SOLD: Pretty House On Camac Street

329 S. Camac Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

329 S. Camac Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Originally listed for $525,000 in early May, this Camac Street beauty had its price brought down to $515,000 before selling earlier this month for just under $500K. And unlike its neighbor, the adorable trinity on Iseminger, this home had been recently renovated, with a roof and custom wood windows and doors installed in 2011.

Here are other features, presented in order of house level, that may have enticed its buyer:

First level (Living area and kitchen)
• Original pine floors, wood burning fireplace and antique mantle
• Stainless appliances and kitchen windows that overlook back garden

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Habitat: Everyone Should Have a Coffee Bar in the Bedroom

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Thirty years after building their dream home in Wawa, Delaware County, Jo Ann Townsend and her husband realized they needed a change.

“What we liked then was not what we wanted now,” Townsend said.

The couple had originally purchased nine acres of land from her husband’s parents. Her father-in-law was an architect who designed the home specifically to synchronize with the sun. In the summer, the home would be shaded. In the winter, the sun would stream through the all-glass wall in the living room .

Upstairs, the couple later added a three-story addition to the home. It enlarged the top-level bedroom but they didn’t have a clear idea of what to do with all the extra square footage.

“Lots of room with no sense or space planning,” Townsend said.

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Morning Headlines: NIMBY Drama Stirs Up Between Residents and Swarthmore College

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Photo credit: Fritz Ward via Flickr.

Three things are set to happen once construction ends on the new development Swarthmore College has commissioned: First, more books will be available; second, the borough will get its first liquor license; third, Route 320 (Chester Road) will see a shift in traffic flow. Two of these are unwelcome changes for some Swarthmore residents.

As the Inquirer’s Laura McCrystal reports, an inn, bookstore, and roundabout are going to to be constructed in the area, the latter development starting this week. Hopes for the roundabout, which is planned for the intersection of Chester Road and Rutgers Avenue, include it “improv[ing] a dangerous intersection and connect[ing] the college to its community.”

However, opponents of the roundabout see it a different way: Read more »

Tuesday Trinity: Diamond in the Rough

317 S. Iseminger Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

317 S. Iseminger Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

The homes on Elfreth’s Alley may be the favorites, but we know streets like Iseminger have homes that are just as special. Take this three-story golden nugget with a “communal green area,” for example.

Situated on a private block between 13th and Camac, this diamond in the rough may at first glance appear like too much of a renovation hassle. A closer look, however, reveals the property still has a certain historical charm: hardwoods dominate each floor, wood beams are on the second, and built-in bookshelves and French doors on the third. Additionally, a spiral staircase leads all the way from the tiled basement kitchen to the top level.

Of all the advice I think its future owner would need to hear, I think one Linus van Pelt said it best (only he was referring to something else): “It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” Take a look in the gallery below.

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Outstanding Graduate Hospital Contemporary


It’s no secret that people have mixed feelings about development in Graduate Hospital. Pros: There’s development in Graduate Hospital. Property values are up. People are moving there. Home sales are solid. Sunshine floods the streets. Cons: Picturesque and/or historic buildings get torn down to make way for new homes, and many of the homes are, well, less picturesque. They’re fine, mind you — they’re sleek and well-built and offer new residents plenty of perks. But the lack of contour, of curve, of old stone blushingly pink or brown, of stoops with worn white stone steps…it feels less like our colonial city and more like a prefab Tokyo suburb on the rise. And I’m going to keep saying that no matter how much delicious food I consume at Sidecar.

1934 Catharine, however, is “one of the better ones,” according to a colleague — and I have to agree. The corner home, built in 2008, is absolutely the best argument one could make for new construction homes in the area. Consider the following, which is just the tiniest fragment of the sliver of the picture of all the amenities you’ll find:

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The Jewel of East Passyunk Is on the Market for $1.25 Million

1026 Cross Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147

1026 Cross Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Flynn.

Any wine drinkers out there? The recently listed Jewel of Passyunk, a house so called in the listing, is owned by a celebrated wine aficionado who has a custom-built wine cellar inside the home.

A double-wrought iron gate bars the entrance to this five-story property, guarding an interior that consists of a vestibule entryway with closet and bathroom, custom kitchen with a 6-seat, granite-topped island, sunken living room with French door balcony, and a fitness center with sauna and hot tub.

