Can New Developer Mentorship Program ‘Jumpstart’ Germantown?

Boarded up house on West Rockland Street in Germantown | Photo: Emaleigh Doley

Boarded up house on West Rockland Street in Germantown | Photo: Emaleigh Doley

Amidst the hoopla of the renovations and rebranding of The Gallery, a new flagship Wawa and some fuss about parking in South Philly, developer Ken Weinstein launched a program last week that could have an immediate and lasting impact on a struggling area in the Great Northwest riddled with blighted properties that have long-plagued the neighborhood.

Weinstein officially kicked off his “Jumpstart Germantown” mentorship and training program aimed at empowering small scale and novice developers with the know-how and funds to buy and renovate as many of those run down houses as quickly as possible. The “ripple effect”–as he put it–would be that the community of Germantown stabilizes, one rehabbed house at a time. It also wouldn’t hurt to get a lot of these properties back on the city’s tax rolls. There’s only one catch for the free program: applicants must have some connection to Germantown.

There are three points  of emphasis with Jumpstart Germantown: Mentoring, Networking and Funding. Since the program started on Wednesday, Weinstein said they have already gotten 12 applications and expects somewhere in the neighborhood of “50 to 60″ by the time the first class of eight developers is selected on May 13. “We have a preference for women and minority developers,” said Weinstein, the president of Philly Office Retail, a development company focusing on commercial real estate. Read more »

Restoration Project Planned for Vernon Park

Image via Google Street VIew

Image via Google Street View

Well, we can see why Councilwoman Cindy Bass might feel adamant about preserving the YWCA on Germantown Ave for future use as a potential community center: steps away from the historic structure is Vernon Park, a green space slated to see several enhancements this March, according to NewsWorks’ Queen Muse:

Some of the key changes to the park include landscape and pathway improvements, new children’s playground equipment, the addition of adult fitness equipment and restoration of the park’s monuments and statues.

The Vernon Park project, due to rack up a cost in the $1 million dollar ball park, is scheduled to have a groundbreaking ceremony on February 24th. However, Muse writes that official construction in certain sections of the park won’t happen until March.

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Brand New Queen Lane Apartments Will Have Wednesday Groundbreaking

The demolished Queen Lane Apartments building via Google Street View.

The demolished Queen Lane Apartments building via Google Street View.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority has announced that it will break ground on the new Queen Lane Apartments development in Germantown on December 17th.

Expected to reach completion before this time next year, the project will consist of 55 apartment units with “a mix of low-rise flats, walkups, and townhouses.”

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[UPDATE] Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive

germantown-kidnapping-940x540

Carlesha Freeland-Gaither is alive.

The 22-year-old Germantown woman — whose weekend kidnapping was caught on camera — was found in Maryland earlier this evening. A suspect, Delvin Barnes, was taken into custody.

“I’m taking my baby home,” said Keisha Gaither, Carlesha’s mom, at a 7 p.m. news conference.
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Search Continues for Germantown Kidnapping Victim

[Update, 1:30 p.m.] 6 ABC is reporting that the ATM card of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither has been used in Maryland.

The station also reports that the reward in the Germantown kidnapping is now up to $42,000, with $25,000 from the FBI and $2,000 from the Citizens Crime Commission in addition to the previously reported $10,000 from the City of Philadelphia and $5,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police.

[Update 11 a.m.] Philadelphia Police announce: “John McNesby, President of the Fraternal Order of Police – Lodge 5, has announced an additional $5,000 reward for ARREST in the abduction case.”

Making the money contingent on an arrest means that anybody who helps find Freeland-Gaither — hopefully alive and safe — will see cash money for their efforts almost immediately. The original $10,000 reward is dependent on a conviction in the case, meaning that cash might not be paid out for months or years.

[Original] Police are still searching for Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, who was kidnapped Sunday night on the 100 block of West Coulter Street in Germantown.
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Morning Headlines: SRC to Sell 11 Schools for $2 Million Net

"Germantown HS Philly" by Smallbones - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Germantown HS Philly by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons.

The School Reform Commission approving the sale of 11 Philadelphia schools is big news this morning, punctuated with some pretty big numbers. The Daily News’s Solomon Leach has details on how the sales will break down.

The two biggest parcels are each going for $6.8 million. Germantown High, Carroll High, Fulton Elementary, Walter Smith Elementary and Abigail Vare Elementary are all going to the Concordia Group. Two of the elementary schools – Vare and Smith – are slated to become residential buildings.

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Reminder: PHA to Demolish Germantown High-Rise on Saturday

301 Queen Lane, as seen on Google Maps. It will be imploded on Saturday.

301 Queen Lane, as seen on Google Maps. It will be imploded on Saturday.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is scheduled to implode a 16-story high-rise in Germantown on Saturday morning.

NBC 10 reports: “Police will also be shutting down streets around the high-rise while the implosion is taking place. The demolition is scheduled to take place at 7:15 a.m. rain or shine.”

The high-rise will be replaced with a new public housing project — a “a 55-unit development that will include a mix of low-rise flats, walkups and townhouses.” All the units will be rentals.

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