Morning Headlines: Main Line Takes Steps Toward Revitalization

150 monument road bala cynwyd screenshot

Photo credit: Google Street View

A 207-unit apartment has been proposed for 150 Monument Road in Bala Cynwyd, a project to be presented before the Lower Merion Township Planning Commission this Monday.

The Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison says the planned six-story building would be situated on a seven-acre plot in Bala Cynwyd that currently hosts another six-story building used for office space. Allison also reports the project includes a central courtyard with pool deck, commercial/restaurant space (3,700 square feet), and a four-story parking garage, which is to have 673 parking spaces, 207 of which would be for apartment tenants.

The proposed development is one of many (some of which are already in progress), and the result of revitalization goals for the City Avenue commercial district:
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Spruce Street Gem Built by Stephen Girard with Private Park Entrance

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

In a city where founders left history on practically every block in some neighborhoods, Stephen Girard still stands out. The guy stuck around Philadelphia during two separate yellow fever outbreaks to help the sick and dying. And then he personally bailed out the government to ensure the Americans would win the War of 1812. He provided for the city’s orphans in his will, establishing Girard College (for background on the school’s eventual desegregation as well as a fascinating story about the perimeter wall, check out Hidden City). Society Hill still bears reminders of the philanthropist, especially on Spruce Street.

This enormous home was built by Girard in 1831 and has since been restored and preserved. The listing claims in excess of 4,200 square feet but the agent’s notes tell us it’s closer to 5,200 square feet. In short, it’s huge. There are plenty of period details (the usual plaster, pine floors and winding stairs found throughout Society Hill). Our favorite is the actual King of Prussia marble in the fireplaces.The home itself has four bedrooms and four full baths.

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The Top 5 Things Smart Philly Residents Care About [UPDATED]

UPDATE: The below has been clarified to reflect the fact that PlanPhilly was concerned only with issues around the built and natural environments, as they wrote in their post. Another clarification: My original title for this post was “Top 5 Things Planning Nerds Care About,” but I chose to make it more positive. Readers of PlanPhilly, in my experience, are all very bright. Who else would read devotedly about planning and zoning?

In order to create a more perfect Philadelphia as we move toward an election year, PennPraxis and PlanPhilly presented PlanPhilly’s readers with a list of what they described as the “most important issues facing Philadelphia’s built and natural environments” and asked their readers to answer one important question: “Which three of these issues do you feel are the most important for Philadelphia’s future?”

“We’ll use this information to help shape research and civic engagement by PennPraxis staff and reporting by PlanPhilly journalists,” writes Evan Croen, PlanPhilly’s website administrator and A Person Who Moved Here From Brooklyn.

The survey results showed that the top 5 issues are:

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Multimillion Dollar Clothier Estate Back on the Market

711-mount-moro-road-opener

This home — once called Selkirk — belonged to Lydia Clothier and her husband when the Main Line was dotted by many opulent Clothier family properties. Later this estate went through a religious conversion, becoming the Faith Bible Presbyterian Church in 1966 before returning to its secular life as a personal residence.

With eight bedrooms and seven baths, the home is just shy of 9,000 square feet and has 13 fireplaces, a sauna, pool, tennis courts and gardens. Like many grand estates, it’s been a tough sell. Buyers often wonder about upkeep and operating expenses, and sellers are often reluctant to go beneath a certain number. In this case, after all, it’s a historic property. It’s tough to swallow the notion that one can’t get an original asking price.

The current owners listed it for sale initially, according to Public Record, in 2010 for $2,495,000. The price came down in July 2011 to $2,345,000 and stayed right there as it went on and off the market through January 2014. Now it’s finally reduced to $1,950,000, a reduction of $395,000. Will this do the trick?

Gallery below.

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Almost Sold: $1.2M Hexagonal Home in Wynnewood

105 cherry lane wynnewood pa

Designed by late Philadelphia architect Henry Magaziner (son of the famous Louis Magaziner), this five-bedroom home was put on the market in April at $1,395,000, according to Realtor.com. Now it’s listed as pending sale at $1.2 million. Located on 1.6 acres, the unusual home features several unique details, most notably an eat-in kitchen with a skylight that looks like the portal to a midcentury modern spaceship. The home is rich with skylights and glass walls.

