Category: Commercial

Zoning Board to Consider Strippers and Strip Steaks. Plus: Photos of Rob Laflar’s Mansion

It was always a strange mix: exotic dance venue + steakhouse. But Christine’s Cabaret had more going against it than an odd business model. In fact, when the Zoning Board of Adjustments has a hearing to determine its fate a few hours from now, it will almost certainly be the most salacious ZBA hearing in recent memory.

The club was owned by the late Rob Laflar, who owned a number of like venues. He was charged with murder after a fight broke out in front of one of his clubs, but he overdosed before he could be tried. He was also being investigated by the FBI at the time. Now it appears to be owned by another upstanding citizen, as PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports:

More →

A Glimpse into the Terrifying World of Home Staging Props

Conventional wisdom says a home will sell more quickly if buyers are able to effortlessly imagine their own lives inside the property. Wolf kitchen appliances can conjure a lifetime of healthy gourmet delights. A well-placed treadmill in a finished basement can convince a couch potato that this home will help him stick to his exercise routine. Who doesn’t want that house?

So, as HGTV tells us, many realtors turn to staging and interior design to perk up buyer interest. And it works. But sometimes, things get really serious. And an artfully thrown shawl over the corner of the couch isn’t going to do it. Sometimes, props become necessary. There are listings in this town that will entice you with beautiful glasses of champagne and tins of glistening caviar. But beware, reader. Styrofoam and plastic that way lurk.

Below, a sampling of what is available to master stagers.

More →

Brandywine to Pay $69 Million in Cash for Philadelphia’s Twin Towers

commerce_tallinsunBrandywine Realty Trust will acquire One and Two Commerce Square on Market between 20th and 21st for a total price of $331.8 million–a $238 million mortgage and $69 million in cash.

At 41 stories, the first of the identical office towers to open, in 1987, was the second building in Philadelphia that rose higher than the William Penn statue atop City Hall. The second building was finished in 1992. Both were designed by Henry Cobb, a partner of I.M. Pei, who would later design the Constitution Center. Now the twin towers, as some call them, are a familiar part of the skyline, and are a feather in Brandywine’s cap.

The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni writes, “the acquisition solidifies Brandywine as the lead landlord of Center City trophy space.”

More →

The Gayborhood’s Historic Giovanni’s Room Is For Sale

GR_historical_marker_photo_with_flagEd Hermance, owner of the pathbreaking LGBT bookstore Giovanni’s Room, is looking to make a change, reports WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler.

“I’m hoping to sell the store,” Hermance told her. “I’ve been looking for a partner, a successor for 25 years, and I think I’ve come close several times but it’s never actually happened.”

Hermance says he’s open to proposals from people who’d like to buy the store.

Owner Selling Philly LGBT Bookstore Giovanni’s Room [G Philly]

More →

This Town Needs Movie Theaters! Must We Go to Texas to Get One?

158px-Alamo_Drafthouse_signFilm critic Stephen Silver wrote this week on The Philly Post about Philadelphia’s anemic movie-theater situation: 14 screens–a total embarrassment for a city of this size. It doesn’t have to be this way–or at least, there was a time when it wasn’t.

I grew up downtown, with a plethora of choices in Center City alone: There was the Sameric, of course, which was open then; Sam’s Place, where CVS is now on 19th and Chestnut; an AMC, I believe, where Mandee’s is; another movie theater where the Prince Music Theater is; the Eric Rittenhouse, now a vacant lot; the Temple Cinemateque (all repertory) at 15th and Walnut; the Roxy; the TLA (which was just movies back then); the Ritz 5…surely I’m forgetting something.

Silver has a solution for our movie woes: the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas.

More →

Baltimore Avenue Diner Reopens After Fire at Elena’s Soul

Cedar-Park-CafeIt was such heartbreak for the Cedar Park neighborhood of University City when Elena’s Soul, a restaurant, bar and community gathering spot at 49th and Baltimore, burned down on Christmas Eve last year.

Compounding the tragedy, the Cedar Park Cafe and Gary’s Nails, two adjoining businesses, suffered damage as well and had to close indefinitely.

More →

Smak Parlour Opens a Pop-Up Right Off of Rittenhouse Square

smak parlour pop up

Photo: Smak Parlour Facebook

The very chic and hip Smak Parlour, headquartered in Old City, recently opened the doors to a pop-up shop at 126 S. 19th Street, formerly home to Skin Palette, and right near the Japanese restaurant Zama. The Smak gals rode around on a pink scooter fliering the neighborhood with news of the store, which–if Facebook comments are anything to go by–has people pretty excited. We’re excited too: Pop-ups are without question the best use of vacant (temporarily or otherwise) property, and this is a perfect fit for Rittenhouse.

More →

First Look: New Home2Suites Hotel Opens Tuesday With High Convention Center Hopes

Photo: Laura Kicey

Photo: Laura Kicey

It always happens this way with new construction. A site looks like a pile of steel beams for months and overnight a real building emerges. To wit: the $60 million Home2 Suites is opening to the public on Tuesday. It is the first hotel to be built from scratch in Center City in a decade.

The Hilton property features 248 rooms – including 22 enormous suites – as well as a fitness center, pool, Wii-enabled game lounge and a bevy of sustainability features. In exchange for $3 million in funding from EnergyWorks, the Wurzak Group (which has partnered with the Parkway Corporation on the new hotel), has installed energy-efficient appliances in the kitchenettes included in each hotel room. Rooms also feature motion-sensitive lighting and public spaces are lit with LED bulbs. There is, of course, a green roof.

More →

Chestnut Hill Development Opportunity on Germantown Avenue

Photo of 8034 Germantown Avenue courtesy SSH Real Estate.

Photo of 8034 Germantown Avenue courtesy SSH Real Estate.

SSH Real Estate has announced its listing of 8034-8040 Germantown Avenue, a few doors down from Chestnut Hill Pharmacy. It currently houses Prime Pacific  Oriental Rug and Furniture Liquidators, as well as the buildings that were once home to the now closed Diane Bryman Rugs, which went out of business in 2012 after 52 years. (Another Oriental [...]

More →