The Griffin, Ready For Its Closeup

A model unit at The Griffin. | Photo: Sandy Smith

A model corner unit at The Griffin. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise indicated

Back in August of last year, we gave you a first look at a work in progress on the Avenue of the Arts: The Griffin, the first Philadelphia project for MRP Realty, a Washington-based real estate development and management firm whose local office is headed by Delco native Charley McGrath.

MRP bought the upper 14 floors of the vintage-1898 Avenue of the Arts Building, most recently a dorm for Art Institute of Philadelphia students, for $33 million in early 2014 and quickly went about converting those floors into 217 luxury apartments.

Those apartments are now well on their way to completion, with several models now open for inspection and tenants already moving in, so we decided we’d take leasing manager Benjamin Cutler up on his offer of letting us poke around the building again. Read more »

Sleek and Sun-Drenched: Unit 318 Is Available at South Street’s 1352 Lofts

Photo credit: Mike Eckstrom, MJE Photographic

Photo credit: Mike Eckstrom, MJE Photographic

The other day, the Metro newspaper drew up a list of local residential buildings where, if they for whatever reasoned opted to buy a home here, certain A-List celebrities might decide to move. To Kimye, they assigned 500 Walnut; for the Jolie-Pitt clan, Parc Rittenhouse; and to Leonardo “Never Let Go, Rose” DiCaprio, they left a unit at 1352 Lofts, so that his, quote, “posse of models will have plenty of room to stand in stilettos under the 20-foot ceilings.”

Hah, perhaps, but we doubt he’d spend much time there what with his efforts to save the environment and all.  Yet, as Metro notes, any of the sleek units offered at the Broad and South loft building – there are a total of seventy-two, actually, ranging from studios, flats, to bi-levels –  would jibe well with a bachelor (or bachelorette) like Leo. Or Bradley Cooper. Yeah, it’s more Cooper. Leo might live at Icon.

As it so happens, unit no. 318 at 1352 Lofts is currently on the market. Features of note in this two-bedroom include hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows (yes, they’re 20 feet high!), private balcony, and an open space living area, which the master bedroom occupant can enjoy in full view from their loft sleeping quarter. Central air is also included.

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Spotted Off Avenue of the Arts: Roommate-Friendly Condo on Lombard

TREND photos via Redfin

TREND photos via Redfin

While it would certainly work for a couple, this bi-level condo with a bedroom on each floor seems better suited to roommates who wish to preserve their respective privacy.

To begin, the main floor contains the granite topped eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a contemporary design. Of the two bedrooms, our favorite is on this floor, and we suggest you call dibs on it if you go the roommate route: its bathroom is the more sumptuous of the two!

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PHOTOS: Chubby Checker, Jerry Blavat and Others Polish Their Plaques on Philly “Walk of Fame”

Tuesday volunteers from Philadelphia Music Alliance, Avenue of the Arts Inc., and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 8 polished all 121 bronze plaques along the Avenue of the Arts’ “Walk of Fame. Volunteers started at 8 a.m. and finished around noon. 

The plaques recognize the musical talent of those who were born in Philadelphia—from singers Patti LaBelle and Bessie Smith to legendary DJ Georgie Woods and songwriter Linda Creed. The volunteers got down on their hands and knees using steel wool, tooth brushes, cloths and polish to bring the plaques back to their original shine. (Most were laid over 20 years ago).

On hand to see their stars shine once again were radio personality Jerry Blavat, Chubby Checker, Earl Jones, Kenny Gamble, and Joseph Tarsia. Also spotted: Teddy Pendergrass II, who was on hand to polish his father’s plaque, and Philly-born musicians Jade Starling and Whey Cooler from Pretty Poison.

Check out the newly shining stars located between Walnut and Spruce Streets. You might want to bring sunglasses, they’re bright.



Plaques Along Avenue of the Arts’ “Walk of Fame” to Get a Good Polishing Next Week

philly-s-walk-of-fameTo kick off the start of the fall arts season in the city, the Philadelphia Music Alliance, Avenue of the Arts, and the I.A.T.S.E. Local Union 8 will polish the plaques along the Walk of Fame in honor of our rich musical culture.

