Oscar Hammerstein Center Zoning Hearing Tonight, Petition Gets 1,000 Signatures

Left: Oscar Hammerstein II. Photo via Wikimedia Commons. Right: Highland Farm. Photo via Highland Farm B&B website

Left: Oscar Hammerstein II. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Right: Highland Farm. Photo via Highland Farm B&B website

It’s been a little while since we last heard any significant news regarding the proposed Oscar Hammerstein II Museum and Education Center in Doylestown, a.k.a. the former home of songwriter Oscar Hammerstein II. (The hills are alive with the sound of music… Yep. He penned that one among many others.) Now, though, things look to be ramping up as the June zoning board hearing that will conclude the project’s first major hurdle to realization inches closer. The latest on the Hammerstein Center plan is that there’s a zoning hearing about it tonight that could serve to show us what to expect from the June 15th decision.

Despite the hiccup from January and an inconclusive zoning board meeting in April, tonight’s hearing is expected to include final arguments from the attorneys representing those spearheading the project and those against it. WFMZ’s Randy Kraft reports the $20 million project can only go forward if it gets “a special exception and five variances from the zoning board.” Should the Doylestown Township Zoning Hearings Board conclude in favor of Will Hammerstein, Oscar’s grandson, and his supporters, Kraft says the next step would involve submitting land development plans for review and approval by township supervisors.

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Headlines: Is Trump-ish Tower Back in Play on the Delaware?

Pier 35 & 1/2 | via Google Street View

Pier 35 & 1/2 | via Google Street View

The development process of Pier 35 & 1/2 is in its infancy, but is it possible that the previous Trump Tower Philadelphia proposal is being used as the “template” for the site? Jacob Adelman of The Inquirer, who first reported the sale of the pier, talked with a spokesman for the new owners, who say they’re “pursuing the highest and best use of the property” and that Trump-ish tower development is among the options. Read more »

East Market: Timelines, Retail Space, Chestnut Walk and (Possibly) a Hotel

Here's 12th and Market | Via National Real Estate Advisors and BLTa

Here’s 12th and Market | Via National Real Estate Advisors and BLTa

As the East Market project just keeps charging along, we wanted to take a minute to examine how things stand with the game changing development at 11th and Market. We caught  up with Daniel Killinger, managing director of National Real Estate Development, the development team behind East Market, who told us a few interesting tidbits of information about its timeline, the retail and office space, Chestnut Walk and even the possibility of adding a hotel component to the mix.

Phasing Timelines:

As you know, the demolition of the former Girard Square site is now complete. “That was big for us,” said Killinger about the removal of the last piece on Market Street over the weekend. “Now we can get started with our foundation.” As such, National Development hired Tutor Perini to handle the construction of phase one of the project.

The project has a total of 322 rental units and Killinger said that “everything is on time and on schedule” at this point. He expects the first 100 units to deliver sometime in the second quarter of 2016. More units will continue Read more »

Headlines: Brandywine Realty Trust Hints at Market East Plan

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

All signs point towards the redevelopment of the “concrete heap” of a parking garage at 7th and Market into something much different in the future. Brandywine Realty Trust recently dished out $17 million for the building and it quickly became clear that they had plans beyond its current set up. In late April, The Inquirer reported that Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, said the site could hold up to “600,000 square feet of development.” That’s some big time stuff.

Now, Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal says that Brandywine has already set the gears in motion to make that a reality, initiating a change in zoning for the mixed-use parking structure. Read more »

Rodeph Shalom to Unveil North Broad Expansion

The expansion at Rodeph Shalom in April | Photo: James Jennings

The expansion at Rodeph Shalom in April | Photo: James Jennings

The revival on North Broad Street continues to charge ahead as the expansion to Congregation Rodeph Shalom will officially open on Sunday, May 17. Set squarely on the southeast corner of Broad and Green Street, the synagogue is one of the most recognizable buildings on the busy corridor due to its limestone exterior, intricate tile work and large columns.

The expansion has been in the works for some time and Tom Perloff of Congregation Rodeph Shalom said the synagogue is “really changing from a fortress mentality to a more open, but secure, facility.” As such, leaders of the synagogue will be having a special preview of the new Common Ground Marketplace, Read more »

One Riverside Groundbreaking Postponed ‘Out of Respect’ for Amtrak Tragedy

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

Developer Carl Dranoff was set to break ground on the One Riverside project at a ceremony scheduled for tonight at 25th and Locust. However, if it’s one thing we’ve learned from the tragic events of last night’s Amtrak train derailment, it’s that life can change in an instant. Dranoff Properties announced in an email that the groundbreaking ceremony for the luxury highrise on the Schuylkill River has been postponed “out of respect for all those affected by this tragedy.” No new date has been scheduled at the moment.