The game room (located on the fourth floor) currently sports a pool table, video games, and custom-built wet bar with stained glass inlay. Wide-planked hardwoods are throughout the home, while an elevator hits up each floor. Other features to note: roof deck, two-car garage, stucco yard with garden and storage shade, and views of the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman bridges.

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Commission Approves Digital Signage on Market Street

A new rendering of 205 Race Street, courtesy of the developers.

The city’s Historical Commission has given the go-ahead to three landscape-changing projects in the area: signage for the Market Street side of the former Strawbridge & Clothier, the 205 Race Street development, and an addition to the former Warner Brothers Film Distribution Center.

In terms of 801 Market Street, PlanPhilly reports the Commission voted in favor of  “exterior marquee, awnings, banner signs, and lighting on the Market Street façade of the western half of the former Strawbridge & Clothier department store building.”

The lengthy going-back-to-the-drawing-board cycle for 205 Race has ended with the Commission’s approval of its most recent design. Construction on the mixed-use property, which will include 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and basement parking, is one step closer to reality.

The tower addition for the former Warner Bros. building on 13th and Florist also passed muster, following the Architectural Committee’s July recommendation for its approval — provided developers hew to five conditions. From PlanPhilly:

1. Details of the panel system, glazing, canopy, parapet wall, garage door, and fence are submitted;
2. Color samples of cladding materials for the addition in relation to the historic materials are submitted;
3. It is confirmed that the roof of the historic building will not be occupied;
4. Designs of any railings to installed on the roof of the historic building for occupancy are submitted; and,
5. The locations and configurations of all HVAC equipment are submitted.

• Historical Commission approves Warner Bros. building redo; 205 Race St. construction and 801 Market signage [PlanPhilly]

Harris Steinberg to Leave Penn for Drexel

harris-steinbergTomorrow Drexel University will announce to trustees and senior staff that Harris Steinberg, currently executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s PennPraxis, will become executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. The formal public announcement will come on Thursday, and Steinberg will start the new job — along with a faculty appointment at Westphal College — on November 1. Steinberg has been at Praxis for 12 and a half years, during which he’s expanded PennDesign‘s horizons beyond the classroom and into the community through planning, community development, civic engagement, nonprofit journalism, public art and other projects.

Steinberg’s new position will be in keeping with that pursuit. “Drexel is really doing some incredible work in the urban realm,” Steinberg says, “and it seems the right time to build on the work I’ve done at PennPraxis. It’s the kind of engagement that Penn pioneered in the ’90s.” He notes that Drexel’s current president, John Fry, was “one of the lead generals” in creating that framework.

As for the fate of PennPraxis, he says, “The hope is that things will keep going.” The dean, he says, has already requested a memo with information about who will take over his responsibilities in the interim. He’s equally optimistic about PlanPhilly, the website that is essential reading for people who care about what’s happening in the city’s built environment, from historical commission decisions to plans for new buildings. It’s invaluable, and Steinberg says that in both cases, “we have all of the players working hard to make sure that keeps going.”

Steinberg first stepped onto Penn’s campus 40 years ago — just one of many alums in his family tree. “My kids went here, my dad went here, I’ve got a lot of Penn ties,” he says, when asked if he’ll miss his current employer. “I’m only going two blocks.”

Parc Rittenhouse Condo: Can We Keep the Blue Sofa?


We love this condo, of course. Parc is lovely. The amenities (24-hour doorman; pool; gym; etc.) are terrific. The views are great. The location couldn’t be better. This unit features customized closets, a Sub Zero refrigerator and wine refrigerator, a Nest thermostat system, a Juliet balcony with French doors… You get the picture (or you will after the see the gallery). There’s even a parking spot for just $168 per month, which for indoor parking near the Square, is pretty good.

To the new owner: Seeing as you’re paying $1.8 million or thereabouts, perhaps you’re also buying a new sofa? Or bringing one you like? In which case, I’m sure you don’t mind donating this sofa to a needy real estate editor, whose IKEA leather sofa and Pier One circa-2001 couch are no longer making the grade…

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8th and Filbert May Look Like Crap Now…

Here’s a rendering from the Philadelphia Parking Authority of its vision for the future of 8th and Filbert. See the happy tourist taking photos? That person is noticeably absent in today’s dystopia.

Before/after image via PPA.

Before/after image via PPA.

Ah, we kid, we kid. Below, a slideshow of the entire transformation to come.

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