Tag: west philly

Tax-Delinquent Bar Owner Allegedly Allows Patrons to Urinate, Deal Drugs Outside

Google Street View of Watutsi II taken in 2011

Google Street View of Watutsi II taken in 2011

The University City Review has a thorough, almost hermeneutical explication of the war that’s raging between the owner of the bar Watutsi II on 45th and Locust, Noel Karasanyi, and the two civic associations–Spruce Hill and Walnut Hill–who oppose him. Some of the complaints are about issues people simply have to put up with as a result of city living, i.e., a bar playing loud music until closing on Wednesday and Saturday nights. If that were all, it would be easier to swallow.

But neighbors claim there’s much more going on. According to UC Review, here are some of the allegations neighbors have made:

1. The bar stays open after 2 a.m. illegally
2. Patrons carry open containers out of the bar
3. Patrons “routinely” urinate outside
4. Patrons smoke marijuana outside.
5. There are open-air drug sales.
6. There are “physical assaults” outside the bar.
7. The bar has no Dumpster.
8. Staff and patrons throw trash on the sidewalk.
9. Bartenders put the bar’s trash in front of various residences in the area.

From UC Review:

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 →

A University City Sequel: The Hub, Part Deux


The Hub is the apartment building on the corner of 40th and Chestnut distinguished by its impressive ground-floor restaurant: Distrito, the Philadelphia outpost of Jose Garces’ popular celebration of Mexican cuisine. The building has a distinctive look: brown and yellowish rectangles make the exterior look woodsy, while the addition of bright green and sleek gunmetal gray spices things up. It’s not for everybody, necessarily, but for those who like it–and for those who simply want more space–good news: A Hub 2 is in the works.

The new building will be designed, again, by Piatt Associates Architecture, and will be attached to Hub 1. It will require the demolition of the Thai Singha House, but the restaurant isn’t going out of business–it’s just moving down the street to 3900 Chestnut. It’s on hiatus for a month or so while that happens.

More →

Friends of Clark Park: In Favor of 4224 Baltimore Development

4224 baltimore rendering

Looking west along Baltimore Avenue. Cecil Baker + Partners rendering presented at July community meeting.

The Friends of Clark Park issued a statement offering its approval of 4224 Baltimore, a new development proposed and designed by a team consisting of the New York-based Thylan Associates; U³ Ventures; and Cecil Baker + Partners architecture firm. The approval, however, is predicated on a few recommendations/stipulations, as published in an open letter by the organization’s president Erin Engelstad:

More →

3 Homes That Sold in Less Than a Week: Old City, Cobbs Creek, BV

315 New Street

315 New Street

It’s every seller’s dream: to put a property on the market and get an offer in less than a week. That’s what happened in the three cases below.

1. Address: 315 New Street, #712

The Overview: This apartment was advertised as “the lowest-priced two-bedroom condo in Old City.” That’s a terrific selling point, as is the parking, doorman and separate storage space the pet-friendly Bridgeview building offers. This 950-square-foot unit has two full bathrooms, exposed brick and high ceilings. Another canny listings touch–a note about sweat equity: “Unit 412 (with the same floor plan but three floors lower) sold in February for $284,000.”
What made it sell?: Old City has low inventory, the listings copy was terrific, and it was a legitimately good deal in a great neighborhood with a WalkScore of 94. Even those unappealing photos didn’t hurt.
Listed for: $225,000

More →

Brand New Listing! Perfect University City Home That Should Go Fast

university city home for sale

The listing for this new-to-market University City home for sale, built around 1925, is as brief as they get at the moment: “stunning light filled fully updated home in Sadie alexander catchment. updated windows, electric, a/c, insulation and parking!” Perhaps, though, that’s all that needs to be said given the photos, which reveal the beautiful [...]

More →

Go West, Young Building: Generic Rental Slabs Migrate Toward University City

3737 Market Street

3737 Market Street rendering via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog.

In her most recent Changing Skyline column, Inga Saffron noted fully seven apartment towers that are being built or heightened between 20th and 38th streets on Market and Chestnut. (Part of this stretch was what porn theater Forum owner Richard Basciano talked about rehabbing for a new vision of Market Street West–before one of his buildings collapsed and killed people.)

The developers, says Saffron, “now see the typical high-rise resident as a twentysomething with a good-paying job at a hospital or tech start-up.” As a result, all the apartments are rentals, and says Saffron, they look it.

More →

Philly: “A City With a Rich History of Municipal Incompetence.” But for Once We’re Not Alone.

philadelphia building collapse

Photo: Bradley Maule

In Next City, Patrick Kerkstra makes Philly negative exceptionalists feel better by pointing out that while Philadelphia demolition regulations are, indeed, lax, it’s far from alone. His lede is priceless:

“In Philadelphia, a city with a rich history of municipal incompetence, there’s a natural impulse to assume the worst about city government when tragedy strikes…”

But that wouldn’t be fair, he says. In fact, Kerkstra analyzed 12 cities and found that Philadelphia’s inadequate supervision of demolition is typical of many large cities. So much so that this could, Kerkstra points out, happen anywhere.

More →

Mind-Boggling West Philly Container Garden

Photo: Virginia C. McGuire

Photo: Virginia C. McGuire

Plant lovers in West Philly have probably noticed this house at 47th and Baltimore because it has one of the most exuberant rooftop gardens I’ve ever seen. Gardener Fred Wolfe has been building his plant collection on this corner for more than 40 years. He started gardening at 4703 and 4705 Baltimore Avenue, but in 1983 he moved to his current home at 4701 Baltimore.

Wolfe’s garden is spread over several different areas. What he calls his sidewalk garden is a combination of perennials and annuals planted in containers. This garden has cannas, red-twig dogwood, hardy hibiscus, magnolias and black-eyed susans.

More →