Trinity Tuesday: Something Extra in Queen Village

229 Fulton St., Unit E, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147 | TREND Images from BHHS Fox & Roach

Somewhere between 1920 (the date this house was built, according to the listing) and today, someone was enamored enough of this trinity on a quiet secluded alleyway in Queen Village to double down on it.

Because of that, you get double for your money: twice the bathrooms, twice the fireplaces, twice the outdoor space and nearly twice the typical square footage of a trinity. You also get some unusual extras in the bargain. Read more »

Philly House Values Shoot Past Pre-Recession Levels

The latest data from Drexel's Lindy Institute show house prices in Philadelphia have fully rebounded from their post-recession lows. | Photo credit: iStock/Pgiam

The latest data from Drexel’s Lindy Institute show house prices in Philadelphia have fully rebounded from their post-recession lows. | Photo credit: iStock/Pgiam

Something very unusual happened in the winter of 2016 in Philadelphia: Not only did house prices continue their upward climb from their post-housing-bubble low, but they set a new all-time high, and house sales rose from the prior quarter along with them.

The first-quarter 2016 Philadelphia housing market report from Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and Myers Research show that the citywide house price index hit an all-time high of 473.5 in the first quarter of 2016. (The index’s base value is the average house value in the first quarter of 1980.) That represents a 3.9 percent increase over the index value in the previous quarter and a one percent increase over the index’s pre-recession peak of 466.9 in the second quarter of 2006. The median sale price citywide also rose to an all-time high of $143,000 in the quarter just ended. Read more »

Main Line Monday: A Real Bargain in Penn Valley

1600 Hagys Ford Rd 3M living & dining room

1600 Hagys Ford Rd., Unit 3M, Penn Valley, Pa. 19072 | Images from owner via Zillow

Ladies and gentlemen, get your mortgage financing lined up now if living in one of the Main Line’s loveliest residential communities is on your wish list, for it’s a good bet that by the time you read this, this fairly roomy, very sunny, up-to-date condominium in Penn Valley will have gotten multiple offers for its owner, who is handling its sale directly.

But just in case we’re wrong about that, we’re showing it to you anyway. Read more »

Lawyer: Blatstein Doesn’t Own Broad & Washington, Can’t Seek Zoning Approval

The vacant lot on northeast corner of Broad and Washington. | Photo via Google Street View.

The vacant lot on northeast corner of Broad and Washington | Photo via Google Street View

A lawyer for N/H Philadelphia Properties, the New York real estate company that owns the long-vacant lot at the corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue in South Philly’s Hawthorne section, has sent a letter to the Zoning Board of Adjustment saying that developer Bart Blatstein has no legal right to the property and asking the board to hold its decision on the zoning approvals Blatstein is seeking for 30 more days.

For two years, Blatstein’s development company, Tower Investments, has been pursuing a project at the corner involving a 32-story apartment tower and a rooftop retail village. The zoning board heard his application for special exceptions last month, but opted to hold its decision for two weeks. It later voted to approve the project, then decided to vacate that vote because two weeks hadn’t passed. At a meeting last week, when the board was scheduled to take its final vote, two board members were absent and no vote took place. Read more »

Farmhouse Friday: A Star-Studded Spread in New Hope

5736 Stoney Hill Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND Images via Addison Wolfe Real Estate

5736 Stoney Hill Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | TREND Images via Addison Wolfe Real Estate

Are you the type that enjoys having guests come by for a spell? What about famous ones?

You can add them to the roster of boldface names that have spent time at Stone Court Farm near New Hope. You’ll be able to accommodate them in style in one of this farm’s two outbuildings.

This 11-acre estate dates to the 1760s, but the land on which it sits was once part of William Penn’s personal landholdings in his new colony, deeded to an heir in 1681, not long after he received Pennsylvania from King Charles II as repayment of a debt the king owed his father.

The main house, cottage and barn all date to 1795, and all three have been updated to accommodate contemporary lifestyles while preserving all of their historic charm. Read more »

Presidential City Gets Its Own Resort

Sora Pool Club

The Sora Pool Club. The Olympic-size lap pool is in the foreground, and the clubhouse is in the back. | Photo: Sandy Smith

Matt and Mike Pestronk, the brains behind Post Brothers Apartments, have a flair for in-your-face public relations, as those who recall the campaign they waged against construction-trades union members who picketed their Goldtex apartment conversion in Callowhill may recall.

