Cherry on Top: Parkway Complex With Mega Whole Foods “Tops Out” Today

The Dalian

Rodin Square/The Dalian on the Park site from September | Photo: James Jennings

The development scene on the Ben Franklin Parkway is booming these days as multiple big-time projects–including a revamped luxury hotel, over 1,000 apartments, bridge and park improvements and more–are bringing all kinds of attention to Philly’s cultural corridor.

One such project, a massive mixed-use development dubbed Rodin Square, takes up about a full city block on a three-acre parcel bound by 21st ad 22nd streets, and Spring Garden Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street (map). Dalian Development and International Financial Company (IFC), along with INTECH Construction, will officially “top out” the project today at a ceremony slated for noon.

The event will take place on the tricked-out “Skydeck” amenity terrance overlooking the Parkway, and mark a milestone in the construction process for the $160 million project. The groundbreaking took place in August 2014, and construction is expected to fully wrap up in summer of 2016. The apartments will be ready soon thereafter, but you’ll have to wait a tad longer for the gigantic Whole Foods Market to arrive–it’s scheduled to open in fall 2016.

So what will we have when the proverbial dust has settled? Let’s just say you can expect some big things.
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Glam It Up: Makeover of 40th Street Trolley Portal to Start in 2016

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

In case you missed it, the University City District has published its latest State of University City report, an annually-released compendium of the developments bubbling up in University City. The guide spotlights several sectors in U.C., among them academic, commercial, and residential, as well as the impact UCD itself has on this section of the city.

With relation to the latter, the release of the report came with the announcement that the 40th Street Trolley Portal transformation would be seeing its groundbreaking take place next year.

We previously reported the makeover project, spearheaded by UCD in partnership with SEPTA, the city, and neighborhood leaders, came with the aim of turning the bleak station into a lively social space with greenery and stormwater infrastructure, movable furniture, and arts and cultural programming.

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For Rent: Port Richmond’s Pan-Dandy Ghost Sign Apartment

"Kolb's Pan-Dandy Bread" sign | Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.

BEFORE: “Kolb’s Pan-Dandy Bread” sign| Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.

Lookin’ for a unique pad to rent in Port Richmond? The apartment with the 100-year-old ghost sign is now for rent. The Somers Team pinged us on Twitter to let us know that the place is now completed, and the 2-bed, 2-bath apartment is going for $1,250 per month.

Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. snapped a bunch of great shots of the vintage Kolb’s Bakery sign during construction. Now, it’s the focal point of the bedroom. In short, it’s gorgeous.

The finished product looks super clean and sports and industrial look, especially because of the sign, the bottom portion of which looks to be incorporated into the shared landed and mail area.

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Rittenhouse Coffee Shop Spared, Its Two Neighbors Still on Chopping Block

The Rittenhouse Coffee Shop on the 1900 block of Sansom Street

The Rittenhouse Coffee Shop on the 1900 block of Sansom Street

We’ve devoted quite a bit of time to the 1911 Walnut project already. The fact that something, anything, was going to happen at the lot was one of our bold predictions for 2015, so it’s only natural that we check in on any and every happening with the project. Well, news is starting to come fast and furious and it’s been a mixed bag of sorts, especially on the preservation front.

As you probably know, Southern Land Company bought the massive L-shaped assemblage in February for $30 million and recently submitted an application to the Historical Commission to demolish a trio of buildings on the 1900 block of Sansom Street, the northern border of the property. The list includes the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop, the Warwick apartment building, and the O.H.Bair Funeral Home. The developer has claimed economic hardship and cited that it would be too costly to revive the handsome structures, even though they told us in February that they intended “to work with the historic commission to restore the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop and Warwick.”

Well, it looks like they’ve done a slight about-face, as the company announced on Friday that they’ve pulled back the demo application for one of the three buildings, specifically the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop.

“As a result of meetings with officials from the Preservation Alliance and the Center City Residents’ Association task force, Southern Land Company, as a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to principles of historic preservation, will withdraw its application to the Historical Commission for the demolition of the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop.”

However, as per the next sentence in the release, we also learn that its neighbors aren’t necessarily so lucky: “The previously submitted applications for the severely deteriorated Warwick apartment building and Oliver Bair funeral home will remain in place.”

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SugarHouse Makes $1 Million Dollar Donation to Neighborhood Nonprofit

Left to right: Rich Levins, vice chairman of PTSSD; Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino; A.J. Thomson, president of the Friends of Penn Treaty Park; and Rich Angeli, chairman of the PTSSD | Image courtesy of SugarHouse Casino

Left to right: Rich Levins, vice chairman of PTSSD; Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino; A.J. Thomson, president of the Friends of Penn Treaty Park; and Rich Angeli, chairman of the PTSSD | Image courtesy of SugarHouse Casino

The SugarHouse Casino has made good on a pledge it had committed to over the summer: an annual contribution of $1 million to the Penn Treaty Special Services District (PTSSD), a nonprofit that gives grants and sponsorships to organizations providing charitable benefits to the neighborhoods of Fishtown, South Kensington, Old Richmond, and Northern Liberties.

According to a press release, the SugarHouse contributions will go to funding community-based projects that will help improve the quality of life for those residents living in the neighborhoods surrounding the casino.

