Trinity Tuesday: Historically Certified Beauty in Wash West Near Amis, Dirty Frank’s

TREND images via Zillow/Keller Williams Realty

TREND images via Zillow/Keller Williams Realty

We just love to take a stroll down the many compact and quaint streets of Wash West–no matter the season!

This trinity home on South Iseminger Street offers a calming change of pace from those highly-trafficked thoroughfares of nearby Lombard Street and 13th Street–especially if you’re looking for a more scenic shortcut to Amis, Last Drop Coffee or even Dirty Frank’s.

The historically certified home dates back to 1875 and features a great blend of old and new, including original pine floors throughout. The sunny living area boasts a fireplace with a splendid mantel and the home even has an eat-in kitchen–a rare find for a traditionally cramped trinity. There’s even a back patio. So yeah, you’ll be dining (or drinking) al fresco at this place.

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Main Line Monday: Check Out This Tucked Away Gladwyne Carriage House

This secluded Gladwyne home offers peace and quiet on the Main Line.

This secluded Gladwyne home offers peace and quiet on the Main Line. | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

This week’s featured home for Main Line Monday is perfect for anybody who prefers a little peace and quiet. Tucked amongst the woods on a hilltop, this stone and stucco carriage house in Gladwyne is surrounded by trees, and has winding stone pathways that lead you between the garage, the home, the pool, and the house’s two koi ponds.

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Hale Yeah! Renderings Show Hale Building in All of Its Glory

The Hale Building | Renderings via JKRP Architects

The Hale Building | Renderings via JKRP Architects

After years of sitting vacant, it looks like Brickstone’s restoration of the iconic Hale Building could move quickly. Knock on wood, of course.

The updated designs, which now call for a roof deck for use with the planned creative office space, were given the green light last week from the Historical Commission, according to Deidre DeAscanis, an associate principal with JKRP Architects. Only construction permits are needed for work to begin in earnest.

Earlier plans, which called for hotel at the site, had been approved, and DeAscanis said that they had been working closely with the Commission to ensure the new plans were within that same realm. As such, the intricate masonry, brick, and iron detailing will all be restored. Theose gorgeous copper bays on Juniper Street will be cleaned with the patina replaced in a more “controlled manner.”

A new addition–a grand two-story restaurant entrance that replaces the garish Valu-Plus facade–will seek to bring some life to the Chestnut Street side of the building.

Jonathan Broh, principal with JKRP Architects, said that the Chestnut Street entrance has always been a “litmus test” of the architectural style of the moment (see gallery for timeline). “Hale modified his own building within the first ten years,” added Broh. “That move kind of made it easy to remove the entrance piece and replace it with the styles of the time. We found a modification that Hale did to the original building from 1909, which gave us the massing for our addition.”

The tight confines of the building made for a tough residential or hotel project, as the hallways would have eaten up a lot of valuable space. The new use allows for the architects to take advantage of almost the entire floor plate. “Office is really the best utilization of that building,” said Broh. Each floor will have 7,400-square-feet of space (gross).

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Farmhouse Friday: Pottstown’s Vintage Thoroughbred Farm Has it All

This Pottstown farmhouse has an observatory, pool and stables.

This Pottstown farmhouse has an observatory, pool and stables. | TREND images via Kurfiss Sotheby’s

Some of our featured homes on Farmhouse Friday have a great yard and pool. Some of them have seriously impressive interiors. Today’s has both. Vintage Thoroughbred Farm in Pottstown, currently listed at a whopping $3,495,000, has just about anything you would need in a farmhouse.

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South Kensington OKs Techadelphia Zoning Variance

1525 North American Street

The “Techadelphia” project cleared an important hurdle last night when South Kensington residents voted to support its developer’s request for a zoning variance. Rendering | Harman Deutsch Architecture

Developer Sean Frankel’s request for a zoning variance for his proposed “Techadelphia” mixed-use live/work tech startup hub was approved this week by South Kensington residents who attended the South Kensington Community Partners zoning meeting.

The variance allows Frankel Management Company, the lead developer on the project that includes partner Streamline Solutions, to include residential structures on land zoned exclusively for industrial use. The residences, he explained, are crucial to making his vision of a free co-working space for young tech entrepreneurs work.

“We got overwhelming support. The vote was 27 to 3 in favor of our project,” Frankel said. Building size and parking were the reasons the three who voted against the request did so, he added.

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Habitat: Reviving the Spirit of Vincent Kling on the Main Line

Kling paid considerable attention to the materials he used in his original plan. The weaving of glass, stone, metal and wood plays an important role in the experience both inside and outside the home.

Architect Kevin Yoder painstakingly restored and renovated this classic mid century home designed by Vincent Kling.| Images: Jeffrey Totaro

Perhaps no man besides Ed Bacon left a more lasting physical impression on Center City’s built environment than architect Vincent Kling. His projects, which include Love Park, Centre Square and Penn Square, were often massive in scale, yet few know that he designed a handful of striking modernist homes in the middle of the 1950s.

One such home, located on a sylvan L-shaped lot in Gladwyne, was in desperate need of revival when a Society Hill neighbor approached architect Kevin Yoder, founder of K Yoder Design. The neighbor was on the fence about moving to the ’burbs and asked Yoder if it was worth the sizable investment to purchase the cruciform home and restore it to its former glory.

