Cynwyd-based Speciality Audit Services is eyeing up the landmark structure (its original section was built circa 1891) for its offices, with plans to keep the existing basketball court as “recreational space for the office employees,” while converting other sections of the stone building into residential units.

During its time as a church, the building claimed two rows of twelve pews able to hold 200 people, stained glass windows, slate flooring, carved wooden doors, and a cathedral wood ceiling, according to the property’s LoopNet listing. Additionally, the structure contained a Sunday School wing with classrooms on two floors, two pastor’s offices, and a social room.

Per Allison, SAS principal Jason Gordon says there are plans to renovate the interior, which has deteriorated over time, and leave the exterior as is. However, the stained glass, a detail noted as “likely of little value,” would be replaced. During last week’s informational presentation before Narberth’s planning commission and local residents, architect Dave  Brawer said the apartments would range “from just under 900 to 1,500 square feet.”

Still, the question of parking looms large…

Headlines: Fully Funded, Cultural Center Set to Break Ground in North Philly

Rendering via Taller's website, WRT

Rendering via Taller’s website, WRT

A new arts and community center is set to break ground in the Fairhill section of North Philly. According to Ashley Hahn of PlanPhilly’s Eyes on the Street, Taller Puertorriqueño, an organization that promotes Puerto Rican arts and culture, has raised $11.4 million in a variety of ways to fully fund the construction of the colorful new center–El Corazón Cultural Center. Here’s more good news from Hahn:

[T]he new WRT-designed building for El Corazón Cultural Center will be constructed on what is now a parking lot at the corner of North 5th and Huntingdon streets, allowing Taller Puertorriqueño to move out of its two nearby buildings – both full to the brim – and put its programs, shop, gallery, office under one roof with room to grow.

In addition to an expanded gift shop, flexible gallery space and classrooms with the latest technology, the center will boast a dance and theater studio that “can combine into a 220-seat multi-use event space, according to Taller’s website. There will also be an outdoor play area and art patio for children and various social functions. Groundbreaking is anticipated for the fall.

More Headlines:

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Dual Apartment Buildings at Broad and Callowhill on Track for Groundbreaking

Here's the one building at 339 North Broad Street | Rendering: Hanover

Here’s the one building at 339 North Broad Street | Rendering: Hanover

It’s been well over a year since we’ve checked in on the two mammoth lots that encompass the the southeast and southwest corners of North Broad and Callowhill. So long, in fact, that even we began to ask, is this project still alive?

As it turns out, the answer is yes. Parkway Corporation owns the land and has partnered with The Hanover Company out of Houston, Texas to develop both parcels. The mixed-use project will include 339 apartments, between 15,000- and 16,000-square-feet over four corners of ground floor retail and 370 parking spaces. Joe Zuritsky, president of Parkway Corporation, told Property that the team could break ground on the project as soon as the end of the year.  “It’ll be a fantastic beginning of North Broad Street,” said Zuritsky, about the two large undeveloped plots south of Spring Garden Street. Read more »

Groundswell to Unveil Schematic Design for Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Mark your calendars, Roxborough denizens: Groundswell Design Group has set a date for the unveiling of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park schematic design!

As previously reported, Groundswell was tapped to come up with a design concept for the proposed pocket park at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue, currently a vacant lot. The design is just about done and a recent press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation announced it will be unveiled to neighbors Wednesday, August 5th.

According to the release, the meeting will be held at 6:00pm inside the formerly vacant Allison Building, an adjacent structure that was rehabbed and now has two tenants. It’s worth noting the soon-to-be-made-public preliminary schematic design was shaped by neighbor feedback through a survey taken at the first community meeting and an online questionnaire.

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Headlines: The Skinny on Changes In Store for Two Philly-Area Malls

15COR108-GalleryPP-9thMarket

Is a residential component coming to 9th and Market? | Rendering; PREIT

What a weekend! But the fireworks aren’t over as starting off this Monday’s headlines are two of the retail variety: Delaware County’s Granite Run Mall and Philly’s upcoming Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

First up, the Granite Run Mall in Media, which the Daily Times reports is now totally vacant, save for anchors Boscov’s and Sears. The last of its former 125 retail tenants shut down last week in the face of ending leases and to follow is a demolition expected “as early as this fall, according to Michael  Markman, president of BET Investments Inc.” BET, which acquired the mall for over $24 million last year, is looking to redevelop the property for a purported $20 million.

So what’s to happen with the 58-acre site? Per the Daily Times, BET envisions it becoming a “walkable, outdoor town center” with retail (including the current anchors), restaurant, residential, and entertainment amenities. The plan would happen over two phases. The Media Borough Council will review the preliminary land development plan for the project Monday, July 27.

