Farmhouse Friday: Pastoral West Chester Gem Listed for $2.75 Million

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

It’s been in the hands of one family for close to a century, but now’s your chance to make it yours: Deborah’s Rock Farm in West Chester is on the market. Listed last month for a cool $2.75 million, the historic 88-acre estate claims a 9,000-square-foot stone manor home that’s been beautifully preserved and maintained, original bank barn, and tenant house. To boot, it’s got frontage on the Brandywine River and views of the Natural Lands Trust Stroud Preserve.

Like several of our farmhouse selections, Deborah’s Rock claims distinct architectural details that amplify its rustic appeal: brick-floored entrance hall, seven fireplaces, wood-burning stove, beehive oven, and a stone ha-ha wall. The country kitchen, which overlooks the gardens and Preserve, is centrally located at the core of the manor, making it easy to move between the formal dining room and family room.

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Pearl Properties Reportedly Buys Lululemon Building on Walnut Street

Photo via Lululemon/Facebook

The building at 1527 Walnut Street | Photo via Lululemon/Facebook

It looks as though Pearl Properties will continue to up its holdings within the heart and soul of Center City. This time, the real estate company has reportedly purchased the building at 1527 Walnut Street. You might know it as the former Lululemon storefront where, in February, loose bricks from an adjacent building at 1529 Walnut Street, a property owned by Pearl, crashed through the roof, injuring three shoppers and resulting in the closure of the store.

Lululemon has since moved to a temporary storefront down the street at 1422 Walnut Street, and Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the issues at 1527 Walnut hasn’t deterred Pearl Properties from shelling out $10.5 million for the 3,415-square-foot store. Why? Insiders anticipate the developer will eventually take advantage of the prime location–and its air rights–to build up at the site of the low-slung, one-story building.

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Tacony Named “Great Neighborhood” Winner by American Planning Association

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

“Will people finally notice Tacony?” was a question posed right here on Property many, many moons ago (about a month or so after the blog was started, actually). It wasn’t meant to snub, but was, rather, a sincere query in the wake of a surging neighborhood revitalization effort made by the Tacony Community Development Corporation with other local groups.

More recently, Tacony CDC Corridor Manager Alex Balloon took to the Historic Tacony Revitalization Project blog in January to make known the slew of projects slated to improve the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. And boy, are those efforts noticed now!

See, the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter has announced this year’s winners of its Great Places awards, honors bestowed on a select number of “unique, memorable places” in the categories of “Great Neighborhoods” and “Great Public Spaces.” Tacony is one of two “Great Neighborhoods” winners, meaning it has been shown to have “exemplary character, quality, planning, identity, cultural interest, and community involvement with a sustainable vision for tomorrow.” You can see the rest of the winners here.

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Former Italian Consulate Turned Mega Mansion Asks $3.25M

All images by TREND via Redfin

All images by TREND via Redfin

Whoa. Could you imagine if this mega-mansion designed by Theophilus P. Chandler  – for the record, historical notes also attribute it to Horace Trumbauer – at the corner of 22nd and Locust was your personal residence? Well, if you’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.25 million, it could be. Heck, even if you’re more the developer/investor type, the property has RM-1 zoning, so something like a condo building conversion is definitely a possibility.

Commissioned by steel businessman Frank Samuel (who may have been the same Frank Samuel who was V.P. of the North Branch Steel Company, “the first to produce the modern street-car rail“) in 1899, the four-story Federal brick beauty went up sometime in the early 1900s. Today, it boasts several features from the era: original stained glass windows, panelings, moldings, parquet and herringbone wood floors, and even a defunct elevator that used to go up to the third level. Bonus historical tidbit? It served as the headquarters for the Italian consulate back in the seventies. And with that, can you guess how many bedrooms it has?

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Divine Lorraine Update: Four “Vetri-Caliber” Restaurants Planned

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

It’s not a dream, people. The long-planned transformation of the Divine Lorraine Hotel into a luxury apartment building starting to become a reality. It’s now fully funded and Chris Cordaro, vice president with EB Realty Management (EBRM), has let us in on some tantalizing tidbits of information regarding the mother of all redevelopment projects, as well as a few others EBRM properties.

Though Billy Procida, the investor behind the project, said that construction could start on the Divine Lorraine by the end of July, Cordaro tells us they’re currently planning a groundbreaking event of sorts at the site, “probably in early August.”

As you know, New York-based developer RAL is planning a large scale apartment tower/grocery store directly next to the Divine Lorraine on Ridge Avenue. Cordaro said the the two groups have been collaborating closely to make sure the buildings work with each other. As such, a shared green wall will be erected alongside the “Garden Veranda” level of the Divine Lorraine.

That brings us to the retail portion of the project. Cordaro mentioned that they’ve identified restaurateurs for the commercial space, which will now be four new restaurant concepts “of the Vetri-caliber” and not high end retailers.