Below, a gallery of the home.

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Morning Headlines: SugarHouse Begins $164M Expansion

SugarHouse photo courtesy sameold210 via Flickr.

SugarHouse photo courtesy sameold210 via Flickr.

You may not remember it now, but when SugarHouse opened in 2010, the casino was not quite finished. Yes, the facility was built, but there were further plans for expansion. After years of legal battles and delays, executives (and local pols) broke ground yesterday. The Inquirer’s Harold Brubaker has all the details.

The expansion, expected to open next year, will more than double the size of SugarHouse, to 260,000 square feet from 108,000 square feet, not including a 600,000-square-foot, seven-story parking garage that will give poker players, in particular, quick access to the tables.

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5BR Center City Home for Less Than $1M

TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach- Center City Walnut

TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach- Center City Walnut

This home has a lot to offer for a five-bedroom, single-family Center City home priced under a million bucks. To wit: several fireplaces; a yard; one-year prepaid gated parking; a separate au pair suite with a full kitchen; multiple skylights, including one that leads to the roof via ladder; a covered portico balcony with great views; plenty of storage space; period details like tile and wood built-ins and hardwood floors; central air; a wood-burning stove in a bathroom; and a circular kitchen.

Why a circular kitchen should appeal is a mystery, but I find it very attractive. I suppose if I were a good cook, rather than a proficient microwaver, I would like the way a circle could facilitate a certain order to my food prep. But as it is now, I simply find it a comforting architectural detail. Like I kind of want to sleep in there.

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The Beury Building Is Up for Sheriff’s Sale

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

The poor Beury Building has not been rescued in Divine Lorraine fashion. In fact, the latest listings show that the foreclosed building will go up for Sheriff’s Sale on August 5. Mind you, it’s had liens on it since 2011 and could have gone to Sheriff’s Sale well before now, but that’s Philadelphia for you.

The building is owned by North Philly Works Inc., which is registered to New York-based entrepreneur Imar Hutchins–owner of Florida Avenue Grill in Washington, D.C. and no stranger to foreclosures himself. It’s also part of Shift Capital‘s portfolio; Hutchins is a Shift Capital principal, though its main number yields a voice mail for Shift founder Brian Murray, who’s out of town until July 29th. I left a message for a disembodied voice who may or may not be the robot for Imar Hutchins, and sent an email as well. Someone will get back to us to fill us in, I’m sure. Meanwhile, here is a spectacular gallery of the building taken by Laura Kicey.

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Postgreen Offers Peek At Its Next Project

postrgreen-trenton-ave

Trenton Avenue, which begins in the triangle where Fishtown, East Kensington and Port Richmond overlap, is a broad thoroughfare that once was a bustling industrial corridor. Now, save for one day a year, it’s mostly a quiet residential street.

Chad Luderman, CEO of Postgreen Homes, believes this transformation was a mistake. Not that he wants to bring back industry, but rather, it’s that a street this wide makes for a natural commercial corridor. (It certainly makes a great setting for an arts festival and kinetic sculpture race.)

It may be too late to add commerce to the rest of the street, but Luderman’s going to at least try to salvage a little stretch of it.

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Morning Headlines: Experts Consider Atlantic City’s Fate

Photo courtesy  Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The Inquirer has a lengthy report this morning speculating on Atlantic City’s fate come September, when as many as four Boardwalk properties may be vacant. Suzette Parmley talks to a variety of authorities and rubberneckers, and even nabs a quote from Carl Dranoff while he’s at dinner.

With the Atlantic Club having closed in January, Trump Plaza closing in September and Revel and Showboat in dire straits, Mayor Don Guardian tells Parmley that the city is considering using the old casinos for other purposes. Changes will need the go-ahead from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

What would the other purposes be? Parmley found a few people with suggestions. One possible tenant would be Richard Stockton College, which has expressed interest in opening a campus in Atlantic City:

The changing landscape in A.C. makes it more important than ever to diversify the economic base in Atlantic City, as well as provide four-year degree and higher educational opportunities for the many employees being displaced,” Stockton president Herman Saatkamp said in a statement Wednesday. “A college campus complete with housing and surrounding businesses would be a significant asset to these needs.

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