Philadelphia Commuting Patterns Show a Minor Sway in the Balance

Screenshot of a new commuting map from

Screenshot of a new commuting map from

Could we be bike lanes away from turning Philadelphia into a full on bike-to-work city? Over half of Philly commuters still opt to take the car instead of SEPTA or a bike when it comes to going to work, but that’s not to say the balance isn’t swaying even just a little, according to Patrick Kerkstra over at Citified:

Philly is growing less reliant on car commuting, however. The city estimates that total vehicle miles traveled in Philadelphia declined 8.6 percent between 2005 and 2014. SEPTA ridership dipped slightly last year, but it’s still at strong levels compared to the past.

We highly recommend you read his full post (link below), which also takes a look at how the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is making strides in the biking to work department.

Philadelphia Commuters Are Slowly, Slowly Giving Up Their Cars [Citified]

Report: Partial Roof Collapse Injures Three Inside Center City Lululemon Store

Multiple reports are stating that three people were injured when bricks from an adjacent building crashed through the roof of the Lululemon store at 1527 Walnut Street. According to 6abc, the incident took place around 3:30 p.m. and three women sustained minor injures.

Be Well, our sister site, has more details:

According to the city, everyone has been accounted for. But in response to the partial collapse, it says, “Traffic is temporarily being diverted from the area around 15th and Walnut Streets. Motorists can expect residual delays. Septa bus routes have been impacted as well.”

Report: 3 Hurt in Partial Roof Collapse at Lululemon Center City [Be Well]

There’s a Cool Time-Juggling Sculpture Outside of PAFA Right Now

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts building (yes, that iconic Frank Furness designed structure on North Broad) now has a head-turning addition: a 16-foot sculpture called “Young Punch Juggling” by artist Robert Taplin.

According to NewsWorks‘ Peter Crimmins, the installation is “the second in an ongoing series of temporary sculptures” that will be situated on the iconic building’s façade. PAFA’s museum director says the sculpture, which shows Punch juggling objects from different time periods, was designed with the building in mind. From NewsWorks:

[Harry] Philbrick asked Talpin to create a sculpture that responds to the building. Famed architect Frank Furness designed it in 1875 as his own contemporary response to traditional: he made a steel-trussed building with a classic Gothic Revival façade, including a sculpture platform over the front door – a plinth.

Here’s a look at the sculpture going up…

Morning Headlines: Building That Houses Spruce Food Market Has Been Sold

There's a parking garage just above that beautiful sign. | Photo: James Jennings

There’s a parking garage just above that beautiful sign. | Photo: James Jennings

Want to know the going rate for a 175-vehicle parking garage that also houses one of the most recognizable signs in Center City? Apparently, it’s “roughly $7.2M,” according to a report in the Philadelphia Business Journal.

An affiliate of Post Bros. purchased the building from CLL Towne Inc. and will be used to supplement the adaptive reuse project at 260 S. Broad St. That project will see the Atlantic Building transformed into a high-end residential building with ground floor retail and, let’s not forget, beautiful designs from starchitecture firm Rafael Viñoly Architects.

As for the sale of Spruce Food Market space and above garage, there’s a interesting note at the bottom of the article:

The structure does have air rights that would allow it to be expanded by about 50,000 square feet but that’s “just an added bonus,” [developer Matt Pestronk of Post Bros.] said and not the long-term play.

Center City parking garage where Spruce Foods is located sells for $7.2M [Philadelphia Business Journal]

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You Have a Say in the Development Changes in Store for South Philly

Photo credit: pwbaker via Flickr.

Photo credit: pwbaker via Flickr.

Think Philadelphia’s South District (i.e., Grays Ferry, East Passyunk, Point Breeze, Pennsport, and Whitman) has a dearth in parks? How can the population boom be handled better? And for the love of William Penn, what’s up with Snyder Station?

Whatever your issues with the area, these weak points (as well as its positive features) will be discussed in greater detail at the next Philadelphia2035 planning meeting on February 9th.

According to Taylor Farnsworth at the Passyunk Post, Phila2035’s first South District meeting took place in December, an assembly that found locals voicing the following pros and cons…

Late February Demolition Anticipated for University City High School Building

After reaching out to a Drexel University’s Director of Media Relations, we’ve received word that the former University City High School building is facing a possible late February demolition.

The news comes after the above photo, which is that of the former Charles Drew Elementary School, surfaced on Instagram. Charles Drew, along with the now demolished Walnut Center, is on the 14-acre property comprising the UCHS site, which Drexel and Wexford Science & Technology purchased last year.

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Morning Headlines: Stalled Apartment Project Near Clark Park Will Meet the Neighbors, Again

Rendering of 4224 Baltimore Avenue. Photo credit: U3 Ventures.