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Headlines: Planning Commission Greenlights North 5th Street Projects

5th and Fairmount | via Phila.gov

5th and Fairmount | via Phila.gov

Two large residential projects on North 5th Street received the blessing of the Planning Commission this week, reports Jared Brey of PlanPhilly.

U.S. Construction is developing 43-units at 5th and Fairmount. The project will also include a corner retail space and a green central courtyard. John Farina, developer/builder with U.S. Construction told us in June that they could start construction as early as August. Brey reports the project will go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on July 29th, as a variance is needed for multi-family use.

The Planning Commission also considered a 23-building, 45-unit project on 5th and Thompson Street. Similar to the 5th and Fairmount development, plans include a corner retail space, but also a community dog park on Orkney Street. Brey notes that developer Sean Frankel addressed some feedback heard during Civic Design Review process, “[Frankel] had the layout reorganized so that all the living quarters are above grade. In addition, the developer added landscaping elements to the parking area to meet the 10-percent requirement of the zoning code.”

More Real Estate (and Ramen) Headlines:

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The Latest Word on Market Street West

Could Market Street West really be waking up? We said it last week, and now the Inquirer’s latest article on the the Murano, the 43-story condo tower at 2101 Market, is driving the thought even further by saying it’s the living manifestation of the change.

First, though, an update on the tract of Market Street land newly acquired by Brandywine Realty Trust: we now know how much it cost. According to Inky’s Jacob Adelman, city documents show Brandywine paid up $16.6 million for the 37,000-square-foot plot. As we told you previously, the site is on the 2100 block’s southern side near the planned June 5th Memorial Park. Whatever they have planned for the spot, we’ll keep you posted.

But back to “West Market Street Rising” news: Alan J. Heavens reports the Murano, a high-rise completed back in 2008 for a total sum of $165 million, could be the true-life embodiment of “the Center City condo market’s turnaround.” From the Inquirer:

Next month, the last of the Murano’s 302 original units will go to settlement – a milestone that local real estate observers consider not only a measure of market strength but a 180-degree turnaround in the perception of the viability of that Market Street West.

“The area between 20th Street and the Schuylkill River is clearly filling in the dead zones with new residential and mixed-use projects,” said developer Carl Dranoff.

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Raw Space Alert: Tri-Balcony Penthouse at The Rittenhouse Asks $6.25M

Here is what Penthouse 2903-04 looks like today. | Photos: Allan Domb Real Estate

Oh man, here’s a fun listing for those of you looking for some major floor plan porn (yes, that’s a thing). Nearly 6,000-square-foot of prime penthouse space at The Rittenhouse has just hit the market, and in a big way.

Listed at $6.25 million, Penthouse 2903-04 offers 5,940-square-feet of raw space and three, count ‘em, three balconies with 270-degree views, including the skyline, Rittenhouse Square, Schuylkill River, Fairmount Park and University City. Remember that drone video from a few weeks back that hovered over Rittenhouse Square? Yeah, that’s the view from the master bedroom on the sample/proposed floor plan for this place.

“The floor plan on the website is one idea for the space, but the buyer can design the space to his/her specs,” a rep from Allan Domb‘s office, the listing agent on the property, told us in an email. Check it:

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Jaw Dropper of the Week: Bauhan-Redesigned Barn at Burnt House Hill

TREND images via Zillow.com

TREND images via Zillow.com

“His homes are like a well-tailored suit.” Those are the words of a homeowner living in a residence designed by Princeton architect Rolf W. Bauhan. In that same interview, we learn Bauhan had a penchant for the Colonial Revival style and many of his projects are “marked by fine craftsmanship, comfort, and attention to detail.”

Well, gee. If that’s the case, then we should count our blessings, as we’ve just spotted a Bauhan renovation in our neck of the woods!

Nestled on a leafy plot in Doylestown, the Barn at Burnt House Hill (wonder what happened there) is a gorgeous barn conversion with a two-story great room with original stone walls, retreat-like master suite on the third floor, and an in-law apartment on the lower level. It’s a mature structure to be sure (200 years old!), but you wouldn’t guess it from looking at the kitchen, newly renovated with white Carrera marble.

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Fingers Crossed: Richard Neutra’s Pitcairn House is Under Contract

Inside the Pitcairn House

Inside the Pitcairn House

We don’t want to jinx it, but the Pitcairn House in Bryn Athyn is under contract. The listing recently changed hands to Frank Blumenthal of Keller Williams Realty, who confirmed that a deal is “slated to go to settlement in about three weeks, like the middle of August.”

The masterpiece was designed by legendary modernist architect Richard Neutra and built between 1958 and 1962. We begged someone to snap it up (and give us a tour?) in February. It looks like that’s finally happened.

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