Demo Alert: You Can Now See Inside the Boyd Theatre

The decorated ceiling can be seen from Sansom Street. | Photos: James Jennings

Seen from Sansom Street, the ornate ceilings have been stripped. | Photos: James Jennings

Demo has begun in earnest at the historic Boyd Theatre on the rear of the building on Sansom Street. Crews were on site Thursday afternoon to prep the building and it looks like they broke through the exterior walls this weekend. You can actually get a glimpse of the ornate ceiling of the auditorium as you walk by the building. Read more »

Morning Headlines: 5 Philly Parks, Including The Rail Park, Get Boost in Funding

The William Penn Foundation will partner with The Knight Foundation to donate $11 million to five city parks, according to a report from Inga Saffron in The Inquirer. The announcement will be made formal today and give a shot in the arm to some special projects, including the funding of the landscaping at The Rail Park at North Broad at Noble Streets. According to Saffron:

All five projects are shovel-ready, have raised most of the necessary construction funds, and can be completed relatively quickly, in less than two years.

The money will go to the Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of the Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative in an effort to realize five projects:

  • $1 million for landscaping at The Rail Park
  • $6 million towards the creation of creative playground called Centennial Commons in Parkside near the Please Touch Museum. According to Saffron, the “development includes a climbing wall, a mini-mountain range, and a spray park that turns into a winding ice-skating track in winter.”
  • $250,000 to help kickstart Bartram’s Mile along the Schuylkill in Kingsessing
  • $1.75 million towards the Lovett Memorial Library project in Mount Airy
  • $1 million for an Audubon/Outward Bound program in the Discovery Center in East Fairmount Park

Foundations partnering to enable railroad viaduct park [The Inquirer]

Other can’t-miss news stories…

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Anticipated Pedestrian and Bike Ramp for Ben Franklin Bridge Gets More Funding

Ben Franklin Bridge | Shutterstock

Ben Franklin Bridge | Shutterstock

Across the river, Camden County is closer to getting more user friendly access to the Ben Franklin Bridge. According to Jim Saksa at PlanPhilly, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) donated $800,000 to the Delaware River Port Authority for a proposed ramp that would replace the currently non ADA-compliant stairs on the bridge’s south side late last month.

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Spring Arrivals: The Palmer Apartments in Wynnewood

All photos/images via Cross Properties

Sunbathing area with saltwater pool | All photos/images via Cross Properties

May 1. That’s the date the first residents will move into The Palmer at 18 E. Lancaster Ave. in Wynnewood. Sure, it’s always fun to take a look at the latest luxury apartments. This instance is rather unique, particularly given the history of the property.

The site of the former Green Hill Farms Hotel and Palmer Theological Seminary, the building was designed by esteemed architect Horace Trumabauer in 1919, just in time for the resort life in the roaring 20s. Cross Properties, the development team behind the project, undertook a massive historical renovation–over fifty fireplaces and formerly closed off patios and balconies were restored, plus the building itself–to bring this fascinating 9-acre site near City Line Avenue back to life as a community featuring 110 luxury apartments.

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Game Changer: 500 Walnut Has History, Luxury and Robotic Parking

What do you do with a prized piece of land nestled just south of the most historic square-mile in the entire country? Well, if you’re developer Tom Scannapieco, you aim to build a residential tower with bells and whistles (and views) that this city has never seen.

Enter 500 Walnut, a 26-story ultra luxury tower comprised of only 38 ridiculously exclusive units, including a bi-level penthouse rumored to be marketed in the region of $18 million. The project officially broke ground today in a ceremony/luncheon held at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

While we’ll all be wowed by the beautiful and innovative design by Cecil Baker, the amount of space on the terraces overlooking history, the robotic car retreaval and parking system, the luxurious amenities and the space of each home (2,700 square-feet to 9,100 square-feet), perhaps the most impressive aspect is that there’ is a distinct market for this type of ultra luxury unit. Scannapieco confirmed at the event that 500 Walnut has $24.5 million in “firm contracts” and $53 million in reservations. “We are off to an amazing start,” said Scannapieco. That’s almost an understatement considering they’re still two years away from completion. Read more »

