Big Plans Announced to Jumpstart Wayne Junction

The buildings being renovated by Philly Office Retail via the Wayne Junction Revitalization Project, plus other privately owned buildings in the vicinity Philly Office Retail President Ken Weinstein is trying to prod their owners into rehabilitating. | Photos: Sandy Smith

At least this diner won’t be called the Trolley Car.

But the Trolley Car’s owner plans to open another one as one of the first pieces of a multi-part jigsaw puzzle which, when completed, aims to turn the derelict industrial properties around Wayne Junction station into a mixed-use activity hub at the hinge where Germantown and Nicetown meet.

In a press conference this morning (Tuesday, Sept. 19th), Philly Office Retail President Ken Weinstein outlined his $12 million-plus strategy to get Wayne Junction moving forward with a $7.4 million assist from Mosaic Development Partners. The project aims to rehabilitate and reuse seven buildings and lots on the blocks surrounding Wayne Junction station, with Mosaic converting an eighth into a mixed-use residential/office/retail complex. Read more »

Hamilton Construction Gets Under Way With Ceremonial Brick-Breaking

(Left to right) Community College of Philadelphia Board Chairman Jeremiah White, Jr, CCP President Donald Generals, Radnor Property Group President David Yeager, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Logan Square Neighborhood Association President Drew Murray and City Council member Allan Domb broke chunks of brick wall at today’s “demolition” ceremony to mark the start of construction on the first phase of The Hamilton. | Photo: HughE Dillon

Philadelphia City Council members, Community College of Philadelphia officials, and executives of Radnor Property Group gathered before an invited audience this morning (Sept. 12th) to mark the official start of construction on the first phase of The Hamilton, RPG’s $150 million mixed-use development.

They did so in what remains of the former Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newsprint transfer facility by swinging sledgehammers into ceremonial chunks of brick wall salvaged from the partially demolished structure.

The portion still standing will become the parking garage, amenity floor and outdoor terrace for the first of the two apartment buildings. Atop this one-story, high-ceilinged base will rise a nine-story, C-shaped apartment tower. In addition to the building lobby, amenities and a 150-space parking garage, the base will also contain 1,600 square feet of retail space. Read more »

Might There Be a Trader Joe’s in Queen Village’s Future?

trader-joes-car-line

Cars and patrons both wait in long lines to shop at Center City’s one Trader Joe’s. Might relief be on its way in the form of a second store in Queen Village? | Photo: Dan Quade

Anyone who has shopped at the one Trader Joe’s store in Center City Philadelphia knows that it often gets crazy busy.

That would seem to argue for the German-owned specialty grocer (it’s owned by the other Aldi) to scout for more possible store locations in the city to serve what’s obviously very high demand.

Today, the OCF Realty blog reports that it has caught wind of reports that TJ’s is doing just that.

Read more »

A First Look at The New Aloft Philadelphia Downtown Hotel

The south side of the former Liberty Title & Trust banking hall houses the Aloft Hotel’s check-in desk (foreground) and re:mix, its lounge and “business center.” | Photos: Sandy Smith

Philadelphia’s first W Hotel isn’t set to open until early next year, but its second entry from W’s slimmer stablemate, Aloft, will open its doors to its first guests this Thursday afternoon (Aug. 31st).

The Aloft Philadelphia Downtown Hotel occupies the old Liberty Title & Trust Company building at the northeast corner of Broad and Arch streets — the one building that was spared the wrecking ball when the 100 block of North Broad Street was cleared to make way for an expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Italianate Art Deco tower, it turns out, made a great space for a hotel. The soaring banking floor has been converted into a lounge and bar, and the upper office floors have become rooms with lovely views and a touch of personality lent them by their non-standard layouts. Read more »

AKA University City Levels Up With Posh Club Floor

The lounge at Level 28 in AKA University City. | Photos: Sandy Smith

If Cira Centre South is, as Brandywine Realty Trust’s promotions put it, “Philadelphia’s first vertical neighborhood,” then Level 28 is its town square.

The bottom floor of the AKA University City flexible-stay residence has been loaded with high-style amenities that should wow everyone who will use it.

