Manufacturing Philadelphia Tech Jobs: A New “Factory” to Rise on American Street

1525 North American Street

Streamline’s “jobs factory” pays homage to American Street’s past – and, the developers hope, its future. Rendering | Harman Deutsch Architecture

[Updated Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m. to indicate that a vote has yet to take place.]

South Kensington (or Old Kensington, to some) has historically been part of the city’s industrial heart, but lately developers responding to the residential boom in neighboring Northern Liberties and Fishtown have been giving those old industrial buildings heart transplants such as the one the current home of Spencer Industries on Mascher Street is about to get.

The city, it appears, hasn’t abandoned the notion that South Kensington can still be home to industry completely, though. American Street, an extra-wide north-south thoroughfare between Second and Third streets that still has a freight railroad line running down its middle (long abandoned, alas), is still mostly zoned industrial, and there’s still a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation intended to lure job-creating businesses running the length of the street in Kensington.

Yet most of these industrial-zoned lots remain vacant, like the one Streamline Solutions, a local development firm that specializes in residential projects, purchased on the east side of American Street, extending from Jefferson Street almost all the way to Oxford Street. Surrounding the lot are mostly residential structures, including a row of houses on the block’s Oxford Street side that clearly predate its I-2 zoning.

This would seem to be a great place to build new residences. But the lot’s zoned industrial, which means a variance would be required to build any residential structure.

Which led Streamline co-CEO Sean Frankel to propose a novel solution to the problem: Build townhomes on the back half of the lot and a “factory” of a different sort on the front.

“I spoke with our architects, and they said it was zoned for industrial and manufacturing,” he said. “I asked them if there was anything else we could do on the site.”

And that’s when Frankel had his epiphany: “I said, ‘We’re going to manufacture tech jobs.'”

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Report: Brickstone Planning Two Towers at 12th and Sansom

The garage at 12th and Sansom | Google Street View

The garage at 12th and Sansom | Google Street View

It seems like every other week we’re bringing you some news about a brand new development coming to Midtown Village. Well, buckle up, folks. It’s that time of the week again.

Brickstone Cos., the developer whose wrapping up a major apartment/Target project at 1112-1128 Chestnut Street and also working on restoring the Hale Building into offices, is planning their next big project: a large mixed-use development featuring two towers at 12th and Sansom.

The site is currently a lifeless parking garage, but Jacob Adelman of the Inquirer reports that Brickstone wants to bring at least one residential tower and a separate office tower with a hotel to the busy corner. As with their other projects, Brickstone is also planning on adding ground floor retail to bring some life to the street.

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Trinity Tuesday: No Hassle Home on North Orkney Street in NoLibs

TREND images via RE/MAX ACCESS – ZIllow

This one is pretty straightforward. Are you looking for a rehabbed and expanded trinity home near Girard Avenue in Northern Liberties? Of course you do. So let’s take a little tour of the property, yeah?

This one, located at 1019 North Orkney Street, comes with a bunch of upgrades, including a spiffed up kitchen with granite countertops, washer/dryer on the first floor and access to a large rear yard.

Probably the best part about this home is that it’s pretty much move-in ready. The windows are new, the HVAC has been updated and it’s located on a quiet dead end street a few steps from Las Cazuelas and The Fire, two favorite Philly spots that were on Girard Avenue before it was cool.

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Snøhetta Drops Stunning Renderings of the New Temple University Library

The main entrance to the new Temple University Library | ©MIR & Snøhetta

The main entrance to the new Temple University Library | ©MIR & Snøhetta

Snøhetta has a thing for designing spectacular libray buildings all around the globe, and it just so happens that one such building will soon rise from the ground on the campus of Temple University. If we can gather anything from the tantalizing renderings released today, the new “social core” of campus is going to be a stunner.

The design, as you may recall, received glowing support during the Civic Design Review process in the fall; even inspiring Philly’s own starchitect and CDR board member, Cecil Baker, to near poetry.  “I see your project and I get filled with hope,” Baker said, of Snøhetta’s work.

The new Temple University Library will be located on Liacouras Walk at the former site of Barton Hall and adjacent to the upcoming Quad, an expansive green space in the heart of campus. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2018.

More from Snøhetta, who collaborated with Stantec on the overall design: “This new library will put Temple University at the forefront of progressive research institutions. Acting as a new social, cultural, and intellectual hub for the university and surrounding community, the design serves the contemporary needs of a world-class research facility and its students.

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Is Blatstein Planning a Residential and Retail Complex at Former Foxwoods Site?

1401-99 South Columbus Boulevard | Google Maps

1401-99 South Columbus Boulevard | Google Maps

A new mixed-use complex on the Delaware River would bring apartments, townhouses, park space, and retail–including a new Wawa and an Aldi–to the mix of strip malls and big box stores on Columbus Boulevard in Pennsport. That’s according to a brochure from MSC Retail, which shows the expansive 16-acre parcel would essentially be divided into four distinct areas.

