Adventures in Home Buying: Here Is the House That We Own

FEAT

We’d spent months traipsing through strangers’ houses. We’d navigated enough of East Falls to count off the cozy street names by memory (some day, someone will explain to me how a true Fallser is meant to pronounce “Vaux”). In aggregate we’d probably spent entire days with our mortgage advisor. But even with a settlement date in sight — even after the appraisal was worked out — it hardly felt real.

Our closing was scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. The night before — mindful of having only two weeks between settlement and move to do things like clean, paint and furniture shop — we found ourselves at a suburban Home Depot, standing in front of a wall of interior paint samples. In a sea of technicolor options, we were united on French Silver and Caribe. Still, as the sales associate was having the colors mixed and we were choosing paint rollers, it did not feel real.

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Suit Corner Is Engulfed By Fire

suit-cornerFirst it was Shirt Corner, the iconic clothing retailer at Third and Market. The retailer went out of business, the building was slated for redevelopment, the redevelopment was scrapped due to structural issues, then it (unexpectedly?) collapsed during demolition. Fans of historical buildings and classic type mourn.

Now, across the street, Suit Corner — which also had a similarly iconic facade, but was still serving customers after 50+ years — has gone up in flames. The fire started this morning, and has apparently destroyed the business, according to news reports.

For more on this story and for updates as it develops, head over to Philly Mag News & Opinion: Suit Corner Fire Is Under Control (Updated)

Image of Suit Corner via Google Street View.

You Can Now Own a Chunk of the City’s Website, Basically

Chris Sawyer over at philadelinquency has performed another of his data dumps (in a good way) this year by releasing three files that you can download and own. Here’s what he’s got:

1. OPA RECORDS.csv – contains all the basic characteristics of each property in Philadelphia, its owners, the OPA mailing address, and summary information from the Department of Revenue

2. REVENUE RECORDS.csv – contains the full entire listing for every OPA account number in the OPA RECORDS file as you see it when you browse the Department of Revenue’s property tax website.

3. VALUATION RECORDS.csv – contains a history of valuation changes for all OPA accounts that are listed in the OPA RECORDS file, including tax exemption codes and historical assessments.

Once the files are downloaded, they’re yours to keep, so you don’t have to go digging around phila.gov to get the info. Which can be exhausting.

Downloads are here.

Tetris on the Cira Centre Tomorrow Night

Cira Centre PongTo kick off this year’s Philly Tech Week, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have partnered to bring another mega-size video game, Tetris, to the exterior of the iconic Cira Centre next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. It’s too late to enter the lottery for a chance to actually play, but everyone will be able to watch as the game takes over both sides of the angular tower tomorrow evening.

During Tech Week last year, lucky players stationed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art got to play Pong on the north side of the building. That game got into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Largest Architectural Video Game Display”: it utilized 460 already installed LEDs over 59,800 square feet of the tower’s north side. This year’s game is set to top that: players will use both the north and south sides of the building to play simultaneously—against each other or cooperatively—with one set of players stationed at Eakins Oval outside the Art Museum, and the other at Drexel.

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Morning Headlines: Renderings of Proposed South Street Homes Released by JKR Partners

1430 homes

Renderings by JKR Partners via Naked Philly.

A five-story building with 32 residential units and some retail is proposed for a lot previously used by the Jamaican Jerk Hut on the 1400 block of South Street. This mixed-use project will also be accompanied by three single-family homes and a carriage house (to be constructed directly behind it on Kater Street).

JKR Partners designed the buildings, but may yet have to do some tweaking in coming weeks before anything is set in stone. As brokers for the project, OFC Realty has published project renderings on their website, Naked Philly, and are asking for feedback.

We’ve Got Renderings of the New South Street West Project [Naked Philly]

More news this way…

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L.A. Company Buys Walnut Street Home of Tiramisu

Rittenhouse Square BuildingPhiladelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports that Los Angeles real estate company Blatteis & Schnur has purchased a small building on Walnut Street just blocks from Rittenhouse Square for $6.2 million. The 8,500 square foot building is home to the restaurant Tiramisu, which was run by the building’s former owner, Albert Shah, and plans to move out within the next few months.

Kostelni reports that Blatteis & Schnur are, unsurprisingly, looking for a high-end retailer to fill the space, which sits between Govberg Jewelers and Barbour. High-end retailers have become increasingly interested in this posh stretch of Walnut, which according to the Center City District saw rents rise a whopping 33.8% last year.

Nearby, the Barney’s Co-Op may become a Barney’s New York, Nordstrom Rack is reportedly opening this fall, and demolition work has begun to make way for a glassy new Cheesecake Factory/Uniqlo building.

Photo: Google Street View

Morning Headlines: Art Commission Approves Stern Redesign of Museum of American Revolution

Former rendering of the future museum.

Former rendering of the future museum.

It’s not set in stone, but the redesign of the Museum of the American Revolution has received approval from Philadelphia’s Art Commission, which sent Robert A.M. Stern architects back to the drawing board last February. Can you spot the differences between the old design (above) and the new one below?:

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NoLibs Neighbors Split Down Middle on Dwell

The warehouse that would be demolished if Dwell Northern Liberties gets built. Photo: Sandy Smith.

The warehouse that would be demolished if Dwell Northern Liberties gets built. Photo: Sandy Smith.

It might seem strange that in the neighborhood the Piazza finally put on the map once and for all, residents still have problems swallowing large apartment buildings.

But it took Bart Blatstein about two years and dozens of meetings like the one the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association held on March 26 to get the Piazza into its final form. And if that March 26 meeting is any guide, NoLibs resident Clay Chandler, CEO of The Klein Company, can expect to have several more himself before his company’s Dwell Northern Liberties development finally makes its way through the zoning variance gauntlet.

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Morning Headlines: Building Artwork Collapses in Chinatown

Screenshot of the artwork at 9th and Race via Google Street View

Screenshot of the artwork at 9th and Race via Google Street View

Tenants living on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of a building on the corner of 9th and Race must have had a rude awakening this morning. At about 4:30am, a piece of artwork attached to the side of the building collapsed and shattered on the sidewalk.

Although there were no injuries, occupants were evacuated as a precaution. L&I was also on the scene, assessing damage to the structure and making sure it was safe.

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