Here’s the entire statement: Read more »

Spotted in South Philly: Phase II reNewbold Homes Now Available

reNewbold Phase II rendering | Image courtesy of At Media

reNewbold Phase II rendering | Image courtesy of At Media

The 2013 groundbreaking of its first phase long behind us, Phase II is now set in motion at reNewbold, the first LEED Platinum-certified sustainable housing development in South Philadelphia: homes are available. (Hm, maybe be quick lest they go like hotcakes!)

Unfolding over at 16th and Moore, the latest stage of the project developed by John Longacre’s LPMG Companies involves the construction of energy efficient homes in Philly’s Newbold neighborhood, seven of which are rowhomes and two of which are condos with retail space. Groundbreaking for this second phase took place last September, right after Phase I was completed and homes sold out. Construction of the Phase II homes is expected to finish this summer. (Again, quick!)

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Headlines: First Pics from the Upcoming One Liberty Observation Deck

Remember back in March when we told you that the opening of the observation deck at One Liberty was being pushed back to the fall? While a specific opening date has yet to be nailed down, we now know that it will officially be called the One Liberty Observation Deck. There are also some tantalizing pictures of the kinds of views we can expect from 57 floors above our fair city.

Uwishunu takes us on a sneak peek of Philly’s next big attraction:

Now under construction, Montparnasse 56 (or M56) — a Parisian-based company that operates observation decks in the John Hancock Tower in Chicago and the Montparnasse 56 Tower in Paris — is building the observatory, which will also include interactive elements and artistic installation.

Admission to the sky deck won’t be free: Youth (3 to 11 years old) will cost $14, adults $19. You’ll eventually be able to purchase tickets here. For now, enjoy the stream of images from the official Twitter and Instagram accounts. We are expecting a heavy usage of our #Phillyscape tag from this spot.

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Schuylkill River Trail Update: Bartram’s Mile Design Workshop May 14th

2013 Concept sketches of Bartram's Mile - Images via Advisory Group Meeting #3 Public Presentation. Courtesy of Michael Greenle.

Concept sketches of Bartram’s Mile | Images via Advisory Group Meeting #3 Public Presentation

Skip to the Bartram’s Mile Before/After Concept Sketch gallery we’ve included below if you must, but do consider this Thursday’s event please. Here’s why:

As some may already be aware, Bartram’s Mile is a one-mile long plot of land situated between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street in Philadelphia’s Kingsessing neighborhood. It’s been vacant for several decades despite its proximity to Bartram’s Garden, one of the country’s oldest botanic gardens. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation office and Schuylkill River Development Corporation have teamed up with the John Bartram Association and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation in recent years to do something about that.

Rather than let the prime real estate languish in wasteland purgatory, the group has been taking steps to transform the empty publicly owned site into a usable, neighborhood-friendly green space complete with visions of bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, riverfront access, and recreation spots. Not only that, but it would serve as yet another stretch on the Philadelphia segment of the Schuylkill River Trail.

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Potential Festival Pier Developers Whittled Down to Three Finalists

Master Plan for the Central Delaware. Photo via the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

Master Plan for the Central Delaware | Photo via the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation sent out notice in February that they were looking for expressions of interests regarding the redevelopment of the Festival Pier, an 11-acre site at Spring Garden Street and Columbus Boulevard. Today, it looks as though they’ve whittled down the field from eight companies to three, each will be required to incorporate a residential component into their plans.

Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the DRWC has “shortlisted” these three groups:

  • Jefferson Apartment Group (McLean, Virginia) and Haverford Properties Inc. (Haverford, Pennsylvania)
  • RAL Companies (New York)
  • Toll Brothers (Horsham, Pennsylvania)

Kostelni reports that a “residential component will be the anchor” of the site and the DRWC “narrowed it down by considering experience and financial capacity to complete a large-scale, mixed-use project.” The development of Festival Pier is seen as a precursor of sorts to the process of redeveloping Penn’s Landing.

Each company now has until Read more »

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