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Property’s Photo of the Week: Authentic Fourth of July Block Parties

Nothing beats a South Philly block party.

A photo posted by John Cruice (@cruicej) on

It’s finally here. While most people back up the car and head down the shore or up to the mountains for the Fourth of July, the tried and true Philadelphians hang at home and bask in the glory that is the neighborhood block party. Does it get any better than taking over the street (legally, we hope), rolling out the grills, busting open the fire hydrant and enjoying a few suds? In a word: NOPE!

Throw in a bounce house or two and you get a pretty good idea why the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in the first place.

Are you heading/hosting a block party this weekend? Tag your Instagram posts with #PhillyScape and we just might feature it in a roundup next week! Thanks again to @cruicej for the awesome shot. Be safe and have fun this holiday weekend.

• Check out previous Photo’s of the Week [Property]

Headlines: Post Brothers Involved in Rittenhouse Apartment Building Deal

2216-2222 Walnut Street | via Google Street View

2216-2222 Walnut Street | via Google Street View

A large mixed-use building on the corner of 23rd and Walnut–smack dab between University City and Rittenhouse Square–has traded hands. And it’s not without its intrigue.

Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that 2216-2222 Walnut was “was bought on behalf of an undisclosed investor who was represented in the transaction by Post Brothers, a Philadelphia real estate apartment company.” The deal totals $15.7 million and includes two buildings, the 99-unit Roosevelt apartment complex with ground floor retail (formerly Roosevelt’s bar) and a smaller, four-story building at 2216 Walnut.

Matt Pestronk of Post Brothers told Kostelni 2216 Walnut will be resold. Given the boom of both University City and strong market in Rittenhouse, renovated apartments at the Roosevelt (or whatever it will be called) could be in high demand. Keep an eye on this corner.

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New Listings: Custom Lofts Between Former Suit Corner and High Street on Market

304 Market Street, the former Suit Corner site is to the left | Image: Google Street View

304 Market Street, the former Suit Corner site is to the left | Image: Google Street View

A few interesting property listings dropped on Redfin this week. Custom condos are currently being built at 304 Market Street, a “completely remodeled elevator building” lodged between the former Suit Corner site and the widely-popular Fork/High Street on Market in Old City.

Units B and D are listed as two-bedroom loft condos priced at $439,000 and $469,000, respectively. The top floor loft, Unit D, sounds especially pleasant as it features an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings and a skylight. It can also be purchased as raw space for $369,000 and the buyer can then “go crazy with your customizations” from there. However, the listing warns (in all caps) that you better act now: “TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE TO MAKE ALL OF YOUR CUSTOMIZATIONS.”

Each condo comes with spacious master bedrooms with French Doors, two full bathrooms, in-unit washer and dryers and brand new insulated windows facing a bustling Market Street. Opposite ends of the one-time colorful corner at 3rd and Market are in the middle of a major transition. Including 304 Market Street, three projects are in various stages of development.

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Headlines: La Colombe’s Shop on Independence Mall Opens Today

La Colombe at the Dow Building | Rendering: La Colombe

La Colombe at the Dow Building | Rendering: La Colombe

Coffee lovers, today is your day. La Colombe will officially open their very mid-century cafe at the corner of 6th and Market on July 1 (today) at 7 a.m., a rep from the company comfirmed to Property in an email.

The 1,700-square-foot space will celebrate the superb architecture and design of the Dow Building, originally built in 1964 as the headquarters of Rohm & Haas. That means you’ll be sippin’ some hot (or iced) java underneath some pretty stellar chandeliers, enjoying a fresh pastry or sandwich on the new outdoor terrace overlooking Independence Mall and even taking advantage of the newly constructed steps leading up to the cafe at 6th and Market.

Michael Klein of The Inquirer talked with Stokes Architecture about the overall aesthetic:

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15 Homes Proposed for Warehouse on Front Street in Pennsport

Plans call for the building at 1422-28 South Front Street to be demolished. | Photo: James Jennings

Plans call for the building at 1422-28 South Front Street to be demolished. | Photo: James Jennings

It looks like there’s another large residential project on the way in Pennport. Plans call for 15 single-family homes to replace an old warehouse and vacant lot at 1422-28 South Front Street.

Patrick Conway, the listing agent on the property and project with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, told Property that it’s very early in the process and that a community meeting with the Pennsport Civic Association is being scheduled due to the need for a zoning variance. Dr. James Moylan, president of the Pennsport Civic Association, said they intend to meet with the development team sometime next week, with a public meeting held sometime after that.

The homes are being developed by KellyTown, the group behind the four super-luxe homes at 111 Walnut Street. (Side note: Conway said three of those on Walnut Street have already been sold.)

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