What $500K Will Buy You in Germantown

6110 Ardleigh Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19138 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Germantown, as its friends and admirers know, is surprisingly diverse from a socioeconomic standpoint. Pockets of poverty and areas of affluence can be found cheek-by-jowl in numerous places in the area.

But homes in those pockets of affluence tend not to turn over all that often, as their owners tend to hang on to them. Homes that list for $500,000 or more are very rare — our search this week found another home listing for $670,000 near the Tulpehocken Historic District — and when one does come on the market in this neighborhood, it’s very special.

This one’s even more so, for it sits in the middle of one of the city’s most unusual historic districts.

That would be the Awbury Historic District, which is coterminous with the Awbury Arboretum, located next to Washington Lane Regional Rail station on Germantown’s east side. Created by an extended Quaker family in 1916 to protect its landholdings, Philadelphia’s other great Northwest tree preserve is unusual in being both free to explore and home to several private residences within its confines.

Most of them are still in the hands of that Quaker family’s descendants. This one, however, could be yours. Read more »

Who’s Building Philly: Ken Weinstein

Philly Office Retail specializes in rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of buildings like the historic Cunningham Piano factory in Germantown, which it is planning to convert to street-level retail with apartments above. | Photo: Philly Office Retail

An idea that has been gaining steam of late among developers and planners is “social impact development.” This relatively recent concept marries the market to social change and community benefit by combining profitable construction with services or facilities that help improve the lives of those in need.

Maybe what Philly Office Retail President Ken Weinstein is doing doesn’t exactly fit in that box. But it is development, and it does contain a strong community benefit component, for not only is he redeveloping Northwest Philly’s stock of commercial buildings, he is developing the talent that will rebuild Germantown’s neglected housing stock. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: A Paradox in Germantown for $196.5K

444 W. Woodlawn St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

444 W. Woodlawn St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

It’s no secret that a trinity house is a special commodity in Philadelphia. So, we’d be lying if we told you we didn’t geek out every time a new listing came across our computer screen. But this week, our Trinity Tuesday listing has us scratching our heads – quite frankly because we aren’t even sure that it is one.

Is what we have here a trinity house with a major facelift? Or is this residence claiming to be something it’s not?

In several ways, this home looks like a trinity. Its curb appeal is very trinity-esque. It does have three floors. Heck, it was even built in 1880. However, it’s the interior of this self-proclaimed “double trinity” that really trips us up. Read more »

First-Time Find: A Head Start in Germantown for $190K

29 W. Duval St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 | TREND images via Houwzer Team

29 W. Duval St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 | TREND images via Houwzer Team

“Find me a nice cheap home in an up-and-coming neighborhood where I don’t have to get into debt.”

A friend of ours made this request this very morning. We advised him that unless he had rich relatives willing to just hand him a chunk of change, no strings attached, that last part of the request would be impossible to fulfill, but we could probably help him with the other two parts.

We hope he’s reading this listing.

This nicely renovated twin sits on a pleasant side street in Germantown’s northwest quadrant, just down the road from Cliveden. The block it sits on has seen a good deal of renovations lately, and this is one of the best of them. Read more »

Another Upgrade In the Works for The Wissahickon

The Wissahickon | Public domain photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons

The Wissahickon | Public domain photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons

Another sign of the slow-motion transformation of the rental property market in Germantown is the just-concluded sale of The Wissahickon, a landmark apartment building at 5215 Schuyler Street.

Commercial real estate brokerage Marcus & Millchap announced the successful completion of the sale Tuesday (March 14th). The buyer, a real estate investor active in the neighborhood, plans to renovate the building in order to make it more attractive to young professionals, in particular students at the nearby Drexel University College of Medicine. Read more »

First-Time Find: Old Yet New in Germantown for $282.5K

5542 Pulaski Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 | TREND images via US Realty

5542 Pulaski Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 | TREND images via US Realty

Its residents know that Germantown has a little bit of everything. History with a contemporary vibe. Tranquility and bustle. Parks and urbanity. And all with easy access to Center City and the rest of the region.

That paragraph also describes this lovingly restored and updated Victorian home on Germantown’s west side. The updating preserved this home’s charm and character while giving it the features modern buyers want. Read more »

Alden Park Tenant Group Launches Rent Strike

Alden Park's renovations are proceeding apace, but tenants dissatisfied with that pace are pressing their case collectively. | Photo from At Media

Alden Park’s renovations are proceeding apace, but tenants dissatisfied with that pace are pressing their case collectively. | Photo from At Media

The historic Alden Park apartment complex on the border of East Falls and Germantown may be in the midst of a total makeover, but tenants still living in about 80 apartments there aren’t happy with how things are going. Complaining about a management they say is unresponsive to concerns they have raised repeatedly, they have formed a tenants’ union and are withholding their rent as of this month.

In a letter sent to Philadelphia magazine, Alden Park Tenants Union vice president Kristen Aguirre stated that the tenants’ concerns fall into three broad categories: safety and security issues, code violations, and maintenance issues. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The Rebirth of Alden Park

Work on replacing the leaded casement windows in the Manor building lobby is under way. All of the windows in the complex will be replaced by its end. |Photos: Sandy Smith

Work on replacing the leaded casement windows in the Manor building lobby is under way. All of the windows in the complex will be replaced by its end. |Photos: Sandy Smith

The three buildings that together comprise the Alden Park apartment complex are without a doubt the most photogenic apartment buildings in the city. Begun in 1926 on the former estate of department store founder Justus C. Strawbridge, they began life as the city’s first cooperative residences, attracting an exclusive community of residents during the Depression.

Sometime between World War II and the 1980s, the original cooperative dissolved and the complex became a trio of rental buildings. But their parklike setting and their picturesque English Tudor Revival architecture, the work of architect Edwin Rorke, has kept the buildings among the most popular apartments in the city. The Manor building, which terminates the view down Chelten Avenue, may well be Germantown’s most iconic apartment building. Read more »

City to Seek Development Proposals for Historic Germantown YWCA

Germantown YWCA | Google

Germantown YWCA | Google Street View image

The Germantown YWCA, a hulking, historic shell of a building on Germantown Avenue near Vernon Park, could be headed for a new life.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop the building next week, PRA Director Greg Heller told Philly Mag on Tuesday. The Authority isn’t putting any restrictions on the proposed use of the building in the RFP, Heller said.

“We want to see what developers come up with,” he said. Read more »

A First for Philly Schools: A High School Course in Drag

Germantown Friends School teacher Sara Gordon with some of the books she's using in the school's first-ever drag class.

Germantown Friends School teacher Sara Gordon with some of the books she’s using in the school’s first-ever drag class.

Germantown Friends is not your average Philadelphia school. A four-year high school education there will set you back more than $130,000 — about the same as a bachelor’s degree from Temple University, including room and board at Temple. And the students at the prestigious Quaker school aren’t just learning reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. Read more »

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