Jawdropper of the Week: XXL Luxury Next Door to Billy Penn

123 Avenue of the Arts Suite 28CDE, Philadelphia Pa. 19109 | Photos courtesy of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton

1414 South Penn Square, Suite 28CDE, Philadelphia Pa. 19102 | Photos courtesy of The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton

Have you ever seen eye-to-eye with William Penn?

We’re talking about the man who stands right on top of City Hall. In this luxury condo, you can gaze upon him quite easily. This week’s Jawdropper hones in on a stunning suite in one of America’s finest luxury residential buildings: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.

Back in March, we reported that interior designer Barbara (BJ) Nipon Spencer of BJS Design was brought in to outfit three of the units at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton. She came up with distinctly different treatments for the three units: the two-bedroom Unit 44DE and two three-bedroom units, 31B and 44GH. Read more »

First-Time Find: No Hassles in NoLibs

800 N Lawrence St. #E, Philadelphia, Pa. 19123 | TREND images via Space & Company

800 N Lawrence St. #E, Philadelphia, Pa. 19123 | TREND images via Space & Company

“I’m a new soul, I came to this strange world…” French-Indie singer Yael Naim drones in her biggest 2008 hit single. Feeling like you can relate?

New Philadelphians looking for a place to call home for the first time can rest easy, as this condo-rowhome hybrid in Northern Liberties will make the transition to city living that much smoother. You can even bring along your little pup, as the unit is part of a pet-friendly condo community.

The unit is a unique condo with the feel of a classic walk-up rowhome and tons of curb appeal. You might be sold by that charming green door alone. Inside, the living room is a bright, open space with nine-foot ceilings and a cozy wood-burning fireplace. The eat-in kitchen is partially open to the living area through the breakfast bar and has cozy nooks for extra storage. Other great features include updated stainless steel appliances, plenty of crisp and clean cabinetry, a deep kitchen sink and a window just above where there’s room for a coffee station. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The Rebirth of Alden Park

Work on replacing the leaded casement windows in the Manor building lobby is under way. All of the windows in the complex will be replaced by its end. |Photos: Sandy Smith

Work on replacing the leaded casement windows in the Manor building lobby is under way. All of the windows in the complex will be replaced by its end. |Photos: Sandy Smith

The three buildings that together comprise the Alden Park apartment complex are without a doubt the most photogenic apartment buildings in the city. Begun in 1926 on the former estate of department store founder Justus C. Strawbridge, they began life as the city’s first cooperative residences, attracting an exclusive community of residents during the Depression.

Sometime between World War II and the 1980s, the original cooperative dissolved and the complex became a trio of rental buildings. But their parklike setting and their picturesque English Tudor Revival architecture, the work of architect Edwin Rorke, has kept the buildings among the most popular apartments in the city. The Manor building, which terminates the view down Chelten Avenue, may well be Germantown’s most iconic apartment building. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: Urban(e) Chic Near the Delaware

621 S American St., #G, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | BHHS Fox & Roach

621 S American St., #G, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Ah, the loft. It’s the epitome of fashionable city living, the defining characteristic of the modern man’s home, the city girl’s crown jewel. But surely, this trendiness comes at a steep price.

For those who don’t want to shell out all their hard-earned cash, this charismatic trinity home offers an alternative that’s just as sweet–a stunning mix of classically Philadelphian features with a modern twist in the loft-like third-floor bedroom. Read more »

Main Line Monday: Eccentric Elegance in Penn Valley

612 Manor Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty

612 Manor Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | TREND images via Keller Williams Realty

Many Main Line homes are certainly grand but sorely lack in the creative department.