Bart Blatstein, who originally assembled the site some 20 years ago, purchased the property once again in 2014 for $13 million after plans for a Foxwoods Casino at 1401 South Columbus Boulevard failed to get off the ground.

A large retail complex would front Columbus Boulevard, which the brochure shows plans for a proposed Wawa at Tasker Street and an Aldi supermarket, located near a newly created drive aisle that looks to be an extension of Dickinson Street, the latter would get a new traffic light and extend to the river.

Blatstein couldn’t be reached for comment, but a person close to project said the plan is to be completed it in two phases: the retail portion opening in early 2017, and the residential part would follow at some point.

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#Phillyscape: Winter Storm Jonas Edition

There are a few things synonymous with big snowstorms: snowball fights, fireplaces and most importantly, Instagram opportunities. With that in mind, we decided today would be a good day to catch up on #phillyscape, our favorite Instagram hashtag to gather your best photos from around Philadelphia.

What we found did not disappoint, as Philadelphians clearly capitalized on the opportunities to post a ton of great photos from the blizzard. We chose our favorites and put them all together here for you to check out, whether you’re still snowed in or you (like us) made it in to work today and are looking for a distraction.

And don’t forget to keep posting photos with #phillyscape from around the city. We’re hoping to get this going again every Friday with our favorite sights.

[Check out the rest of our coverage of the historic blizzard here.]

Enjoy your day #Philadelphia. A great shot by @fr_nk ❄️❄️❄️

A photo posted by RECphilly (@recphilly) on

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After Winter Storm Jonas: Drone Video Showcases “Snowy Philadelphia”

Philadelphia, post Winter Storm Jonas | Image: Matt Satell, Philly By Air

Philadelphia, post Winter Storm Jonas | Image: Matt Satell, Philly By Air

You may have heard (or seen) that it snowed quite a bit over the weekend. So much so that the blizzard even had a name, Jonas.

All joking (and Weezer references) aside, it’s clear that the citizens of Philadelphia loved the winter weather, even if they’re still not fully dug out in a lot cases. Droves of people got outside and built snowmen (including Connor Barwin), chucked snowballs (even at reporters) and took to any semblance of a hill with a sled for some old-fashioned fun.

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PREIT Selling Two Center City Properties As Part of Fund-Raising Strategy

preit

1501 Walnut

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, the publicly traded trust that operates in the ownership of shopping malls and retail properties, is selling off five properties, including two in Center City.

This is part of PREIT’s strategy to sell off properties that don’t perform as well in order to raise money for more high profile ventures, according to philly.com’s Jacob Adelman.

“[PREIT] is concentrating its resources on malls with good locations in affluent areas and other competitive advantages,” Coradino said of the sales, after a presentation to investors.

One of the Center City buildings is at 1501-05 Walnut St., the building that PREIT agreed to house an AT&T store in back in June, essentially creating a “Cell Phone Alley” with the mega Verizon store in the glassy building at 1430 Walnut Street.

At the time, it was lauded as a transaction that was “representative of PREIT’s dominance in and significant knowledge of the retail landscape in Philadelphia” by Coradino. The AT&T store is still under construction.

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Farmhouse Friday: Sit Through the Snowstorm In This Revived Quakertown Home

TREND images by Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

With Winter Storm Jonas descending upon the Philadelphia area this weekend, this week’s Farmhouse Friday entry looks like a perfect place to wait out a blizzard. Built in 1790, the revived 3,670 square foot home in Quakertown has definitely seen its fair share of nor’easters before.

This house really embraces the farmhouse aesthetic, with hardwood floors, doors, staircases and cabinets throughout. Currently on sale for $1,695,000, it has four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

What stands out to us, though, and anybody else braving that Bucks County winter, are the fireplaces. There’s the original stone walk-in fireplace in the great room that serves as the center of the home, and there’s also a fireplace in the master bedroom.

Seriously, is there anything better than a fireplace in your bedroom? The answer is no.

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Rents Leveling Out in Philly, But University City is One of the Highest Priced ‘Hoods

Image via Zumper

Image via Zumper

The Philadelphia rental market ranks 16th in the nation in terms of average rents per one-bedroom apartment. As more units come on board in Center City and beyond, new data from Zumper shows that the rise in rents in the city as a whole has stalled, with prices for a one-bedroom dropping 10.5% over the past year (2.9% for two-bedrooms pads).

Unsurprisingly, Center City remains the strongest and most expensive market in Philly, with the highest priced neighborhood, Logan Square (hello, Granary!), averaging $1,870 per month. According to industry experts, renters can now expect to pay over $3 per square foot for rentals in those Class A buildings in Center City, such as Icon 1616, 2116 Chestnut, and even soon-to-debut buildings like 1919 Market and the Dalian at Rodin Square behind the Barnes Foundation (hello, Whole Foods!).

University City comes in a close second at $1,850 per month. According to a recent University City District report, the median rent in the booming Eds, Meds and Tech district sits at $1,450 per month, so expect something in that ballpark, considering the influx of new units planned in the coming years.

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