Partial Building Collapse Near Temple University, No Injuries Reported

It was a scary scene near Temple University today as a building partially collapsed around 11 a.m. near the intersection of 18th and Page streets.  The Philadelphia Police Department said that the vacant building at 2020 North 18th Street was being renovated by city workers at the time of the accident. Video from CBS 3’s Chopper 3 showed part of the roof had caved in and a significant portion of the front facade was ripped off. Damage to the adjacent rowhome at 2018 North 18th Street, an apartment building housing Temple students can be seen as well. No one was home at the time of the accident and no injuries have been reported thus far.

City records show Read more »

The Five “Jane’s Walk” Tours in Philadelphia You Should Definitely Go To

Order and variety in Queen Village. | Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

Order and variety in Queen Village. | Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

If senioritis kicked in early when you were in college and you subsequently “forgot” to do the assigned The Death and Life of American Great Cities reading, now’s your chance to semi-redeem yourself: Jane’s Walk will happen in Philly this weekend. You should go.

Hold up. What’s Jane’s Walk? Glad you asked, friend. It’s a multi-day event inspired by writer/activist Jane Jacobs and involves a series of locally-organized walking tours in cities throughout the world. The free excursions delve into urbanist issues and examine their respective city’s walkability, hidden histories, and neighborhood corridors. This year, PlanPhilly’s Ashley Hahn was the Jane’s Walk Philadelphia organizer.

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Building Bump-Outs Will Bring Dining (and Possibly Retail) to Market Street West

1835 Market could get some new glassy storefronts. | Photo: James Jennings

1835 Market could get some new glassy storefronts. | Photo: James Jennings

It looks as though there’s a mini battle happening between Market Street East and Market Street West. Thanks to projects at The Gallery and East Market, you know all about Market East’s resurgence. Head west a few blocks, and there are potentially two additions to office buildings at 1700 and 1835 Market Street that could liven up the street scenes in the office district.

MSC Retail recently sent out some interesting information regarding both sites. 1700 Market Street, a 32-story Class A office tower anchored by Deloitte, would expand its footprint into the plaza that runs along 17th Street between Market and Ludlow. According to city records, the addition would have three restaurant spaces (one quick serve), office, retail and commercial uses. Read more »

Headlines: Could New Dorms Help Local Penn State Branches Compete?

penn-state-marquee

Universities around the city are rapidly expanding their footprint in order to give their institution the edge when it comes to attracting students and faculty. We know all about the boom at Penn, Drexel and Temple. Now, it’s a few local Penn State branches that are looking to get into the action.

Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that two satellite campuses–Abington and Brandywine in Media–are developing plans to construct new dorms “as a way to compete for students and give them a traditional college experience.” Both schools offer four year degrees and some students don’t want to make the move up to Happy Valley. That doesn’t mean they want to commute from home or miss out of the magical experience of living in the dorms.

Kostelni reports that the Brandywine plan is further along at this point. The $40 million project would contain a four-story residence hall with 248 beds. Plans also call for the construction of a “two-story student affairs center that would have a dining facility, health center, recreational facilities as well as other operations needed to support on-campus living.” Construction could start as early as 2016 and be completed by fall 2017.

Penn State to build dorms on Philadelphia-area campuses [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Citified to the Rescue (and More Headlines):

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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 »

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