Next Tuesday, September 23rd, with help from local volunteers and Philadelphia’s music community—including Walk of Fame honorees Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, Charlie Gracie, Jerry Blavat, and more—Making The Stars Shine will clean and polish the 121 bronze plagues along the Walk of Fame. The Walk spans the Avenue of the Arts from Walnut Street to Spruce Street, honoring Philly’s musical history and esteemed legends.

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Newly Listed: Center City Condo for Just Shy of $4 Million

looking at symphony house from spaceUnit 2008 at Symphony House spans what the listing describes as “the full southern hemisphere of floor 20,” which makes me envision the city as a globe with Broad Street as the Equator. (It does seem hotter below Broad, doesn’t it?) The huge condo does have enough amenities for a small planet, such as multiple TVs, including a 60 inch plasma; floor-to-ceiling glass walls with city views; custom Viking and Sub-Zero appliances; Smart House and sound systems; a bidet; another apartment within the apartment, with a separate entrance and full kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom and full bath; three garage parking spots; and then all the amenities the building itself has. Plus, this unit still has time on a tax abatement.

Gallery below.

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Checking In At Bar Volver

bar-volver-thinking-ale-kay

People go to bars for all kinds of reasons. To hang out with neighbors over three-dollar lagers. To knock back Beam-and-Pabst specials while stomping their feet to liquor-drinking music. To find out what happens when an eccentric teetotaler mixes a vast booze library with grapes juiced to order. To be quiet and get drunk.

In other words, to escape. And if Philadelphia is what you want to get away from, you need travel no further than to the bar at Volver.

Like the ticketed-entry dining room it abuts in the Kimmel Center, Jose Garces’ champagne-and-caviar lounge is in Philadelphia but not quite of it. Look one way and your eyes fall on a marbled white bar lit by the glow of four sleek halos that could have been commissioned by Starfleet. Look another—at an ultra-saturated blue textile mural crafted by local artist Conrad Booker out of 4,000 buttons and 200 yards of deeply dyed burlap—and you feel like you’ve warp-tunneled your way into Pedro Almodóvar’s Madrid. Meanwhile a soft-footed fleet of servers patrols the ebony-stained floorboards wearing black quasi-judo jackets trimmed with Jupiter orange, like a squad of acrobatic assassins waiting for Roger Moore to request a shaken martini.

It is a very, very cool place to sit down for an hour.

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Leftovers: Stray Thoughts From My Review Of Volver

squab-volver-940

A few additional musings about my meal(s) at Volver

Volver is very expensive, but…
As I noted in my review, “There’s no arguing that the $600 my wife and I spent, including a few glasses of wine and an inspired beverage pairing, could have bought a fantastic meal elsewhere with enough money left over to feed 10 foster children for a month.” But it’s also true that a year’s worth of cable would feed even more mouths, and that forgoing an iPhone upgrade would save you enough for the full 14 courses at Volver. Personally, I still wrestle with the cost of meals like this. But the debate over the cost of dinner shouldn’t take place in a vacuum. Everybody makes his own choices about what to spend money on, and eating out is one among many options to spend wisely or poorly. I mean, right now the 76ers are selling single courtside tickets for $790. The Sixers! After going 19-63!

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Restaurant Review: Volvér

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Photos by Jason Varney

Editor’s Note: Beginning this month, Trey Popp’s reviews for Philadelphia magazine will be running first on Foobooz–weeks ahead of their appearing in print. And what better way to kick off this new arrangement than with the first four-star ranking that Trey has ever given–of his near-perfect experience at Jose Garces’s remarkable new restaurant, Volver.

Halfway through dinner at Volvér—after the scallop that was seared while still living, after the duck-liver mousse in a trick egg white conjured out of goat milk and orange-blossom water, after the puffed pork rinds with smoked-buttermilk dulce de leche and the bacalao takoyaki’s crepe-edged crackle—a savory course arrived in a pair of cupped hands. 

Read the rest of the review » 

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