NIMBY Cries Stall Proposed Rehabilitation Center in Haddonfield

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

“Where others see problems, O’Neill sees potential,” reads the O’Neill Properties Group mission statement. That attitude must be coming in handy for developer Brian O’Neill right about now. Per the Inquirer, Haddonfielders are putting up staunch “Not In My Back Yard” opposition to his plans of putting a rehab center at the site of the former Bancroft School.

Why the aversion to the parochial school savior’s project? For one thing, the building would be across from Haddonfield Memorial High School and just two blocks the local elementary school. This proximity has not sat well with parents and other locals:  “I cannot imagine a worse site than right next to a high school,” former Mayor Jack Tarditi was quoted as saying last week.

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Groundbreaking: Dranoff’s Luxurious One Riverside Sets the Date

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

Carl Dranoff is a busy man. We know all about his SLS International Hotel & Residences project at Broad and Spruce. However, let’s not forget about One Riverside, his other luxury condo high rise right on the edge of Schuylkill River Park. If the design by Cecil Baker doesn’t grab you, the tagline certainly will: “The River. The Park. The Ultimate.” And if that doesn’t work, check out the video.

The official groundbreaking for the 22-story project will be on Wednesday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. The building will house 82 condos, 15 of which have already been sold, according Erika Bohl, marketing manager at Dranoff Properties. Earlier reports indicated that priced would range from $685,00o on the lower end and all the way up to $6 million for the bi-level penthouse. The building at 25th and Locust has seen over $25 million in sales, noted Bohl in an email.

The first units are expected to be completed Read more »

Headlines: Near Tragic Accident Caused by Crumbling 25th Street Viaduct

The 25th Street Viaduct, as planned by 2020 | Rendering: CSX

The 25th Street Viaduct, as planned by 2020 | Rendering: CSX

Do you see that rendering?  That’s what the 25th Street Viaduct in South Philadelphia is supposed to look like once the planned renovation project by the city and owners CSX is complete in five years. It’s pristine, as far as utilitarian concrete structures go. Today, however, is a much different, and nearly tragic, story.

Officials deemed the bridge “structurally sound” just a few weeks ago during the announcement of the renovations. NBC10 reports that a large chunk of concrete fell from the bridge near the intersection of 25th and Dickinson on Friday night in Point Breeze. It landed on the passenger side window of a BMW sedan. The driver narrowly escaped a tragic scene and was “shaken” but not injured.

Phase one, which is supposed to start in June, includes wrapping the bridge in safety netting. After the incident on Friday, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson wants to get it going ASAP:

“The incident today shows we should start immediately cause it’s important,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to risk somebody else riding under this bridge and a catastrophe happening.”

A clogged drainage system is being labeled as the cause of the incident. For video at the scene, hit up that link from NBC10 below.

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Is the Former Please Touch Museum Site Going to be Demolished?

The former Please Touch Museum Site at 208-212 N. 21st St. | Photo: James Jennings

The former Please Touch Museum Site at 208-212 N. 21st St. | Photo: James Jennings

Here’s an interesting nugget of information found in a document of the January minutes of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA). As you’ll read in topic #7 under the Zoning Committee report, Toll Brothers has “an agreement” to buy the former Please Touch Museum site at 208-212 North 21st Street (near Race). Fast forward to February, where minutes show that a meeting with near neighbors took place on January 28. Initial plans called to knock down the building in favor of a five-story (58-feet high) condo building housing “approximately 35 units” with balconies and underground parking accessed from Van Pelt Street.

Unsurprisingly, the proposal was met with “unanimous opposition” from near neighbors, who also deemed it “unacceptable” due to its size and it being “out of character with the rest of our neighborhood,” according to the doc. Ed Panek, LSNA’s zoning committee chair, would not comment on the project. When asked about the project, Michael Duff, marketing director at Toll Brothers, said, Read more »

New Habitat for Humanity ReStore Coming to Washington Avenue in June

Photo via Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia blog

Rendering via Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia blog

Point Breeze and Grays Ferry are two of Philly’s many up-and-coming ‘hoods, and we just caught wind of a small project adding to that slow but sustained spark of revitalization that may soon catch on: a Habitat for Humanity ReStore is coming to 23rd and Washington.