At its heart is a sleek modern lounge situated at the top of the office building elevators; adjacent to this is an outdoor terrace facing north and landscaped with marsh grasses and wildflowers, an integral part of Cira South’s bid for LEED Silver certification. The lounge includes a pop-up bar that will swing into service when the workday ends. Read more »

Big Plans to Revive Bala Avenue, Starting With A Cup of Java

10 Union, the first of the three buildings to be built as part of Cross Properties’ NoBA development. | Rendering: Barton Partners via Cross Properties

Bala Avenue in Bala Cynwyd is one of those small commercial districts that make Philadelphia’s suburbs such attractive places to live. But over the past few decades, the once-lively Main Street has frayed as businesses have shut down, most notably the street’s iconic movie theater.

Philadelphia-based Cross Properties is embarking on a revival plan for the Bala Avenue district. This week, the company announced the start of a $100 million redevelopment project that aims to turn the district back into the vibrant community hub it once was by adding residents, public gathering places and new retail space. And to give area residents a taste of what’s to come, a series of pop-up stores will offer their wares to the locals, starting today. Read more »

The Bridge on Race, Ready for Its Closeup

These lounge chairs should prove very popular with couples on nice nights. They’re one of several attractive features found on the Bridge on Race’s fifth-floor community terrace. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise noted

When last we looked in on The Bridge on Race, the bold apartment building at the northwest corner of 2nd and Race streets, most of it was still a construction zone, but we could see the shape of things to come.

So we responded eagerly when the building’s developer, Jeffrey Brown, invited us back to check out the (all but) finished product.

The apartments at the Bridge are all move-in ready, and tenants have already moved in. The common amenities on the second floor are also ready for use, as is the showstopper: the fifth-floor rooftop terrace that’s open to all residents. The only unfinished element is the 19th-floor rooftop, which will have private terraces that building occupants can rent along with one community terrace facing the Delaware. Read more »

More Residences Coming to Fishtown Fringe

Satellite photo of the area around the Exceptional Foods facility (pinned) showing major attractions and transit stops. | Google Maps image

The soon-to-be former home of Exceptional Foods in Fishtown is slated to become what may prove to be exceptional residences.

Colliers International announced on Aug. 17 that it has sold the specialty food distributor’s 15,300-square-foot headquarters and distribution facility, situated on a 17,352-square-foot lot at 201-11 E. Allen St., to a local developer for $2.25 million.
Read more »

Thos. Moser Sets the Stage for Modern Living in a Model Home

This living room, currently installed at OCF Realty’s Brown Street Court model home, features items from Thos. Moser’s Hartford Collection along with a New Gloucester Rocker, partially visible at left. | Photos: OCF Realty

Design professionals universally recommend that sellers do some staging when they put their homes on the market. Wise developers do the same when they equip a model home for touring.

Realtor-developer Ori Feibush currently has a model home open at his Brown Street Court development, a new seven-unit luxury townhouse project in Fairmount. House-hunters who tour it are in for a bit of a surprise: the staging comes courtesy of Thos. Moser, Handmade American Furniture.

Moser’s partnership with OCF Realty is a new departure locally for the Maine furniture maker, whose ties to Philadelphia stretch back 33 years. It’s an effort to showcase the contemporary side of the Moser furniture line and reach out to a new generation of potential buyers. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The Pointe

The first four homes being built as part of the Pointe development will be sold to working families for $238,000. The two end units have already been spoken for. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Maybe other developers would prefer to work with one single parcel of land and build a passel of houses on it, but Delta Alliance CEO Walter Logan is perfectly happy to take several scattered lots around the intersection of 19th Street and Ridge Avenue in order to build 67 new housing units. The new homes — 14 market-rate townhouses, another 14 townhouses built in connection with the city’s workforce housing initiative, and a 39-unit condominium building — will be completed over the course of the next year.

The first four units, all of them workforce housing, are complete or nearly so now. They occupy the last four lots on the north side of the 1800 block of Thompson Street, just east of Sharswood and north of Francisville.
Read more »

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