“When my neighbor found this house,” recalls Yoder, “he contacted me immediately and said, ‘Let’s check out this place together. I’m not doing it unless you do it with me,’ which was quite an honor.”

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Jaw Dropper of the Week: Sexy Tri-Level Rittenhouse Condo With Massive Deck

TREND images via Keller Williams

TREND images via Keller Williams

If you’re looking for a place near Rittenhouse Square, then it’s clear you’re seeking a place with luxury and (hopefully) class. This renovated pad near 18th and Spruce Street wraps a romantic Rittenhouse facade around a sexy interior–just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Seriously, the features are dreamy: 14-foot ceilings, lovely wood floors, a spacious kitchen with Viking range (and pot-filler faucet) and a wet bar, and a gorgeous floating staircase.

The living room boasts a marble fireplace and a built-in bookcase, so you’ll be super comfy in this spot.

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Toll Brothers to Build Apartments on Society Hill Playhouse Site

The revised Toll Brothers projects on 8th Street. Rendering | JKRP Architects for Toll Brothers

The revised Toll Brothers projects on 8th Street. Rendering | JKRP Architects for Toll Brothers

What was to have been a double-barreled Toll Brothers condominium development on the site of the Society Hill Playhouse and a garage across 8th Street from it in Washington Square West is going to be rental apartments instead. Along with that change comes the disappearance not only of the 19th-century playhouse and the garage but of all the parking on the site as well.

If the residents of Lombard Mews, Rodman Street and Bradford Alley in the vicinity of the Society Hill Playhouse find themselves complaining that it’s even harder to find a place to park a year or two from now, they will have no one but themselves to blame, for their opposition to Toll’s project led the company to replace it with one that can be built by right. As a result, the first-floor garages planned in both buildings were removed to bring the new structures under the block’s height limit, which stand at 38 feet.

“We had met with the neighbors in Lombard Mews and on Bradford Alley, and with the WSWCA Zoning Committee,” said Shawn Frawley, senior project manager at Toll Brothers’ City Living division, which owns the two parcels.

What Toll Brothers had wanted to build on these lots were luxury condominiums: 24 on the site of the garage and 22 on the site of the Society Hill Playhouse and the parking lot to its south. Both structures would have had indoor garage parking.

But it seems that the neighbors had issues with the height of the resulting buildings. “We were having some decent conversations until some neighbors said, ‘Whatever you do, we’ll oppose it,'” said Frawley. In addition, “the Civic Association said it wouldn’t approve anything without the approval of the neighbors,” Frawley said.

Judith Appelbaum, chair of the Washington Square West Civic Association‘s governmental affairs committee, presided over the meeting where Toll made an informational presentation to neighborhood residents. (Zoning Committee Chair Jon Broh works for project architect JKRP Architects and thus recused himself.) “Toll Brothers never came to the RCO with a formal proposal for the project,” she said. “We had informational meetings where the project was presented to the Zoning Committee and neighbors for discussion. We gave them feedback and indicated that we were willing to continue talking with them.

“Toll also had several groups of meetings with neighbors to negotiate details of the project, and at some point, the negotiations broke down. At some point, they came to the conclusion that they were never going to get anywhere with the neighbors. So Toll ended the discussions and decided to do the by-right project, and once you go by right, the RCO isn’t involved.”

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SS United States Saved? “Major Redevelopment Deal” to Be Announced in February

USS United States | Photo by Arthur Etchells

USS United States | Photo by Arthur Etchells

It looks as though the long-held calls of S.O.S for the SS United States have finally paid off, as the SS United States Conservancy has signed an option agreement with an unknown development partner for the redevelopment of the iconic ship, according to a media advisory issued by the Conservancy.

Plans will be made known at a press conference in New York City at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal’s Pier 88 on February 4th. “An exciting future for the ship will be revealed that envisions the SS United States again as an iconic symbol of America the world over,” reads the release. “An artist rendering of the redeveloped ocean liner will also be unveiled.”

The announcement means that it looks as though “America’s Flagship” will not float its way to the scrap heap, which, due to the burdensome cost to maintain the ship, was becoming an all-too-real possibility for the imposing vessel docked near the IKEA in South Philadelphia.

Recently, there have been glimmers of hope that one-time luxury liner could be saved, with the Conservancy even stating it “had never been closer to saving the SS United States, nor close to losing her.”

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Two Senior Housing Properties to be Preserved and Renovated

Philip Murray House

Philip Murray House | Vitus Group

A developer is making its first inroads into the city of Philadelphia, as Vitus Group has announced that it has agreed to a contract for preservation and renovation of two senior housing complexes.

The properties, Four Freedoms House in Germantown and Philip Murray House in West Oak Lane, will make up 590 units of affordable senior housing. The renovations are expected to take 12 months and be completed in December.

The Seattle-based Vitus Group has developed 95 properties in 18 states, and focuses on creating housing that emphasizes active living spaces at affordable rates. To ensure that, 500 of the units in the two properties are going to be saved for those with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income, and the rest will be for those at 60 percent or below.

“I think when you own and develop the place where people live, particularly in low-income communities, you have an opportunity, and perhaps even an obligation, to look further to what you do to improve the lives of residents beyond just owning housing,” Stephen Whyte, the managing director and founder of Vitus Group, told Property.

Vitus also stresses wellness and active lifestyles in its developments. According to the statement announcing the contract, the group plans to “bring active design amenities to the properties.”

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