The Brief: Democrats to Endorse Openly Gay Council Candidate for First Time Ever

Sherrie Cohen | Photo via Cohen's Facebook

Sherrie Cohen | Photo via Cohen’s Facebook

Bob Brady, chairman of Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee, says City Council At-Large candidate Sherrie Cohen is expected to win the party’s endorsement.

Cohen tells us the policy arm of the city committee recommended her for an endorsement Saturday. She expects the full party to ratify the decision next month.

That could be a deciding factor in the City Council At-Large race (which, in all seriousness, is more interesting than the mayor’s race some days).

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First Look: Inside the Never-Before-Listed Raw Space at Parc Rittenhouse

Photos: James Jennings Floor plans: Allan Domb

Here’s the view. Photos: James Jennings; Floor plans: Allan Domb

“This is what we call beach front,” said Allan Domb during a recent private tour of the nearly 60,000 square-foot raw space on the second and third floors of Parc Rittenhouse. One look out of the large, three-panel windows and, sure enough, he wasn’t kidding. You’re at that perfect height above the Square to look through the trees and into one of Philly’s best public spaces. It’s downright captivating.

The never-before-listed raw space at Parc Rittenhouse is an opportunity for Domb, who has been a little busy recently, to reenergize the luxury game in the city’s ritziest district with brand new units. Read more »

Morning Headlines: Mega Construction Mix-Up at Triangle Park

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This is perhaps one of the most outrageous stories we’ve heard in a long time. Naked Philly reports that the triangular spit of land bound by Christian Street, 6th Street and Passyunk Avenue–formerly a gas station turned park turned into fenced-off nothingness–was the site of a major construction mishap that could eventually be a good thing for the lot.

Confused? Here’s the scenario: Read more »

Is Condo King Allan Domb About to Run for Council?

Photo of Allan Domb in the lobby of Parc Rittenhouse by Laura Kicey Read more at

Photo of Allan Domb in the lobby of Parc Rittenhouse by Laura Kicey

Developer Allan Domb, a/k/a the Center City condo king, is one of Philadelphia’s biggest movers and shakers. Is he about to run for City Council?

It sure looks like it.

Domb authorized a political action committee this Tuesday called “Allan Domb for City Council,” according to documents filed with the Philadelphia Board of Elections. The documents show he is seeking the office of Democratic City Council At-Large (check out the docs below).

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Morning Headlines: Smoking Bans Rolling Out in Philly Condo Buildings

smokingIf you’re a smoker, you know firsthand that there are fewer and fewer places for you to take a hassle-free drag these days. Now, if you’re a condo owner in a Center City high-rise like Society Hill Towers or the Rittenhouse, you can’t even smoke in the privacy of your own home. According to a report in The Inquirer, smoking bans in luxury buildings are becoming a trend across the nation and Philadelphia has started to join the crowd.

For one, there are some obvious health issues for those exposed to secondhand smoke–a noble cause for a condo association to undertake. It also comes down to the resale value of the unit itself, something Allan Domb backed up, calling it a “tough sell” if there’s a lingering “odor” from a smoker.

Current owners who smoke in buildings that institute a no-smoking policy would be “grandfathered” in and allowed to smoke in-unit, provided they register with the building. We’re not going to lie, it seems like a bigger pain than standing outside the pub in 10-degree weather to enjoy a cigarette:

If there are complaints against grandfathered smokers for smoke and/or odor escaping from their unit into hallways or other units, those smokers must caulk and seal gaps in their units, and may have to buy special air-filter machines. If that doesn’t resolve the complaints, grandfathered status can be revoked and they can be subject to fines and sanctions.

Condo buildings are banning smoking, even in residents’ own units [The Inquirer]

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These Society Hill Homes Have Links to George Washington, Early Vaccinations and Giant Mastadons

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The Shippen-Wistar House and Cadwalader House | Images via Allan Domb Real Estate and Free Library of Philadelphia

Gather ’round, all ye history buffs and house hunters/gawkers. We have a special listing for your viewing pleasure–The Shippen-Wistar and Cadwalader Houses at 4th and Locust are on the market and being sold as one property. Let’s just say, it’s one immensely historical renovation project.

Allan Domb purchased both houses, which have been combined on the interior, almost exactly a year ago and they’re available as one property for $5.5 million.

The Shippen-Wistar House has a fascinating story featuring a who’s-who of the movers and shakers in American History. In 1744, William Penn gave the land to Dr. William Shippen, a renown surgeon who, along with Benjamin Franklin (among others), founded the Public Academy in 1749–the forerunner to what would eventually become the University of Pennsylvania. Under the ownership of Shippen, George Washington, John Adams, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee were all guests at the home on 4th and Locust. So, how to you top that?

