Morning Headlines: Conshohocken Development Stalled Again

Screenshot via Google Street View

Screenshot via Google Street View

It’s been almost seven years since the Borough of Conshohocken purchased the 60,000-square-foot, three-story Verizon building on Fayette Street, but getting redevelopment of the property off the ground has not been easy.

Last week the Borough Council postponed the award of a demolition contract after concerns about a low bid from one of the four bidders, Neuber Demolition & Environmental Services, which made a “less than ideal offer” of $414,950, according to the Times Herald’s Carl Rotenberg.

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Building-Supply Big-Wheelers Construct Baronial Manses on Bainbridge

Rendering via Landmark.

Rendering via Landmark Architectural Design LLC.

We’re not used to thinking of Graduate Hospital as the land of million-dollar homes, but the 1400 block of Bainbridge Street has raised the bar in that department. Two new townhomes currently under construction at its east end are raising it even further.

Or would, if they were for sale.

These two cinderblock shells will by the end of the year become enormous Italianate mansions, each containing a total of 20,000 square feet of usable space – 16,000 of it indoors, and 4,000 of it outdoors on three large decks.

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Morning Headlines: Penn’s Landing Redevelopment Plans Still Being Perfected

Penn's Landing Master Plan rendering via PlanPhilly.

Penn’s Landing Master Plan rendering via PlanPhilly.

As of now, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) has more of what project manager Karen Thompson calls “a conceptual framework.” But in a little over a week — April 25th, to be exact — the DRWC aims to showcase stronger renderings of Penn’s Landing redevelopment.

According to PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates, the current framework elaborates on certain points in the Master Plan and tests the project’s feasibility “in terms of logistics and engineering.”

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Morning Headlines: Lit Brothers Tower Gets Civic Design Approval

Rendering by Stantec Architecture.

Rendering by Stantec Architecture.

The new Comcast tower wasn’t the only project given the go-ahead by the Civic Design Review committee. It also approved revised plans from developer Brickstone Realty for the “Lit Brothers Tower,” a 30-story residential “growth” (as Curbed Philly put it) on top of the historic department store building.

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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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A Look Inside Graduate Hospital’s Carpenter Square

carpenter-square-940

Now that interior work on the 11 luxury townhomes at the Carpenter Square development at 17th and Carpenter is all but finished, developer Mark Scott and Realtor Michelle Ashley of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors offered the real estate community a chance to look over the finished product last week.

The three-bedroom townhomes, designed by architects Christopher Schaumburg and Brian Johnston, are filled with enough green design elements to qualify for LEED Gold certification. Some of these features are easy to spot, such as the pervious pavers in the rear drive aisle, the green roof, and the ceiling fans in every room except the kitchen (“we had one there too, but took it out of the final design,” said Scott).

But one of the more noteworthy ones is not immediately evident to the visitor: the giant thermal chimney disguised as the home’s main staircase.

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Morning Headlines: Artist-Designed Bike Rack Winners Will Be Available This Summer

Photo credit: Bicycle Coalition of Great Philadelphia.

Some of the new designs.
Photo credit: Bicycle Coalition of Great Philadelphia.

Cyclists will soon get to test the functionality of last year’s bike rack design contest winners, which are currently on display at City Hall until June 17th. They will be made available for public beta testing sometime this summer.

According to the Inquirer’s Inga Saffron, the prototypes range from cute to elegant, with all adhering to the practicality requirement from the competition. But has the true bike rack issue been addressed? Maybe not. Read more »

A Translation of Carl Dranoff’s Main Line Times Editorial

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Carl Dranoff, above, is a diplomatic guy. Photo credit: Laura Kicey

In response to claims that the project has been opposed by many in the community, Carl Dranoff wrote an editorial for the Main Line Times today, in which he attempted to clarify some aspects of the plan that seem to have been lost in the bickering. Of course, he puts everything quite delicately, but as someone who was once in a PhD program for Translation Studies, I feel qualified to at least attempt a rendering into regular-person talk, i.e., the kind of thing I imagine he says at home, head in hands, when the frustration gets to be too much.

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Morning Headlines: Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place Gets Township Committee Approval

Ardmore_Dranoff_4-1512

Carl Dranoff’s various Ardmore plans, first proposed more than a decade ago, have caused controversy for almost as long. So it wasn’t surprising that discussion of the residential/retail proposal for Ardmore at last night’s Lower Merion Township Building and Planning Committee meeting was “raucous,” as the Inquirer‘s Carolyn Davis put it. Things devolved into personal sniping, with words like “boorish” and “venomous” being thrown around. (Davis writes that things started getting ugly last week with a string of emails — which, alas, no one leaked to us.) The meeting didn’t end until after 1 a.m.

What’s known among Main Line residents as the “Cricket Lot” project — real name: One Ardmore Place — involves an apartment building with 121 units and roughly 8,000 square feet of street-level retail space fronting Cricket Avenue. Carolyn Davis boils down years of debate:

Critics say the project is too big for its site and neighborhood. Proponents claim it would boost downtown Ardmore by drawing young residents to live in a transit-friendly building near the train station.

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Bringing Times Square to Philadelphia

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street via a promotional video for the displays.

Times Square is great, or else too crowded and touristy and not nearly as authentic as Williamsburg, Brooklyn, depending on your point of view. But what about Times Square, Philadelphia? More specifically: what about the newly unveiled plan to turn a large swath of Center City around City Hall into a “digital district” with giant “urban experiential displays” at strategic locations?

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