They’re also experts at selling sizzle — but they also offer the steak to go with the sizzle.

Post Brothers formally took the wraps off the latest proof of their expertise last night (May 11) at the Presidential City apartment complex on the Philadelphia side of City Avenue in Wynnefield Heights. Read more »

How 1213 Walnut Will Play Nice With Fergie’s

1213 Walnut, Sansom elevation

This rendering of the Sansom Street elevation of 1213 Walnut Street was produced on April 12 by the Design Collective.

Ever since it was first announced by its previous developer, it’s been known that the mixed-use apartment/retail building now rising at 1213 Walnut St., popularly known as the “Fergie Tower,” will envelop the two-story Fergie’s Pub building on Sansom Street.

But up until now, we haven’t seen just how the building will envelop it. Previous project architect TEN Arquitectos, which U3 Ventures had chosen to design the tower it proposed to build, never released to the public renderings of the Sansom Street side of the building.

We now have them, courtesy the Design Collective, the Baltimore-based architect co-developers Hines, the Goldenberg Group and ASB Real Estate Investments chose to design the project they rescuscitated when delays due to opposition from Fergie’s and near neighbors, and then the Great Recession, prevented U3 from proceeding. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: History Now in Society Hill

James and Dolley Madison House, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

James and Dolley Madison House, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

Our Founders, it turns out, were very forward-thinking people.

At least that’s the impression we get after taking a look at the house James and Dolley Madison once occupied in Society Hill.

Who knew they invented the open plan main floor? We sure didn’t.

Truth to tell, the Madisons have nothing to do with the way this spectacular Federal townhouse looks now. Its inside is the product of a meticulous top-to-bottom renovation that respects the home’s historic heritage while filling it with all the latest in style, comfort, features and amenities. Read more »

The Divine Lorraine, Getting Ready For Its Closeup

The lobby of the Divine Lorraine, outfitted with a "check-in counter" for today's open house. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The lobby of the Divine Lorraine, outfitted with a “check-in counter” for today’s open house. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Around the turn of the last century, when the four buildings developer Eric Blumenfeld is in the process of reconstructing were built, North Broad Street was the address of choice for Philadelphia’s new money. The streetcar magnates and captains of industry who built mansions along this street staked it out after the city’s old-money Establishment around Rittenhouse Square shunned them.

The mansions have all vanished from the scene, but today, North Broad Street is witnessing another influx of new money, this time in the form of millions of dollars being invested in its redevelopment as a live/work/play environment. Four buildings, all owned by Blumenfeld, are serving as the linchpins of that transformation, building on his earlier success with conversion of a factory to loft apartments and a former car dealership into restaurants and a catering hall.

Blumenfeld, his chief financier William Procida of Procida Funding and Advisors, and commercial real estate agents Dominique Casimir and Jackie Balin of CBRE Fameco led a group of about 20 interested parties and two reporters on a tour of the four buildings this morning. Read more »

AIA Philadelphia Honors a Fantastic Architect

1200 Intrepid Avenue at the Navy Yard, the first Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) building in Philadelphia | Rendering: BIG

1200 Intrepid Avenue at the Navy Yard, the first Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) building in Philadelphia | Rendering: BIG

After hearing Bjarke Ingels give a tour of his career and the principles that animate his design philosophy on Monday evening at the Penn Museum, one question immediately sprang to mind when I got a minute to interview him privately:

“Did you read comic books as a kid?”

“Yes, I did read graphic novels growing up,” was his reply.

The celebrated Danish architect and winner of this year’s Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award from the Center for Architecture and Design has amassed an extensive portfolio of buildings that seem to be rooted in fantasy in one way or another. From a LEGO museum that can be replicated to exact scale with the plastic building blocks to a waste-to-energy plant that will double as Denmark’s first and only ski slope, Ingels’ projects all incorporate elements that make you laugh, say “Wow!”, smile in admiration and scratch your head in wonder at how he gets away with it all. Read more »

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