PHOTOS: Leasing Has Started at Avenir on Fifteenth in Center City

Photos by the Scully Company. Courtesy of Lorraine Gimblett.

Photos by the Scully Company.

Last March (boy, that was quick), we told you about six Philadelphia development projects that were springing forward this year. For fun, we tacked on just one more to that list for good luck: Avenir on Fifteenth. You can call it Avenir (French for “future”) for short.

Located at 42 South 15th Street, the apartment complex is an adaptive reuse of the Robinson Building, which had previously been office space. (You might know it as the building with the Kimye Wendy’s, which has since moved up the block and off of the corner). Developed by the Scully Company and Alterra Property Group, the newly refurbished structure has had its floors gutted and claims a sleek look inspired by the sans-serif typeface. Fun fact? There are 180 “efficiently designed apartments,” some of which are Philly’s first micro units ranging from 314 to 434 square-feet! There are, however, multiple sizes and floor plans offered with the flats, studios, one- and two-bedroom units.

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The Empty-Nester’s Guide To Center City


Congratulations! You made it. Your kids are grown. You’ve managed to save a few bucks. You still have a mostly-intact prostate. And now, you want to live the empty-nester lifestyle. You want to sell your house, dump all that old junk, store a few heirlooms, burn the furniture and start afresh in Center City. That’s what my wife and I did a couple of months ago. So to help you I’ve put together a few things that I’ve learned about living in town that you will also need to know. Read more »

Aldine Debuts New Menu Format

Poached Mussels with English Peas, Shaved Radish and Vinaigrette

Poached Mussels with English Peas, Shaved Radish and Vinaigrette | Photo via Aldine

When I heard that Aldine was changing its menu format, I thought maybe that meant the menu would no longer feature stupid colons in between ingredients (like sorry but,”sugar snap peas : pickled chili : smoked almond milk : rhubarb,” just does not look right). But alas, that was too much to hope for. Instead, Aldine is abandoning its unique tasting menu, which was divided into either the “omnivore” or “herbivore” menu, in favor of a more traditional format.

Chef and owner George Sabatino’s new menu is divided into first, second and third courses. First courses are either served cool or room temperature, second courses are slightly larger and served warm, and third courses are really the bigger main courses.

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The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival Is Coming

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

If you’re looking for a fun, free way to celebrate the beginning of allergy season (or what some people call, “spring”),  on Saturday, May 2, head down to Center City for the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. There will be a fashion show, beauty booths, live music, and most importantly food demonstrations and cocktail lounges.

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How Long Before Center City Is as Dense as Manhattan?

One of the compliments I typically hear about Philadelphia is that “it’s manageable” — less crowded, moving at a slower place, wholly un-claustrophobic. When people say that, they’re typically comparing Philly to New York. Take the Amtrak up to Penn Station and you’ll be hard-pressed for personal space.

No city in the U.S. comes close to Manhattan’s density: 70,000 people per square mile. Not even New York City as a whole comes close to Manhattan: the whole of NYC only has 27,000 people per square mile. And yet, the threat of “Manhattanization” is a frequent topic on real-estate blogs across the country.  Curbed Miami even has a search tag called “Manhattanization of Miami.” Some people who cringe at rapid development are using the M-word in much the same way the G-word (gentrification) is used. Both have become catch-all terms for the fear and uncertainty a lot of people have about how quickly some cities are changing. It’s the topic of a compelling interactive post by Shane Phillips at Urban One: Read more »

It’s the End of The Gallery as We Know It (and That’s a Shame)

Bob Laramie/Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.

Easter Bunny rides the escalator between events during the Easter parade at The Gallery in 1985. | Bob Laramie/Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.

THE GALLERY DIDN’T have a Santa this year. It didn’t decorate for Christmas, either. I felt an odd sadness.

When I was a kid, my mom took me downtown every year on Black Friday. We’d stop at her offices at ARA Services, now Aramark, and then explore downtown. We went to the light show at Wanamaker’s, A Christmas Carol at Strawbridge’s and the Enchanted Village at the old Lit Brothers.

But the main attraction for me was The Gallery. I loved it — and not just because I’d usually come home with a new Lego set that day. Read more »

Map Shows Where Long-Demolished Furness Works Once Stood in Center City

Broad Street Station was demolished in 1953 | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Broad Street Station was demolished in 1953 | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Sure there are Furness and Furness-influenced buildings scattered throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area (one is for sale; the other, formerly listed for $995,000, is now for rent right here in Philly), but a good chunk of his Center City oeuvres (some of which were touted as one of his best) were torn down long ago.

Fortunately, Curbed Philly has put together a map of ten Furness works that once stood in the area, as well as images and informational tidbits on the constructions. Check it out, and let us know if there’s one you would have kept up (No. 4 and 8 would have definitely been preserved under our watch).

The Frank Furness You’ll Never See in Center City [Curbed Philly]

Council Committee Approves Digital Ads

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

Center City is one step closer to looking like Times Square.

A City Council Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that will allow “urban experiential displays” — 3D digital billboards — to be built at a few select locations in Philadelphia’s downtown district.

KYW reports that the bill was supported by Thadeus Bartkowski, founder of Catalyst Outdoors, which wants to build three of the digital displays — 30 to 50 feet in height — at three locations in Center City.

Bartkowski says, “It’s about creating a multi-faceted communication platform, that’s able to add vibrancy in unique commercial corridors.”

Bartkowski proposes three locations — outside the Convention Center, across from the Reading Terminal Market, and on the facade of the Bellevue Hotel garage on South Broad Street.

He says 70-percent of the content displayed would be ads, the rest would be PSAs and other material — including promotions for local non-profits: “What’s trying to be created here is a pedestrian-viewer experience, not just a simple single form of technology.”

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SEPTA’s Got Big Plans for Underground Concourse

South Broad Concourse, Under Construction

South Broad concourse, under construction. Photo | Dan McQuade


Three and a half miles of concourses run under the streets of Center City Philadelphia. One can walk from 8th and Market all the way to the Comcast Center. One can then go from there to 12th and Locust. Walking underground can actually save time in many instances: There are no distractions, as swaths of the concourse are devoid of anyone but people rushing through, maintenance workers, loiterers and the occasional skateboarder and/or pot smoker.

SEPTA wants to change that eventually. Now that it has control of maintenance and capital improvement of the underground concourses, SEPTA has begun improvements and repairs. The two escalators at 15th Street — across from City Hall — will be replaced. SEPTA is also replacing the escalator at the 8th Street Station and renovating the elevator there. Read more »

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