Preservation Wire: It Looks Like the Boyd Theatre’s Art Deco Lobby Will Stay


Last week, we put you on to some interesting notices on the 1900 block of Chestnut Street in what could be the next step towards a 26-story tower developed by Pearl Properties. Orange demolition stickers were physically hung on 1902 and 1904 Chestnut Street, meaning those entire buildings are going to come down. Permits filed for the Boyd Theatre weren’t necessarily as clear. Sure, demolition was going to take place at the former movie palace, but to what extent?

PlanPhilly’s Ashley Hahn unearthed some site plans for the demolition (seen here), which look to show some good news in terms of preserving at least some of the history of the building: Read more »

Parks & Rec Commission Rejects $100 Million Velodrome Project in FDR Park


It looks as though the proposed (and privately-funded) Velodrome inside the friendly confines of FDR Park in South Philadelphia might not happen after all. The Philadelphia Commission of Parks and Recreation rejected the proposal by developers Project 250, stating it didn’t “meet three tests” for approval. Nancy Goldenberg, Chair of the Commission, explained that their role was advisory only and the letter of determination outlines a recommendation to Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke. Ultimately, the Commission’s findings can be ignored by both parties in order to introduce an ordinance to allow the transfer of 3.9 acres of parkland for development.  So is the project really dead?

6 Philly Development Projects That Are Springing Forward

Now that we’ve all had a chance to adjust to that that whole spring forward phenomenon, let’s take a few minutes to look at a handful of projects that are making progress as we officially head into spring. Remember, you’re not losing an hour of precious sleep, you’re gaining another hour of glorious sunlight!

Comcast Innovation and Technology Center:


Sure, the near-record breaking concrete pour at the turn of the year may have garnered all of the attention, but that’s winter type stuff. Spring will see the city’s soon-to-be-tallest building rise higher and higher out of the large hole at 19th and Arch. To be frank: that’s exciting. Comcast has recently said they’re going to take up all of the office space within the building and it’s possible that it’s not the last one in the area for the cable goliath. Don’t forget: the Four Seasons will also become one of Philly’s most exclusive hotels as it moves from the Parkway all the way up to the top floors of the CITC.

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Phew! Trumbauer’s Keswick Avenue Buildings Part of Bigger Plan

Unlike this rather depressing map of demo’d Frank Furness buildings of yesteryear, it looks like the work of another legendary Philadelphia architect, Horace Trumbauer, will have a future in the re-imaging of Keswick Village in Glenside. The Inquirer reports that residents were concerned that Trumbauer’s handsome Tudor-style buildings would be torn down after Keswick Commons–a retail, apartment and parking complex on either side of the Keswick Theatre in Keswick Village (stay with us, now)–was sold to developer Franklin Residential for $6.2 million in January. Now that they know Franklin’s plans will incorporate the buildings dating back to 1929, residents are exciting to see the strip come back to life. Read more »

Construction Prepping for One Ardmore Place Expected within a Month or So

Rooftop rendering of One Ardmore Place | Image courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

Rooftop rendering of One Ardmore Place | Image courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

One Ardmore Place, which recently had a lawsuit regarding it dismissed, has finally inched closer to reality, as the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports a construction-prepping date is slated for the next month or so. Let’s hope any opposition against it has waned by the time work starts, as the construction schedule for the mixed-use development calls for 24 months to conclude in spring 2017.

According to Allison, project manager Josh Weingram (also Dranoff’s vice president of development) announced this some days ago during the Ardmore Initiative’s annual leadership breakfast, adding that the first three months of the project would be taken up with utility work and that the Cricket Avenue Lot would still be open for parking, while advancing days will see closures along Cricket Avenue to Cricket Terrace.

Month 4, Allison writes, will see the lot close for excavation work.

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