“We are grateful to receive this continued and increased support from SugarHouse,” said PTSSD board chairman Rick Angeli during the check presentation ceremony on Monday. “The larger contribution has allowed the PTSSD to advance operations and evolve our grant-making to include more projects that will continue to improve these neighborhoods.”

Since opening in 2010, SugarHouse has contributed $3.6 million to PTSSD.

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Schuylkill River Trail Update: Bartram’s Mile to Break Ground November 23rd

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey

Would you like to see the Schuylkill River Trail become just a wee bit longer? Well, mark your calendars, folks, because the long-planned Bartram’s Mile trail, the future mile-long section of the Schuylkill River Trail, will break ground this Monday, November 23rd.

Commencing at 11:00am, the Monday groundbreaking will take place at Bartram’s Mile North and will count Mayor Michael Nutter, elected officials, Bartram’s Garden Executive Director Maitreyi Roy and others as speakers. The event is open to the public and will include light refreshments and ample free street parking. (Further details here.)

Image courtesy of SRDC | More renderings below.

Bartram’s Mile is set to run along the west Schuylkill riverbank from Grays Ferry Avenue to 56th Street and will eventually link to to the Schuylkill River Trail, thereby extending trail access to Southwest Philadelphia and historic Bartram’s Garden. How will this happen? Well, because Bartram’s Mile will be on the Schuylkill’s western bank (the first segment of the trail to be on this side), it will have to connect to the Gray’s Ferry Crescent trail on the eastern bank by way of a novel, though not unheard of, method: a swing bridge.

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Sky-High Condos Aren’t the Only Piece of Two Liberty Place That’s For Sale

Last time we checked in on Two Liberty Place, we took you behind the scenes for an inside peek at the ongoing construction and newly completed (and spectacular) model residential units. While one of those puppies will set you back anywhere between $800,000 and over $2,500,000, they’re not the only chunk of the building that’s currently on the market.

According to a report from Jacob Adelman of The Inquirer, Parkway Properties has put the office space up for sale as the Florida-based REIT looks “to focus on its core portfolio of assets in the southeastern United States.”

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Green Roof Incentive Bill Gets Thumbs Up From Council

A photo posted by katep629 (@katep629) on

The newly opened Cira Green in University City sits atop a parking garage between the FMC Tower and evo apartment building like some sort of amazing proto-Jetsonian green space – and we’re dying to pay it a visit. At least, that’s how the photos (one of them included above) taken at the new public roof-top park make us feel.

What’s more, it has both built-in blue roof and green roof systems, which means stormwater management and grass and other greenery, respectively, will help reduce at least some of the negative environmental impact the buildings have. Managed stormwater runoff, for example, helps alleviate some of the pollution that enters our waterways.

As you can see, green roofs can be pretty beneficial, which is why it should come as little surprise that City Council’s Committee on Rules recently voted in favor of approving a bill that encourages developers building within RM-1, CMX-2, and CMX-2.5 districts to include them in their projects. Huzzah!

Introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, the bill would allow developers to build more than previously approved units within these designated zoning districts if – and only if – they include approved green roofs. Sayeth PlanPhilly:

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Beyond 500 Walnut: Scannapieco Plans Second “Ultra-Luxury” Enclave in New Hope

Here's the setup of the Residences at Rabbit Run Creek | via Scannapieco Development Corporation

Here’s the setup of the Residences at Rabbit Run Creek | via Scannapieco Development Corporation

500 Walnut isn’t yet out of the ground and Tom Scannapieco, president and CEO of Scannapieco Development Corporation, already has his sights on his next project, and it’s one that will bring him “full circle,” so to speak.

That’s right, the ultra-luxury developer is going back to New Hope in Bucks County, and this time it’s in the form of a 37-unit townhome project called The Residences at Rabbit Run Creek.

According to a recent press release, site work is already underway and phase one, which include the first 10 homes (including a model), will open sometime in “late spring 2016.” If you’re keeping score at home, that’s almost a full year before 500 Walnut opens its doors to high-end (and possibly the highest-of-end) buyers in the Philadelphia marketplace.

The 23-acre plot of land is located entirely in New Hope near the lower field at Pat Livezey Park, but it directly borders Solebury Township. Reports began to circulate in late August that site work was starting to take place, and a notice for rock blasting went out beginning in early September, according to Charlie Sahner of New Hope Free Press.

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Someone Has Bought Dana Spain’s Mediterranean Villa Home in South Philly

TREND photos via Redfin

TREND photos via Redfin

Holy moly, the day has finally come: someone has bought that mysterious manse at Fitzwater and Marshall Streets in Bella Vista.

But hold on a second there, reader. If you’ve been following along on Property, or have been one of the lucky people fortunate enough to have been invited to step foot inside the Mediterranean villa-inspired home, you’ve known exactly who’s lived there for the past few years: local developer and branding queen – not to mention Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society founder and former Philadelphia Style COO and would-be mayoral candidate – Dana Spain.

The Philly business maven originally listed her South Philly property early last year for a whopping $4.25 million. This past April, it was reduced to $3.75 million and, now, we’ve gotten word that the home got a third price cut, which eventually led to its purchase in a deal that closed on Friday.

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