A wonderful deviation comes in the form of this Penn Valley home. With its soaring interior spaces, modern features and open-plan elements,  this just-slightly-off-center-hall Colonial displays a lot of imagination with its updated take on traditional luxury. Read more »

Sharswood Redevelopment Update: Two Steps Forward, One Sideways

Recent developments will fill in some of the squares on the PHA's Sharswood redevelopment map. Filling in the rest will take a while longer. | Map: PHA

Recent developments will fill in some of the squares on the PHA’s Sharswood redevelopment map. Filling in the rest will take a while longer. | Map: PHA

The Philadelphia Housing Authority has some good news on the Sharswood redevelopment front. Then there’s some news that, while not exactly good, can’t be called bad either.

First, the good news items.

PHA announced at the beginning of August progress towards two of the Sharswood/Blumberg Choice Neighborhoods Transformation Plan’s goals: a new supermarket for the underserved neighborhood and a partnership that will both help current homeowners maintain their properties and add new affordable housing to the neighborhood. Read more »

City Wants Development With ‘Social Impact’ At 8th and Race

The lot on the northwest corner of 8th and Race is currently used for parking | Image from Google

The lot on the northwest corner of 8th and Race is currently used for parking. | Image from Google

The surface parking lot on Race Street between 8th and 9th is one of the biggest empty spaces remaining in Center City, and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority is hoping its transformation will serve a purpose broader than the developer’s bottom line.

Later this month*, PRA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the lot. For the first time, the Authority will require developers to describe the “social impact” of their development proposals. The social impact component is open-ended, including anything from affordable housing and minority-business participation to healthy food access, job creation, or even simple cash donations to nonprofits or community groups. Greg Heller, the director of the PRA, says he’s just hoping to be convinced that a particular proposal will be the best one for the neighborhood and the city. Read more »

Toll Brothers: “We Want A Project That’s Appropriate” for Jewelers Row

The three buildings at left in this photo are the ones Toll Brothers has acquired in connection with its plan to build a mixed-use residential-retail structure in the heart of Jewelers Row. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

The three buildings at left in this photo are the ones Toll Brothers has acquired in connection with its plan to build a mixed-use residential-retail structure in the heart of Jewelers Row. | Photo by Oscar Beisert

Toll Brothers City Living, the company that plans to replace a row of commercial structures in the heart of Jewelers Row with a mixed-use residential/commercial project, wants to build a building everyone concerned can support, division Vice President Brian Emmons said in an exclusive interview.

Including the preservationists.

“It’s our intention to meet with the stakeholders to design a project appropriate to the neighborhood,” he said.  Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Survivor in New London Township

300 Mill House Dr., Lincoln University, Pa. 19352 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

300 Mill House Dr., Lincoln University, Pa. 19352 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

The great irony about most modern suburban subdivisions is that their names often refer to the things that were destroyed in order to produce them: “Rolling Hills Estates” filled with quarter-acre tract houses, “Cloverdale Farms” where not a square foot of cropland remains.

So it is with “Wheatland Farms” in southern Chester County. But at least you can still find a farmhouse in it, namely, this 1899 beauty.

This home retains its country charm inside and out, yet offers all the things buyers want in a totally modern home. Read more »

Will Threat to Jewelers Row Finally Unite Preservationists?

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

On one hand, it looks like a losing battle for preservationists. The five buildings on Jewelers Row that a developer wants to tear down and replace are not on the city’s Register of Historic Places, which would give them some protection from the wrecking ball. And the developer has already started pulling permits, meaning it’s legally too late to put the buildings on the register.

On the other hand, it might be just the battle that preservationists need.

Since news of the proposed development was reported by the Inquirer Thursday afternoon, advocates have jumped into action. A petition to stop the demolition by Anne Fadullon, the city’s Director of Planning and Development, has gotten more than 400 signatures. Something called The Keeping Society of Philadelphia has popped up to lobby for protecting the city’s old architecture. Paul Steinke, who became director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia earlier this year, has encouraged people on social media to sign the petition, while others, including some unfamiliar faces in Philly’s preservation community, have noted that the loss of so much of Jewelers Row would be particularly painful. Read more »

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