Let’s just say flowers, vaccinations and Lewis and Clark are all involved.

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Every Room in This Parc Condo Overlooks Rittenhouse Square

All photos by Jay Ratchford via Allan Domb Real Estate

What’s the one thing that’s a must have when you’re looking to buy a piece of prime real estate on Rittenhouse Square? It simply has to overlook The Square. Trust us, it’s centerstage in this condo–every room looks out onto Philadelphia’s most luxurious walk.

The unit features lovely double door entryway and open layout that is flooded with natural light. The kitchen flaunts a Sub Zero refrigerator, granite counter and beautiful wood cabinets. Lush wood floors made of Brazilian Cherry are found throughout the dining and living areas, which offer plenty of space to entertain or relax. Swing open the doors to the Juliet Balcony in the living room and just imagine what that experience will be like come springtime–magic.’

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Valentine’s Special: Allan Domb (and Others) Talk About Falling in Love

allan domb

Allan Domb’s heart beats for real estate. Original photo by Laura Kicey.

At first glance, it might seem an unlikely pairing: romance and real estate. But they often go hand in hand. There’s such a personal relationship with your home. You want to make sure you choose “the one.”

That’s not only true for homeowners, but also for people who work in the industry. We asked a few of Philadelphia’s real estate icons to talk about their their love of the business — and the highs and lows of their relationships with it.

The Butterflies

“I’m passionate about real estate,” says Allan Domb, of Allan Domb Real Estate and current President of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors. “You can’t be successful if you don’t love what you do. For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest financial decision they will make in their lifetime. For four, five, six months, I’m involved in that process, and that’s incredibly special.”

“For me,” says Diane Bryant of Bryant & Wilde Realty, “I was inspired by the sales end of the business, placing buyers in a home they were excited about.”

Michael Rosman, branch manager of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, has worked in the lending industry for 15 years. Here’s what he loves: “Every day brings a new situation, new client, a new challenge that I can impact for the positive.”

The Perfect Match

Deciding to buy property is typically the largest financial investment a person will make in a lifetime. It’s important to work with knowledgeable professionals and recognize that you’re building a relationship. Trust, communication and support are paramount for a successful match.

“Ask for recommendations from friends or family and identify the agent’s reputation. If you haven’t bought a home before, ask around and see what people liked about the agent or didn’t,” advise the folks at Bryant & Wilde.

Brokers will want to build an intimate relationship with a specific neighborhood: “Learn a block and learn it better then anyone else. Become a one-street specialist.”

Speaking for lenders, Mike Rosman — who has owned his own business — sees value in pairing up rather than going it alone: “Working with a larger institution, such as Wells Fargo, offers support and resources that aren’t available with smaller shops,” he says.

The Ups and Downs

Every relationship has its high points and low points.

David G. Marshall, Chairman and CEO of Amerimar Realty Company, counts the two and a half years developing The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominium as a high point.

“Finally we were getting ready to open. We had hired much of the staff and they were all scurrying about in last minute preparations. I walked into the kitchen and there was ordered turmoil with ‘real food’ coming of the concrete, steel, and assorted equipment, that I knew little about. The thought came over me that this must be what a woman feels like when giving birth after all the struggles of labor. I honestly felt like crying, but I didn’t. I had a 650,000-square-foot baby to raise.”

The romance surged for Bryant & Wilde Realty after successfully selling all of the condos and doing the re-sales at The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums. They were approached in 2005 to work on a new project, The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton. “Being approached by The Ritz, based on referrals of others in the Philadelphia market, was such a compliment for us,” says Margie Wilde, co-owner of Bryant & Wilde. “It’s always nice to be recognized for accomplishments, and the project presented a wonderful opportunity.”

For Mike Rosman, running his own mortgage brokerage was both a high and a low point. “Running my own business allowed me to appreciate the business much more,” he says. “The low point was when the market crashed in 2009 and it was my business I had to end up closing.”

That was a common low point for many.

“Looking back now,” Rosman says, “if you can make it through 2008/2009, you can make it through anything.”

Allan Domb Buys Historical Buildings Near Independence Hall

Side view screenshot of Domb's new properties via Google Street View.

Side view screenshot of Domb’s new properties via Google Street View.

Allan Domb, “Condo King” and recently appointed president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, has bought two historical buildings near Independence Hall: the Shippen-Wistar and Cadwalader Houses on South 4th Street.

Shippen-Wistar is perhaps the more well-known given its notable tenants. In 1744, William Penn sold the land to one William Shippen, a physician and one of the founders of the University of Penn. According to the Philadelphia Real Estate Blog, Shippen was a delegate to the Continental Congress and built the home circa 1750. His son, William Jr., went on to become the Continental Army’s director general of hospitals and one of the first speakers on anatomy in the country.

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