Hard Hat Tour: The Parish House

Made by hand, not beforehand: A Red Oak construction crew member works on the hinge of a custom door made from wood salvaged from the demolition of the parish house's interior. The door will lead from this home's finished basement rec room to the mechanical room. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Craft-brewed building: A Red Oak construction crew member works on the hinge of a custom door made from wood salvaged from the demolition of the parish house’s interior. The door will lead from this home’s finished basement rec room to the mechanical room. | Photos: Sandy Smith

“God is in the details.” —Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

God, then, continues to make his presence felt throughout the building that began life in 1912 as the parish house for the Episcopal Church of Emmanuel and the Good Shepherd in East Kensington, for Red Oak Development, which is converting the building into five three-story townhouses with finished basements, is loading these new homes with fine architectural details — most of them salvaged from the building itself. Read more »

Three Philly Neighborhoods to Watch in 2017

Spruce Hill's substantial rowhomes and twins are popular with the Penn crowd. | Photo: Plan Philly/Eyes on the Street, used under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

Spruce Hill’s substantial rowhomes and twins are popular with the Penn crowd. | Photo: Plan Philly/Eyes on the Street, used under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The online brokerage Redfin has released its list of the “Hottest Neighborhoods for 2017,” and while none of the 10 hottest neighborhoods nationwide are in Philadelphia, it did offer up its choices for the three hottest neighborhoods in the city.

Topping the list is Spruce Hill in University City, where the median-priced home sells for $415,200, making it the most expensive of the three by almost double. Redfin agent Jimmy Caraway had this to say about the neighborhood: Read more »

Checkmate in East Kensington? Broker Rearranges the Chessboard

Bishop Square | Renderings: KJO Architecture via The Somers Team; Photos via The Somers Team

Bishop Square | Renderings: KJO Architecture via The Somers Team; Photos via The Somers Team

I’ve gotten lots of pitches from real estate agents and others that lead me to ask, “What’s in a name?”

The answer, it appears, is, “Tens of thousands of dollars.”

Buyers are far more willing to pay top dollar for a property in a neighborhood they perceive to be desirable than in one that may also be on the rise but they know little about.

And so it is that The Somers Team touts its new, six-unit residential development, Bishop Square, as a hot property in Fishtown. Read more »

On the Market: The Prettiest Renovation in East Kensington?

Images via Zillow.com

Images via Zillow.com

Its renovation may be two years old, but the gorgeous results of the work done to 2028 Dreer Street – on the border of East Kensington and Fishtown – are ongoing.  To begin, there’s its façade, a lovely muted teal, which caught our attention from the get-go. Stroll into the inside and you’ll see the home only gets better:

  • Hand-scraped Birch floors throughout
  • Hand-crafted center staircase with skylight and metal railing
  • Two bedrooms on second level, master suite on third
  • Three levels total to 1,443 square feet (and that’s not including basement)

Read more »

Property’s Photo of the Week: Sidecar Fun in East Kensington

We don’t know about you, but it’s been a long week for some of us and we could certainly do with some feel good vibes. That’s why Property’s Photo of the Week this week is something we can all probably get behind: sidecars and proto homes!

Say what? Well, we found the #phillyscape capture on Postgreen Homes’ Instagram account. According to the caption, the pic was snapped by one Sam Oberter who didn’t use any filters (not that there’s anything wrong with Willowing up your photos!). The pictured home is one of Postgreen’s protypes built in 2011, and the people on the motorcycle and sidecar are its owners…who we think should let us take it for a ride this weekend!

Sigh…isn’t spring wonderful?

Read more »

Spotted in Kensington: Two Historic Bank Buildings to Be Redeveloped

Jewelers’ Row may be one of the last surviving niche districts in Philadelphia, but that doesn’t mean all remnants of previous ones have been erased. Case in point, two structures which rose out of Kensington’s once-thriving textile district — the Ninth National Bank and Industrial Title and Savings Trust Co. buildings — are now in the redevelopment pipeline.

Philadelinquency reports the properties located at 1942-58 N. Front Street had been facing demolition at one point, with the Women’s Community Revitalization Project planning to replace the buildings with low-income housing. However, neighborhood objections to the project’s design resulted in a legal battle that stalled the proposed development, which was eventually scrapped. Instead, here’s what will happen with the site:

Onion Flats, a development group on West Norris St. that has had extensive experience with historic redevelopment projects in the area will restore and redevelop the bank buildings.

Read more »

House of the Week: Pristine Carriage Home with Studio Space in East Kensington

east kensington e firth street trenton avenue

We brought a fixer-upper near the creativity-brimming Trenton Avenue to your attention a few weeks ago, so it’s only fitting that we showcase a gleaming, restored home this time around. (Note: The property is listed as being on E Firth Street, but an approval to change the address to 2520 Trenton Ave. is pending from the Office of Property Assessment.)

Among the homes larger appointments are a landscaped deck with retractable awning and two separately attached garages, one of which can either hold three cars or be used as a workspace. The other garage has 1-car parking.

Read more »

The Lovely Bones: East Kensington Fixer-Upper

A 2009 Google Street View image shows skater hooligans perpetrating their monkeyshines at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cumberland. These days they're probably building kinetic sculptures.

A 2009 Google Street View image shows skater hooligans perpetrating their monkeyshines at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cumberland. These days they’re probably building kinetic sculptures.

If there can be said to be a ground zero for Kensington redevelopment and renaissance, it might be cobblestone Trenton Avenue, which anchors the East Kensington neighborhood and whose Trenton Ave Arts Festival gave rise to the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, that most beloved of creativity competitions.

This home is basically at Cumberland and Trenton, and as such, is in a pretty nice spot to appreciate. It also appears to have rather good bones, as well as a large backyard and a “clean” basement. Sold as-is, of course (hence the price), but if you’re looking for a blank canvas and a project, this might be a good place to start.

Gallery of poor-quality photos below.

Read more »

Postgreen Offers Peek At Its Next Project

postrgreen-trenton-ave

Trenton Avenue, which begins in the triangle where Fishtown, East Kensington and Port Richmond overlap, is a broad thoroughfare that once was a bustling industrial corridor. Now, save for one day a year, it’s mostly a quiet residential street.

Chad Luderman, CEO of Postgreen Homes, believes this transformation was a mistake. Not that he wants to bring back industry, but rather, it’s that a street this wide makes for a natural commercial corridor. (It certainly makes a great setting for an arts festival and kinetic sculpture race.)

It may be too late to add commerce to the rest of the street, but Luderman’s going to at least try to salvage a little stretch of it.

Read more »

Confessions of a Gentrifier

A few months ago, toward the end of the summer, I was walking my dog near my house in East Kensington when my neighbor Franky (not his real name) called out to me. Franky, who’s about 10, is a fixture on our block. He lives around the corner with his dad, his grandmother and his sister in a tired-looking house that doubles as a sort of informal command center for the neighborhood youth.

He spends his days with the other kids his age, doing kid things like playing football and lighting stuff on fire (it’s true, I caught him once).

Anyway, Franky loves my dog and when he sees us he usually runs up to give her a pat on the head. This time, as he scratched behind Mara’s ear, he had a question for me:

“Are yuppies rich?”

Read more »

« Older Posts