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?

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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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On the Market: Danny Seo’s Bucks County Stunner

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Photo via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International

Reading, Pa. native Danny Seo is a male, environmentally conscious Martha Stewart — if Martha Stewart were busier than she is and not an ex-felon. He’s a published book author. He has a syndicated column called “Do Just One Thing.” He has a line of home products is sold at TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. He’s a Today show regular. He makes organic wines, and sells his bath products and fragrances on the Home Shopping Network. He’s a spokesperson for a couple companies. And now he’s a magazine publisher, with the first issue of Naturally, Danny Seo out this month.

As an introduction to Seo, the magazine features his Bucks County “glass house,” which is a mid-century modern-style beauty — a little Kahn-inspired jewel in the woods. An interview with him about the house does more to explain its appeal than any listing could. A few excerpts:

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Morning Headlines: Flipping the Conventional Wisdom on Renters

Photo by Michelle W. via Flickr.

Photo by Michelle W. via Flickr.

Kellie Patrick Gates parses a hefty city planning commission survey at PlanPhilly this morning. Among the findings that might surprise you if you still subscribe to antiquated notions about renters: they are “highly committed” to their neighborhoods; many choose to rent despite their ability to buy; and the most highly committed renters in Philly appear to live outside Center City.

Among the findings that night not surprise you:

Other factors that respondents said kept them from buying included some Philadelphia-specific criticisms: School quality (31 percent), taxes (29 percent), the feeling they could get more house for less money outside the city (27 percent).

The report also found that Center City renters love exactly what you think they’d love. Restaurants, amenities and walkability. Renters in neighborhoods outside Center City cited closeness to friends and family as behind their decisions to rent where they do.

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Wee Price Cut: Exquisite Lane’s End Estate

Lane's End Farm

If you were waiting for the price to go down on Lane’s End Farm, have we got good news for you. The rustic estate whose long tree-lined road could make, as Shannon Rooney noted, “even the hardiest of city dwellers among us feel a pang,” has had its price reduced! Well, reduced only by $355,000, but still.

The property includes a main house, pool, stone barn, two cottages, and a collection of garages and other out-buildings. Gallery below.

THE FINE PRINT
Beds: 5
Baths: 4 full, 1 half
Square feet: 5,770
Price: $2,895,000

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Contemporary Chestnut Hill Manse Bordering Philadelphia Cricket Club

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

The listing for this contemporary estate in Chestnut Hill pegs its construction somewhere around 1974. Which would make it about 120 years younger than its closest neighbor, the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Like its neighbor, the home features lots of lush green land and plenty of 215 cachet.

The home features five bedrooms and three full baths on just more than an acre of land. Glass doors and wall-sized windows allow plenty of light but the secluded setting ensures privacy. The kitchen is ringed with custom cabinets and also includes a large center island and top-of-the-line appliances like a six-burner Viking stove. A two-story addition makes room for a garden room, family room, TV room and sun room (in another house, these four rooms would be the same). The master suite includes a private bath with a sauna and six enormous closets.
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Morning Headlines: More Info On Planned W / Element Hotels Coming Next Week

Photo by Sandy Smith via the Philadelphia Real Estate Blog.

1441 Chestnut. Photo by Sandy Smith via the Philadelphia Real Estate Blog.

According to PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey, the developers of the planned W and Element Hotels at 15th and Chestnut (currently a parking lot) don’t need zoning variances to build their project. For this reason, their meeting with the Center City Residents Association next week, where they will present their new designs, will be for informational purposes only.

Here’s what to expect of the double tower:

According to a description shared with PlanPhilly by an attorney working on the project, the hotels will have a total of 755 rooms. There will be 295 rooms in the four-star W Hotel, and 460 rooms in the three-star, extended-stay Element by Westin. The entire hotel operation will be managed by Starwood, a Connecticut-based hospitality company.

The project will also include more than 1,700 square feet of retail space on the ground floor at the corner of 15th and Chestnut. The developer, Brook Lenfest, is seeking LEED Certification for the building.

Lenfest, if you recall, caused waves last year when he requested (and got) $33 million in tax breaks for the project.

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Wilmington Mansion With Its Own Waterpark

This is one of those family backyards that are always occupied. Always. Take a look at what basically amounts to a water park in the gallery and you’ll see what I mean. But even without that popular area, the Delaware manse might seduce buyers anyway.

Traditional hardwoods are featured strongly throughout the home, save for the front-to-back foyer, which boasts checkered marble flooring instead. The living room leads into a coffered-ceiling sunroom and an office with cherry millwork. Mansion-style amenities include a fireplace in the master bath; a computer nook; a billiards room; and a stocked bar. From the kitchen (custom cabinetry, granite countertops, double Sub Zero fridge and Miele dishwasher) there’s access to two rooms: 1) a family room with vaulted ceiling, built-ins, and wood burning stove; and 2) a breakfast room with vaulted ceiling and view of the water park — well, they don’t call it that, but they do say it’s “resort-like”. There’s a waterfall, slide, winter hot tub, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, travertine patio and custom pergola, among other resort touches.

Gallery below.

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Urgent Staging Assistance Needed

Is it not possible to simply go in and just stuff a bunch of the items pictured into a garbage bag? I mean, there are homes being offered for less than $14,000 that have dignified photos, even foreclosures.

The listings copy reads:

Investor special on North Philly row home! This property is NOT a shell but does need some cleanout & cosmetics. Great opportunity for a long term buy & hold. Property is being sold as is.



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