On the Market: A Charming Live/Work Home in Germantown

70 E Coulter St, Philadelphia, PA 19144.

70 E Coulter St, Philadelphia, PA 19144.

Last October we put the spotlight on five houses ideal for those who work from home. Even better, they were vintage homes with a charm all their own, and came in styles ranging from studio to carriage house. This Germantown property, which has since gotten a $50k price cut,  is one of them.

A carriage house built in 1869, the home is a mix of history and convenience (and isn’t too shabby looking). Inside, the first floor features 9-foot ceilings and cement floors, and is a 1,500-square-foot work space with office, guest room, laundry, and storage. There’s also a wood stove and bathroom.

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Morning Headlines: Building Implosion Rescheduled

queen lane apartments

The vacant public housing tower in Germantown that was going to be imploded on Sept. 14 will now be blown to bits on Sept. 13th instead. Generally, the city tries to do demolitions on Sundays, but has responded to the community’s request that it be Saturday instead, according to PlanPhilly:

At a Thursday night public meeting inside Mt. Moriah Baptist Church — located just steps away from the doomed building — Samantha Phillips, the city’s director of emergency management, said that Mayor Michael Nutter approved a request to move the building’s implosion forward by one day…

“We spent time going to risk management, the police department and other partner agencies to make sure we can do this just as safely on Saturday, and we absolutely can,” Phillips said. “There might be a few more resources out there, but we’re going to get it done.”

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Morning Headlines: Queen Lane Apartments Getting Cleared Out For Demolition

queen lane apartments

Don’t worry, months of waiting are almost over (but not quite yet)!

PlanPhilly’s Aaron Moselle reports the demolition prepping for the Queen Lane Apartments is still coming along, and that, although an official date has not been set, an October implosion might be in order once the city gives its approval to the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

So why exactly is demo preparation for the sixteen-story building taking so long? Well, it’s a painstaking process to say the least: “Crews have to remove all appliances, cabinetry, debris and other materials from every floor.” (Emphasis mine.) Yikes. Also, let’s not forget it was put on hold when a discovered burial ground was discovered on the property.

Once the building is taken down, a 55-unit building will take its place.

Crews clearing way for impending Queen Lane Apartments implosion [PlanPhilly]

In other news…

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Sold: Germantown’s Grand Joseph Mitchell House

The Joseph Mitchell House, located in Germantown’s Tulpehocken Station Historic District, has sold for $525,000 a few months after its owners relisted the property. The house was built around 1856, and is often attributed to the architect Samuel Sloan. It’s got a crenelated tower, a slate roof, Queen Anne windows, and very cute trim. And it’s just two blocks from SEPTA’s Tulpehocken regional rail station.

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Morning Headlines: Demolition of Queen Lane Apartments Coming Soon-ish

queen lane apartments

It’s been almost two years since the Philadelphia Housing Authority announced plans to demolish the long-vacant Queen Lane Apartments in West Philadelphia, and to replace it with a 55-unit development. What’s another few months?

As it is, the Department of Housing and Urban Development can finally give PHA the go-ahead.  The project had been put on pause following the discovery of a historic burial ground in the building’s backyard. The cemetery’s borders have since been asserted, and future construction will not disturb it.

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Are the Union Protests at the Trolley Car Diner Legal?


Yesterday we wrote about IBEW Local 98, the electricians’ union, protesting in front of developer Ken Weinstein’s Trolley Car Diner — where, Weinstein alleges, flyers with his photograph and cell phone number were distributed. That may be bad form, and an invasion of privacy, but it’s run-of-the-mill kind of stuff from Philly unions. As far as we know, distributing the phone number is not illegal.

But the protests themselves are more open to question. Weinstein is the developer of a preservation/restoration project at 6000 Wayne Avenue, which — just to be clear — is not the address of the Trolley Car Diner. The building at that location, like many that Weinstein develops, is vacant but historical, with a Frank Furness pedigree. Weinstein is planning to turn that building into a school, and he has hired a general contractor from the area, McCoubrey/Overholser, to do the construction and to hire subcontractors to do specialized work, like the electrical.

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Union Protests At Trolley Car Diner Because They Are Angry About Something Different Than Trolley Car Diner

detail of st pete's

Detail of the church in question. Original photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia.

Real estate developer and Trolley Car Diner owner Ken Weinstein sent out an email to many, many people (from Pete Hoskins to Terry Gillen) to alert them to a…disagreement he’s having with the IBEW over his construction of a Waldorf School campus on Wayne Avenue in Germantown. Weinstein says the diner has been subject to union protests outside.

The president of Weinstein Properties and Philly Office Retail, Weinstein isn’t a newbie to development; he’s been in the business for 24 years, and currently owns and manages 500,000-plus square feet of commercial space. Additionally, Weinstein has been something of an eatery investor, founding (and selling) the Cresheim Cottage Cafe, and buying up the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy and Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls — the two neighborhoods, along with Germantown, into which he puts most of his energies.

Before we look at the union battle, let’s assess Weinstein’s latest project: the conversion of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church — designed by Frank Furness and George Hewitt — on the 6000 block of Wayne Avenue.

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Greener Home for Wissahickon Charter

Photo of sign at construction site by Sandy Smith.

Photo of sign at construction site by Sandy Smith.

The Wissahickon Charter School in the northwest part of the city says its mission is “to provide a community of learning with an environmental focus that stimulates the child’s intellectual, social, and character development.”

The school’s founders planned to use the Wissahickon Valley as an extension of its classrooms but were stymied in their search for a suitable site near the park. Since its opening in 2002, it has operated out of space in the former Atwater Kent radio factory at 4700 Wissahickon Avenue in Germantown’s southwest corner, hard by the Roosevelt Expressway.

Ground broke last fall on a new home for the school that will finally provide it the access to nature it has long sought.

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Historic, Abandoned Frank Miles Day Mansion Is Begging for a Flip


Address on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places? Check. Revered architect known for contributing iconic buildings to half of the Ivy League? Check. Gorgeous Renaissance Revival architecture featuring 10 bedrooms and more than 7,000 square feet of living space? Check. Walls, flooring, plumbing … well, sort of. Realtors do like to say it’s the bones of a place that really matter.

First, the history. The home was designed by local architect Frank Miles Day in 1892 for Harry K. Cummings, major grain and feed dealer of his day. Day is known throughout the design world for the work he produced from his eponymous architecture firm, which extended beyond residences to college and commercial architecture. He is beloved regionally for designing the Philadelphia Art Alliance as well as the dearly departed Art Club of Philadelphia. His contributions to Penn include Houston Hall, the Penn Museum, the second iteration of Franklin Field, the Fieldhouse and Ben Franklin’s pedestal at College Hall. He also designed buildings for Princeton, Yale and Cornell as well as Penn State and the University of Delaware. Day was a lecturer at Penn, Harvard and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. So: pretty solid credentials.

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La Salle Gets in on the University Building Boom

la salle business school rendering

La Salle business school rendering, via philly.com.

As if Temple, Drexel and Penn weren’t busy enough, La Salle University has now announced its own big, new building: a 78,000-square-foot business school at Chew and Wister on its Germantown campus. The Inquirer calls the $35 million project La Salle’s contender “in what has become an arms race for the newest and best on Philadelphia campuses.”

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