13 Reasons We’re So Stinkin’ Excited for Warm Weather in Philly

Yoga on the Pier at Race Street Pier | Photo by Matt Stanley

Yoga on the Pier at Race Street Pier | Photo by Matt Stanley

Newsflash: We’ve only got nine more days of winter, people! Spring is a comin’ — on March 20th, to be exact — and I, for one, could not be more excited for the warm weather it’ll bring with it. Just about every single day of this dreadful season we call winter, I say to anyone who will listen, “If we lived somewhere warm, we could be doing [insert fun outdoor activity here] right now. Ughhh, winter!” And I’m sure I’m not alone.

But with spring headed our way, soon we’ll all be able to start checking things off the long list of activities we’ve been talking about wanting to do for months, from hiking in the Wissahickon to playing frisbee down the Shore to picnicking anywhere we can lay a blanket down.

Below, 13 reasons we here in Be Well Philly Land are so freakin’ excited for warm weather in Philly.  Read more »

Morning Headlines: Plans to Revitalize Metropolitan Opera on N. Broad

Curbed Philly has the scoop on some eyebrow-raising developments at the old Metropolitan Opera House at North Broad and Poplar.

Eric Blumenfeld’s company (yes, that Eric Blumenfeld), EB Realty Management, co-owns the property along with the Holy Ghost Headquarters Church. EB’s Commercial Development Manager Chris Cordaro tells Curbed they are currently negotiating to turn the lower level of the mouldering opera house into a giant catering space.

“We’re in discussions now about the size,” said Cordaro when contacted by phone. Although nothing is solid quite yet, he noted that it could be up to 20,000 square feet in size.

Curbed says there are also plans for a bakery, restaurant and a separate banquet area in the works. Head over there to gaze upon the renderings from Stokes Architecture.

Could a huge catering facility be coming for the Met? [Curbed Philly]

More news this way…

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Luxury Apartments to Replace Student Housing at Broad and Chestnut

Avenue of the Arts building

Image via MRP Realty.

Two real estate companies made an announcement yesterday of a joint purchase of most of the 17-story Avenue of the Arts building, which has the Olive Garden and Capital Grille on the ground floor, and Art Institute student housing on floors 4 through 17.

Washington, D.C.-based MRP Residential and the commercial Principal Real Estate Investors plan a “comprehensive redevelopment” of the building into a luxury apartment complex. The deets:

– 220 Class A residential units
– New building lobby
– Leasing office
– Fitness center
– Theater room
– Interior landscaped courtyard
– Clubroom
– Roof deck
– Renovated elevators

The companies plan to keep Olive Garden and Capital Grille. The project has a target completion date of early 2016.

Renderings of Rafael Viñoly’s Vision for the Atlantic Building

rafael vinoly atlantic building rendering

A rendering from Rafael Viñoly Architects website.

Back in September 2013, Rafael Viñoly Architects — best known locally for the Kimmel Center — announced that the firm would be handling the adaptive reuse of the Atlantic Building at Broad and Spruce, which was purchased by the Post Brothers in the summer of 2012 for $22 million. The plan was to turn the high-rise into a mixed-use retail/residential space, with construction by Vinoly & co. to begin at the end of last year.

While construction (or demolition, depending on your point of view) is under way — scaffolding went up more than a year ago, in fact — neither Viñoly nor the Post Brothers’ Matt and Mike Pestronk have been talking up the progress. Yet between the architect, the developer, the location, and the building, this is a major project. Why the quiet?

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Renderings: Hanover North Broad Apartments and Retail at Broad and Callowhill


The Parkway Corporation and the Hanover Company Design Collective have plans to build two large mixed-use residential/commercial buildings on the site of two surface parking lots Parkway owns at Broad and Callowhill streets.

The larger of the two buildings will sit on the lot at the southwest corner of Broad and Callowhill. It will contain 229 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, 11,024 square feet of retail space, 256 parking spaces (130 for building residents) and 77 bicycle parking spaces.

The smaller building at the southeast corner will contain 110 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, 6,122 square feet of retail space, 114 parking spaces (58 for residents) and 38 bicycle parking spaces.

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“House Hunters” Couple Sell Their Unit At the Ritz

ritz-openerLast July, I wrote about an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters that featured Bill and Antonio, who were looking for a house in downtown Philly “on a whim.” Their budget was $2 million, and hunting took them to the Rittenhouse Grande at 19th and Spruce and the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton on Broad and Walnut. The couple ended up buying a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, corner unit at the Ritz — in the rear, facing the W Hotel parking lot — for $1.535 million. Nice going with the budget, gentlemen!

The unit features customized Jeld Wen closet doors, electronic window blinds and custom window treatments, two walk-in closets, and one-car parking — along with being in the Ritz and so offering everything the Ritz has to offer, which is a lot.

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Morning Headlines: Dranoff to Open Hotel/Condo at Broad and Spruce

skyline avenue place

A skyline with Avenue Place imagined by Bradley Maule. Via Hidden City.

Yesterday Hidden City broke the news that developer Carl Dranoff has a new project planned: Avenue Place, a 40-story mixed-use hotel-condo tower on the corner of Broad and Spruce. Hidden City’s Bradley Maule suggests that both the building that once held Utrecht Art Supplies and Philadelphia International Records (301-309 S. Broad) may be demolished as well as the building across Cypress Street (311 S. Broad).

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Hotel Dirt: Center City’s Doubletree Hilton Expands

doubletree extended stay

3D rendering of an extended stay suite at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel.

Jay Barnett, a partner in the group that owns 237 S. Broad Street — home to the Doubletree Hilton Hotel — tells us construction has been quietly in progress on an addition to the property: an extended stay complex with 48 rooms. The crane being utilized for construction has to be removed from Juniper Street by Oct. 30th. The target opening date is Jan. 1, 2014.

Residents of the extended stay suites will not have to use the hotel lobby; instead they’ll be able to enter directly from the garage after they’ve checked in to make the experience feel more like apartment living. There will be an upgraded roof deck and fitness center, and a center courtyard is being planted with fast-growing bamboo to afford residents privacy by obscuring the windows.

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Morning Headlines: J. Crew Outlet Is Coming to the Philly Suburbs!

First Madewell–J. Crew’s sister store–chose Walnut Street for its newest location. And now J. Crew Factory–the store’s outlet–comes to the ’burbs.

The commercial real estate group PREIT has announced that the Factory will open at the Plaza Shops at Plymouth Meeting Mall in the fall. Imagine: 6,000 square feet of J. Crew–but less expensive.

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