Rendering of 4224 Baltimore Avenue.
Photo credit: U3 Ventures.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Developers of an apartment project at 4224 Baltimore Ave. will meet with the community to discuss their plans for a 132-unit mixed-use complex. Well, that will be the case again tonight as the Zoning Committee Spruce Hill Community Association will officially hear what more developers U3 Advisors have to say about the stalled project at 43rd and Baltimore Ave. near Clark Park, reports West Philly Local.

The project evolved from a series of neighborhood meetings and was discussed at an open meeting of Spruce Hill zoning last spring. Now that a formal application has been made, the project development team, U3 Advisors, are required to have public meetings with neighbors through community associations.

You may recall that the developers had been meeting with and seeking input from neighbors before having a design for the project, something that even the venerable Inga Saffron marveled at in one of her features of the project.

Saffron’s other feature explains why this project hasn’t seen any movement since April: councilmanic prerogative. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell had refused to sign off on zoning changes to the site in order for the above design (with retail and upscale, non-student oriented apartments) by Cecil Baker + Partners to be built.  Instead, as Saffron points out, the project could only be made profitable under current zoning with a “blocky, three-story apartment house that would be crammed with dormlike units.”

In other words, stay tuned.

A meeting Monday for community input on the big 4224 Baltimore Ave. project [West Philly Local]

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Property’s Weekend Agenda: The Philadelphia Home Show

Photo of The Painted Home show room at the Philadelphia Home Show, courtesy of Denise Sabia.

Photo of The Painted Home show room at the Philadelphia Home Show, courtesy of Denise Sabia.

Whether you’re  in the midst of giving your home a makeover (or simply considering it), this weekend’s Philadelphia Home Show remains a must-attend event.

This year, the show’s title is “Renew, Refresh and Restore Your Home,” which speaks to the exhibit’s emphasis on splendiferous home design, architecture, and landscaping. Feel free to check out all the design show rooms and ask questions only experts can answer!

The full roster of exhibtors can be found here, but notable designers set to make appearances include Denise Sabia from “The Painted Home” and Jeff Devlin from DIY’s I Hate My Bath and HGTV’s Spice Up My Kitchen.

You can check out more info about the Home Show and work by Bobbie Tilkens-Fisher  (At Home Modern) and Sabia–a resident of the Philadelphia suburbs with three brick and mortar locations in Doylestown, Erdenheim and Ambler–in the gallery below.

(Psst. Here’s how you can park for free for the Home Show.)

Plus, bonus free parking info!

Morning Headlines: Suit Claims Society Hill Condo Used in Sex-for-Rent Affair

421 Pine Street, via Google Street View

421 Pine Street, via Google Street View

So here’s a bizarre story to start off your Friday morning. According to Morgan Zalot of the Daily News, a “high-powered Brooklyn real-estate mogul” named Stuart Venner drew up a 40-year lease for his mistress to live in a Society Hill condo near 5th and Pine Street, probably not an uncommon story.

However, it’s way more complicated than a simple woman-on-the-side type affair:

But this wasn’t just any lease, the suit claims: The agreement allegedly allowed defendant Panadda Pratomtang to rent the property for $1 a month until 2053 “in return for her providing prostitution services to Board Member, [Stuart] Venner.”

To top it off, Venner named his wife, Grace Chang Venner, as the manager of a real-estate business called “421 Pine LLC.” Yes, that’s the address of the house and yes, that’s pretty much how Venner got caught in the act.

Venner told the Daily News that the allegations were “ridiculous … I don’t know anything about this.” The suit seeks the lease agreement to be terminated, attorney’s fees and punitive damages for Grace Chang Venner.

Wife’s lawsuit: Mistress paid for Society Hill condo with sex [Daily News]

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This Is What Philadelphia Will Look Like in 15 Years

Screenshot via the Urban Land Institute

Screenshot via the Urban Land Institute

No, this isn’t a look at how Philly might advance technologically, (do you really think flying cars will be zooming down the Schuylkill Expressway in 2030?) rather, it’s a glimpse at how our germinating population (which has surely proved itself as one of the main driving forces behind all the retail projects and new constructions sprouting up), will continue to shape over the course of fifteen years.

Using ever-useful “historical trends and census data”, The Urban Land Institute has developed a nifty interactive tool (you can zoom into various cities and alter data trends like birth and death rates for different outcomes) that shows us how continuing population shifts will affect us.

The results? It’s estimated that the Greater Philadelphia Area could see a 6.50 percent population increase.

Below, a screenshot of the Urban Land Institute’s guess for what the demographic changes this growth entails.

H/T: See What Your City Will Be Like in 15 Years [City Lab]

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