The latest addition to Washington Avenue is a mark of change on the South Philly strip, which locals like the Washington Avenue Property Owners Association have been trying to transform into a bustling business / retail corridor. As of recently, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission voted in favor of recommending “a new zoning overlay for Washington Avenue west of Broad Street,” according to Jared Brey over at PlanPhilly. The temporary overlay blocks undesirables from setting up shop on the avenue while community groups, the Commission, and the office of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson “work on long-term planning.” Undesirables include strip clubs, junk yards, storage facilities, car-oriented uses and more.

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Headlines: Reality TV Star, L&I in Hot Water Over ‘Illegally Built’ Apartments

Apartment building developed by Shawn Bullard  | Google Street View

Apartment building developed by Shawn Bullard | Google Street View

It’s about that time of the week again, you know, when potentially dangerous L&I issues come to the forefront. This time, it involves an eight-unit apartment building at 1806 West Montgomery Avenue near Temple University. Alfred Lubrano of The Inquirer reports that the four-story building was “built illegally – without the required safety inspections or even a building permit, city records show.”

The building is owned by 826 N. Broad LLC. and Lubrano says that developer Shawn Bullard, known recently as the love-seeking leading man of WE TV’s reality show Match Made in Heaven*, is the sole member of that company. Here’s the rub, Read more »

Report: Brandywine Realty Trust Paid $17 Million for Basciano Garage

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

UPDATE (04/24, 12:00 p.m.): Gerard Sweeney, CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, said the company is considering a mixed-use development at this site, according to Jacob Adelman in a business roundup report on Philly.com. While no specific plans are in place, the site “could accommodate at least 600,000 square-feet” of development. That’s a pretty tasty proposition, as Brandywine’s 29-story luxury apartment tower at 1919 Market Street is 455,000 square-feet of space.

ORIGINAL (04/23): It’s confirmed: Brandywine Realty Trust now owns the mixed-use parking garage at 7th and Market Street. According to Joe DiStefano of The Inquirer, the Radnor-based development giant paid $17 million for the “concrete heap” that’s centrally located between a bunch of glossy new projects and Independence Hall. In a separate deal, Brandywine also unloaded $50.75 million worth of office parks in Delaware to Buccini/Pollin Group, including Delaware Corporate Center and Christiana Office Park. Read more »

Renderings: What Select Free Library Branches Will Look Like Post-Renovations

Rendering of Parkway Central Library common room

Rendering of Parkway Central Library common room

Since learning that the William Penn Foundation has endowed $25 million to the Free Library of Philadelphia for their Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, we’ve been looking forward to seeing renderings and work starting on the branches selected for the initiative’s pilot phase. “Through this multi-phase, multi-faceted initiative, the Free Library will transform physically and programmatically,” said the September press release.

Sounds wonderful, especially since Parkway Central won’t be the only branch due for some sprucing up: Lovett Memorial Library, Tacony Library, Lillian Marrero Library, South Philadelphia Library, and Logan Library will all see their built environment, technology, and “unique programmatic focus” tailored to making them better community resources.

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The Parker Spruce Hotel Officially Sold, What’s Next?

The Parker Spruce Hotel | via Google Street View

The Parker Spruce Hotel | via Google Street View

It’s official, the Gayborhood’s Parker Spruce Hotel has been sold.

A fire tore through the 9th floor back in October, forcing the building, including the Westbury Bar, to close down indefinitely. The Philadelphia Gay News reported in November that owner Spruce Hotel Corporation had a deal in place to sell the building to The Wankawala Organization, a hospitality company that was in charge of leasing and looked to rehab the property and partner with a boutique hotelier.

The Wankawala Organization owns and operates a few hotels in the region, including a Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Quakertown, and managing director Mihir Wankawala told us that they plan to Read more »

Better Runways, Automated People Mover Officially Coming to PHL Airport

Alright, just hold your horses for a minute. Action News may be psyched about the “long-awaited multi-billion-dollar expansion project” in store for the Philadelphia International Airport, but the truth is the agreement was made in principal a year ago. In fact, today’s ceremony was simply a formal signing that allows some of the on-hold projects within PHL’s Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP) to happen.

So what will the CEP do? Here’s how the press release describes it:

The CEP is a comprehensive program to modernize Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) over the next 12-15 years. It is an investment in airfield, terminal and cargo projects and will improve operational efficiencies, enhance customer experiences and increase the region’s global connectivity at one of the nation’s busiest airports.

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