This vacant lot in the 1900 block of Brown Street is one of eight the city’s Land Bank is offering free to developers, in the process advancing Council President Darrell Clarke’s workforce housing initiative. | Google Maps image
Philadelphia’s Land Bank is continuing its slow march to functionality.
On Wednesday, the Land Bank released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for eight vacant properties near 19th and Brown streets in Francisville. It’s the first of several RFPs for “workforce housing” the Land Bank plans to send out this year, according to a press release.
The land would be given away for free or at a nominal cost to developers who will build houses and sell them for no more than $230,000 apiece. Buyers could make no more than 120 percent of Area Median Income, which is around $96,000 for a family of four. The average home sale price in Francisville is $325,000, according to the press release. Read more »
TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach – Center City
An unanswered call to the agent has our imagination running away with us thanks to the tidbit in the listing: “oversized garage parking with a pet salon.” What!? Is it an actual grooming station or is that a fancy way of saying Fido gets his own room?? Either way, it’s taking a lot to not scour the internet for pet room ideas for 4 hours straight. (Oh. My. Gosh.)
But back to human concerns… This is a new construction and has an approved 10-year tax abatement under its belt. The property, as already mentioned, is rather spacious with enough room for a sizable SUV and claims a pet salon (although there are no pics available for evidence). There’s also available storage space on the third floor and three outdoor spaces, among them a roof deck and an outdoor yard with brick pavers.
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Francisville residents have gotten used to hearing the sound of hammers and saws around them — the neighborhood has become something of a builder’s paradise, thanks in no small part to the neighborhood’s community development corporation. Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation head Penelope Giles, in contrast to some of her peers in other low-income neighborhoods and with the support of many of her neighbors, has chosen to get out in front of gentrification rather than fight it. Letting the community guide the process, she argues, will benefit everyone.
It seems that some property owners in the neighborhood, however, don’t share her enthusiasm.
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We mentioned yesterday that Francisville is abuzz with new construction almost everywhere you turn. There were several other projects besides the one we reported on at 16th and Ogden streets in various stages nearby, including two attached townhomes next door on 16th, but Ridge Avenue has, for the most part, yet to hear the sound of hammers and saws.
There is, though, a three-story, two-unit dwelling at 1835 Ginnodo Street designed by Anthony Maso and being built by Michael Perelshteyn. The owner of the space, TBM Group LLC — whose contact lives in the neighborhood — purchased the lots at 1835-37 Ginnodo Street in July 2013 for $62,000, according to public record. Maso received a permit to build a four-story, two-unit dwelling on the combined lots that same month. A variance to allow the extra story had been granted the previous fall by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
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Two new multifamily townhomes, one of them with corner retail space, are under construction in a section of Francisville that has seen plenty of new development over the last year.
All that construction is by design, if you will: the neighborhood’s community development corporation, the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation (FNDC), states that its mission is “to improve the quality of life in the Francisville community through commercial and residential development.”
In contrast to some of its sister organizations, however, the FNDC actively promotes private-sector redevelopment in the neighborhood. These new buildings are just one example of many under way.
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Left photo by B. Krist for GPTMC.
• Pong on the Cira Centre has earned a a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, as Technical.ly Philly reports.
• The Inquirer’s Al Heavens writes about continued growth in an already flourishing Francisville.
• A December town meeting at Northeast High School will cover draft plans for improving Roosevelt Blvd., area shopping districts, and parks, according to PlanPhilly.
• The Philadelphia Daily News says that the new Frankford Avenue murals celebrate that neighborhood’s diversity and history.
• Former Flyer Max Talbot is selling his Bella Vista 3BR that includes a plasma TV and projector, according to Curbed Philly.
• Is Germantown going green? The Inquirer’s Alison Burdo writes about the solar paneled home and eco-friendly development firm that moved in within three years of each other.
Rendering by ISA – Interface Studio Architects LLC
Postgreen Homes has announced the first formal event for its sustainable Folsom Powerhouse housing development in Francisville. October 23rd at 3 p.m. there’ll be a ceremonial shoveling of dirt to celebrate construction. The list of speakers includes Brian Abernathy of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority; Alex Dews from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; Brian Phillips from Interface Studio Architects; Jonathan Weiss from Equinox MC, Postgreen’s partner in this project; and Chad Ludeman from Postgreen.
Apparently, it’s not easy to get people to shovel dirt and speak publicly, as the Postgreen blog says, “We’ve coerced some people who were instrumental in making this project a reality and influencing it’s [sic] design.”
For those who aren’t persuaded by the excitement of a groundbreaking, there’s a party afterward at Urban Saloon where attendees can meet the developers and eat and drink.
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It took some time, but the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) finally decided to sell some 196 properties the agency has owned since the 1960s and ’70s that were bearing no revenue fruit. Yesterday morning PHA held an auction, and while some people were glad to get an opportunity to bid on beloved homes, others felt unprepared.
“The toughest thing about these auctions is they won’t let people into the properties,” one developer told City Paper. But another bidder said he was able to inspect the properties, and indeed the list of homes to be auctioned was made public well before yesterday.
That’s how Laverne Simms knew to come to the auction to bid on a row home on North Etting Street in North Philadelphia. It was Simms’ family home until seven years ago, when her elderly mother moved out; she won the home for $9,000. “I can’t wait to get her back there,” Simms told the Inquirer of her mother, whose home it will be once again.
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Though Trulia lists 1639 Poplar as Fairmount/Art Museum, the intersection of 17th and Poplar is actually in Francisville. That neighborhood doesn’t get a lot of attention from brokers or, say, Travel & Leisure. But it continues to transform, leading to projects like this adaptive reuse of a historic Bell Telephone Co. building that was once in truly terrible shape. Below, the before and after:
The Exchange, before the renovation. Photo via The Exchange Facebook page.
The Exchange, after the renovation. Photo via The Exchange Facebook page.
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