Philly One of the Most Overpriced Cities of 2015?

Would Philly even be on here if it weren’t for Nashville, Kansas City, Little Rock, New Orleans, and others being knocked off for lack of sufficient data? Who knows, but as it stands, it’s in at no. 24 on Forbes’ “America’s Most Overpriced Cities In 2015″ list.

According to writer Erin Carlyle, the list was compiled after singling out the largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (i.e. “cities and their surrounding suburbs as defined by the Office of Management and Budget”), and then examining their most recent housing stats (in this case, 2014’s fourth quarter), as provided by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. “The quarterly index weighs median prices for homes sold against median income levels to determine the percentage of homes that are affordable to residents making the median income,” writes Carlyle.

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Morning Headlines: Will We Find Out the Fate of UEDs This Week?

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

This one on South Broad Street isn’t happening.

There’s a good chance that you’re tired of hearing about Urban Experiential Displays (UEDs) by now. Whether you’re for or against the six-story ‘huge televisions on a stick,’ as Mary C. Tracy of Scenic Philadelphia recently called them, it’s time we figure out if they’re just some wacky proposal or if we’re actually going to have to see these things on the streets of our city. City Council is expected to vote on the bill on Thursday that would create special ‘UED Urban Experiential Display Overlay Control District’ that allow UEDs.

While the UED situation is still up in the air, Read more »

Report: L&I Allowed Uncertified Inspectors to Conduct 600 Inspections in One Week

Image via Google Street View

L&I main office on 11th floor of Municipal Services Building | Image via Google Street View

Questionable goings-on in L&I land again? It depends on whom you ask. According to the Inquirer’s Alfred Lubrano, the Department of Licenses and Inspections allowed nine “inexperienced and uncertified inspectors” to conduct “around 600 inspections of unsafe buildings in a single week last month.” Adding to the murky affair, each of the nine newbies “then recorded their work in L&I’s database under the name of another man, an experienced inspector with the agency.”

Could this be a symptom of the department’s desperate attempt to stay on top in an ocean of bureaucraticfinancial and/or managerial issues? Maybe. But the department already has a less than stellar reputation (even City Controller Alan Butkovitz has critiqued L&I as being neglectful when it comes to inspecting unsafe buildings in a timely manner), so why this now? “This story is built on a host of unnamed speakers, who raise a host of safety and legal issues that are completely without merit,” said Commission Carlton Williams in an email to Property. He went on to explain the process:

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Wawa Coming to Former Robinson Luggage Spot on Broad Street

UPDATE (11:12 a.m.):

Mike Gorman of Metro Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the deal on behalf of the landlord, confirmed that Wawa is under contract for the space. “If everything moves forward as it should, I think it’s going to be a fantastic location.”

In fact, it looks like this use permit reaffirms the Wawa news.

RETAIL SALE OF FOOD BEVERAGES AND GROCERIES ON THE GROUND FLOOR OF AN EXISTING BUILDING WITH PREVIOUSLY APPROVED USES.

ORIGINAL POST (9:42 a.m.):

There was one tweet that caught our Shorti-lovin’ attention this weekend. It came from our favorite foul-mouthed Philly blogger:

Turns out, that’s more than mere rumor. Michael Klein of The Inquirer reports that the 5,300 square-foot space is “under contract” and the grab-and-go giant “is working to obtain approvals in time for an April 16 announcement.” Read more »

Morning Headlines: Archdiocese to Demolish Fishtown’s Saint Laurentius Church

st laurentius church

Photo: Google Street View.

Saint Laurentius Catholic Church has seen some things in it 133-year existence on the corner of East Memphis and Berks Street in Fishtown. Many a mass, wedding, baptism and funeral have occurred underneath its iconic twin steeples, but the last two years have not been kind to the former place of worship, especially its beautiful, yet failing, structure.  In a letter read as mass on Sunday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that the church founded in 1882 will soon be demolished.

