Author: Liz Spikol

Morning Headlines: New York Times Covers Philadelphia’s Land Bank Battle

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Even in the winter, Parvin State Park is pretty. Via stateparks.com

  • Could the vast number of empty properties plaguing Philly neighborhoods be the push needed to create a land bank? The New York Times reports on Philadelphia’s battle with blight.
  • Like many state parks, New Jersey’s Parvin State Park has a rich history. Sadly, its level of disrepair requires immediate action, according to Edward Colimore.

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Should the City Do An Economic Impact Study of SugarHouse?

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Over at the Philly Post, Andrew Thompson is asking why the City of Philadelphia — in the midst of waiting for its second casino license — has not followed through on an assertion that it would do an independent economic impact study of SugarHouse. After all, experts tell Thompson it would take about a month to do such an assessment, so it isn’t a question of time.

But municipal musical chairs and forgotten conversations seem to be the problem now, four years after Terry Gillen first mentioned the idea to City Paper’s then-staff writer Isaiah Thompson. She later reversed course, saying the city was not doing an impact study after all — perhaps a miscommunication.

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Blog of the Week: “Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs”

Here’s the concept: “Inexplicably bad property photographs. It’s that simple.” And it is. It’s also incredibly funny. Realtor friends, help us understand: How did these happen?

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The one above is captioned: “Whatever this furniture was doing before it was interrupted and photographed, I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t have been doing it.”

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Can Richard Gere Come to Town and Live in the Manor to Which He’s Accustomed?

Richard Gere's Hamptons view.

Richard Gere's Hamptons view.

Our friend HughE over at PhillyChitChat tells us that Richard Gere is coming to live in the Greater Philadelphia area to film the movie Fanny, and that he’s likely to rent “in the suburbs” because that’s where the majority of the movie will be filmed. “The suburbs,” you’ll admit, is a rather large chunk of [...]

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Wilson Goode Jr. Gets Radical About Property Taxes

GoodeLG1A tax abatement — an exemption from paying taxes on a property for a given number of years — seems like a pretty terrific perk. Who wouldn’t want an abatement? But the notion gets complex in neighborhoods “in transition” — places where property taxes are going up for longtime residents and new construction for new residents comes with an abatement in place.

The abatements also complicate the school funding picture, as they reduce the amount of money that goes to the District.

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Morning Headlines: King of Jeans Building to Get New Proposal

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A rendering of Max Glass' proposed King of Jeans redo.

The former King of Jeans store — best known for its (ironically?) beloved sign — has been flirting with apartment conversion for more than a year now. Max Glass (son of Nancy) was the first developer to pitch an idea to the neighborhood, and in his vision, twentysomething singles would move into the rehabbed-for-residential building, their bikes in tow, bringing more of the vitality and youth East Passyunk Crossing is known for.

Glass’ plans fell through and now a new developer waits in the wings to reveal new plans for 1843-5 E Passyunk Ave. at the next meeting of the EPX Civic Association zoning meeting. All we know so far: the first floor would be commercial space and there would be a total of 16 apartments, half of them one-bedrooms and the other half two-bedrooms.

For those with a stake in the action, there’s more information at Philadelphia Speaks.

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Tonight: Shaggy Bark’s Extravagant Open House

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Realtor Caryn Black does not do things halfway. The self-proclaimed HDTV addict was watching Listings LA one day and saw that the listings agent had a car — a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, she’s not sure which — at an open house. “And I said, ‘I can outdo that.’” So she made a couple of calls and secured several cars for tonight’s open house, including a Rolls Royce from Emporio Motors.

She’s also partnered with artist Jan Rattia, who is lending her three works to put on display at the house — which is itself a work of art (see gallery, below). There will be food from well-known New Hope chef Jamie Hollander as well as music — though as of press time, we hadn’t yet heard if Black had secured the rapper she was considering for the event. “I’m from New York,” she says, “so I don’t like to think small.”

Blowout events like these tend to work, Black says — at least now they do.

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Blatstein Puts Tower Place Up for Sale

Tower Investments’ Bart Blatstein is planning to unload his Tower Place, the H2L2-designed apartment building that took less than a year to go up within the frame of a mid-century state office building. The luxury tower, which has 204 apartments, is 75 percent occupied, writes Natalie Kostelni, and is being marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle. [...]

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Back on the Market: 1352 Lofts, With Fresh Design Notes

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Whether it’s staging by this unit’s designer-owner or simply  the everyday decor, the interior design of unit 314 at 1352 South Street has a few fresh details we really like. And if any building could use a fresh look, it’s 1352 Lofts, which was unfortunately compromised by the housing crash. Of the 72 units in the building, 42 went to sheriff’s sale. The fact that they’re back on the market now, as the Inquirer’s Al Heavens points out, is ”another sign of the recovery of the Center City condo market.” Hurrah!

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For More Real Estate Tidbits, Join Us on Facebook and Twitter!

531px-A_Lady_Writing_by_Johannes_Vermeer,_1665-6Hello! Won’t you join us and be social? You don’t have to brush your teeth or put on a nice sweater. We tweet all of our posts about Philadelphia real estate as well as retweet others’ wisdom extremely selectively

And on Facebook, we have metaphorical parties and club nights and it’s a whole thing over there, which doesn’t mean you have to do anything, but you can keep us with what’s happening and engage with us, should that delight you.

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