Photo by Ben Weldon for Philadelphia Magazine
Developer Matthew Pestronk, one-half of the Post Bros.–the company converting an old factory at 12th and Wood into the Goldtex Apartments–says he and his brother Mike did everything L&I told them to do before they held their VIP preview party last night at the building (for more on the party’s promotion, go here). It wasn’t a unique situation: Real estate developers often have previews of properties that aren’t entirely finished–hence the word “preview.” “There’s a body of compliance to get a temporary event permit,” said Matt today. “We spoke to L&I earlier in the week, and they assured us we got the permit. We did exactly what we were told to do.”
But when an L&I inspector came to the site at 4 p.m. yesterday, he told Matt, “L&I will not allow me to issue the permit.” The official reason Matt was given for the denial was the lack of a working fire protection system, but he said they’d addressed that. If a building does not yet have a sprinkler system, the people holding the event must have appropriate personnel on site to deal with fire emergencies. Matt says they did–”we take safety very seriously.”
Of course you already know about the Free Library’s virtual installation at Suburban Station (we are somewhere toward the bottom on the hold list for the Tenth of December). But have you seen the library’s new subway ads lately?
The Free Library is already on top of its Facebook and Twitter game, sharing interesting trivia and answering readers’ questions. Now they are featuring local librarians and other staff in a series of snarky subway station ads.
Poor Stephen Starr. Successful, wealthy, well-regarded–but inevitably misspelled, particularly in real estate listings. Take the most recent sales and marketing of 234 Market Street, once Starr’s inventive restaurant Tangerine. It’s now up on Craigslist (via LoopNet) as “Former Steven Star Restaurant”–which lessens the glow of association somewhat. That listing is especially impressive because it’s a double mistake, while other ads simply do one or the other name incorrectly. (Click on images below to see sample errors.)
Apparently, Starr’s name is exceedingly bedeviling, so it seems important to acknowledge achievement. Hence the inaugural Stephen Starr Real Estate Spelling Awards, which recognize agents, brokers or their lackeys who drop Starr’s name in real estate listings but spell it correctly. And the winners are…
One of University Realty's existing properties at 3337 Spring Garden Street. Photo courtesy University Realty.
A few years ago, Todd Potter says he realized there was a big void in the Philadelphia real estate market. Students looking to live off-campus had two options, he said. There was university-sponsored housing or local landlords renting out the same old properties. Four years later, his University Realty is expanding further into Powelton Village at about a 100% occupancy rate.
RealtyTrac has released a first-quarter housing analysis of HUD data and it shows a firm emphasis on the number 27. Single-family-home building permits are up 27 percent from one year ago, while foreclosure starts are down 27 percent from one year ago. Nice, right? As is evident from the following graphs and charts, the Philadelphia area is decidedly unspectacular in terms of results. More →
Tonight is the VIP preview party for the opening of the Post Bros.’ Goldtex apartment building, and the invitations are as…stirring as the listings copy Post generates to advertise their rentals. It’s a curious space these fellows occupy: They’re pathbreaking developers who may have changed the way the unions operate for good, earning significant civic credibility; yet they’re also avid employers of deeply unserious frat-boy humor and Bikini Bandits-style marketing.
This VIP party, for example. Yeah, so there are hot women on the invite—big deal. As Matthew Pestronk said when we asked him about all the brothers’ somewhat salacious approach, sex sells. But the subject line for the email invite to the party was a bit bawdier than usual: “Come Polish Our Pearl,” it said. For those who don’t know what that means in sexual slanguage, let us enlighten you because idiomatic expressions of the carnal variety is what this blog is really about. After the jump, the definition and the full image of the invite, which is kind of NSFW.
When John Adams called the Mount Pleasant House “the most elegant seat in Pennsylvania” in 1775, it is unlikely he ever imagined it being covered in yarn. But yarn-bombing artist Melissa Maddonni Haims is doing exactly that to the historic Fairmount Park estate in a project sponsored by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Possible City is an urban planning project that facilitates collaboration between planners who work in government and the ivory tower and citizens and organizations with boots on the ground. Such top-down/bottom-up partnerships not only make things happen more efficiently–bypassing misunderstandings with community members who resent intrusion–but spurs innovation as well.
So what kind of tool encourages the participation of an average citizen who feels divorced from big Ed Bacon-like plans? An app like lotXlot, which maps the city’s vacant lots–both publicly owned and privately owned–a total of 6.7 percent of Philadelphia.
Photo by Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons
The building pictured above–variously known as the National Corn Exchange, the Girard Corn Exchange Bank, Trust, the Real World House, the Corn Exchange Building, and more–was constructed in 1907, and has seen a lot in its almost 100 years. Most of that history was probably along the lines of men arguing about corn and its exchange, but the real drama–the “if-these-walls-could-talk” secrets–surely took place when MTV used the building as home base for The Real World Philadelphia, which like all Real World shows, was filled with conventionally attractive cast members drinking and getting frisky in a bar, drinking and getting frisky in a group bedroom, and drinking and getting frisky in a hot tub. (Actually, we just made up that show description, but we’re pretty sure it’s true.)
A new Pew study shows that residences will bear more of a property tax burden than businesses when the Actual Value Initiative, the city’s new property assessment program, is implemented. But before you go crying about The Man and occupying Dilworth Plaza, here’s something to remember: AVI is meant to correct past mistakes and those mistakes overwhelmingly pertained to residential properties.