According to The Inquirer, the church has been in rapid structural decline since it merged with Holy Name of Jesus parish in September 2013 and closed altogether in March 2014 due to safety concerns.  The letter from the the Archdiocese, dated March 22, says it weighed the structural issues with cost of repairs ($3.5 million) against the cost of demolition ($1 million) and that “the decision was not made lightly.” Saint Laurentius School will remain open.

St. Laurentius, beloved Polish church in Fishtown, to be demolished [The Inquirer]

More Headlines:

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Just Listed: Connor Barwin’s Super-Cool Rittenhouse Condo

Left: Jeff Fusco | Right: BHHS Fox   Roach, Center City Walnut

Left: Jeff Fusco | Listing Images by OBEO Photographers via TREND/BHHS Fox & Roach, Center City Walnut

Connor Barwin, everyone’s favorite world-changing, bike-riding, Jane Jacobs-quoting member of the Philadelphia Eagles, just listed his super-cool condo in Rittenhouse for $1.25 million. Don’t freak out, Eagles fans. We know the past few weeks have been wild and crazy, but Barwin’s not going anywhere, except for some new digs of course.

As you know, Barwin’s style skews towards a hipstery/millennial/guy-with-great-hair kind of vibe, and it certainly shows in his home (note the Miles Davis poster and eclectic furniture). Read more »

Property’s Photo of the Week: Philadelphia’s Tower of Invisibility

We found this gem easy-peasy thanks to Instagrammer jmurdock.jr tagging his cool shot of the Comcast Center with #phillyscape. Who would have thought Philly’s tallest skyscraper (for now, anyway) would be–dare we say it?–almost invisible?

Rise and shine. #philly #centercity #comcast #skyscraper #philadelphia #phillyscape

A photo posted by John Murdock (@jmurdock.jr) on

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New York Real Estate Agent With Philly Ties Killed by Flying Plywood Fencing

A construction site at 175 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village has been shut down indefinitely after a 4-foot-by-8-foot piece of plywood blew off of its surrounding security fence and killed a woman walking on the street. Police say that Tina Nguyen, 37, a New York-based real estate agent with Keller Williams, was talking on her phone around 5:50 p.m. Tuesday evening when heavy winds sent the board hurtling across the street. It struck Nguyen with such force that it threw her into the wall of a parking garage. She was later pronounced dead at 9:12 p.m. at Bellevue Hospital Center.

According to The New York Times, the New York City Buildings Department issued Environmental Control Board violations to contractor Turner Construction for “failure to safeguard the property and for failing to provide plans for its construction fence.” A spokesperson for Turner said that “safety on or around our job sites is always our No. 1 priority.” Turner is cooperating with authorities and the construction site, a 200-unit condo complex called Greenwich Lane, has had numerous “serious” building violations, according to the New York Daily News: Read more »

Saved: Infusion of Funds Means Germantown YWCA Won’t Be Demolished

Photo | Jill Saull

Photo | Jill Saull

Good news for those of your following along with the situation at the historic Germantown YWCA. Councilwoman Cindy Bass will assign $2.2 million in Neighborhood Transformation Initiative funds in order to renovate and weatherize the building. That means it won’t face the wrecking ball. In fact, a second life could soon be in the cards for the building adjacent Vernon Park.

The physical state of the vacant neighborhood landmark was in rapid decline Read more »

Morning Headlines: Is The Gallery Still on Track After Hostile Takeover Bid?

 

The Gallery has been all over the news lately. The beloved 2 Street Cafe closed its doors for good this past weekend and now comes word that Macerich, co-investor with PREIT in the redevelopment at The Gallery, shot down an attempted $16 billion hostile takeover bid by Simon Property Group, the largest mall operator in the nation.

The Associated Press is reporting that Simon, who recently renovated Franklin Mills into Philadelphia Mills, approached Macerich about the deal earlier this month. Macerich refused the deal, citing that it undervalued their company, wasn’t a good fit for their shareholders and could even violate antitrust laws. So does this power grab sidetrack the project at The Gallery?

After Simon made its bid for Macerich, PREIT spokeswoman Heather Crowell said the offer did not “change either the plans or the schedule for the redevelopment of the Gallery.”

Phew!

More headline action this way:

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