Developer Seeks to Build the Anti-Cheesecake Factory in the Italian Market


Here is a look at the conceptual designs.

Community members (and reporters) packed a church hall in South Philly Tuesday evening to hear an information-only presentation for a project at the long-vacant lot at 9th and Washington. If realized, it could have a major impact on the future of the Italian Market.

Midwood Investment & Development owns the roughly 32,000-square-foot parcel, which includes the building that houses Anastasi’s Seafood (more on that later). They are seeking to build a 5-story mixed-use structure with 150 spots on two levels of underground parking, roughly 18,000-square-feet of retail and 70 market rate apartments above it.

In order to keep with the context and scale of the eastern edge of the site, Midwood is proposing to build eight new Trinity homes on Darien Street. Site plans suggest they would be between 590- and 600-square-feet and feature rear gardens.

While tensions usually run from medium-to-high at these meetings, Jared Klein, chair of the Passyunk Crossing Civic Association zoning committee, attempted to cut things off at a head prior to the start of the presentation, announcing to the crowd that “this project will include parking.”

The crowd laughed, and that pretty much set the tone for a meeting that seemed largely free of controversy.

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Developers to Present Early Plans for Ice House Lot in the Italian Market

The lot, as seen from 9th Street | Via Google Street View

The lot, as seen from 9th Street | Via Google Street View

You know that long stretch of wall just off of the corner of 9th and Washington in the Italian Market? Well, behind that wall, which had become an vibrant, ever-changing street art display, is a large vacant lot that used to house American Ice and Coal Company’s warehouse.

According to the Passyunk Square Civic Association’s zoning section of the newsletter, an unnamed developer will be presenting new plans for the site next week:

Informational presentation regarding the lot at 9th and Darien.  PSCA will hear from the development team to review a mixed use concept (including ground floor commercial, below grade parking, and residential) at the long vacant lot at 9th and Darien.

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Tale of the Tape: Paesano’s Gizmo


Paesano’s take on the cheesesteak | Photo by Sara Schuster

If there were a “Sandwich Hall of Fame” (and there should be, and it of course should be located in Philadelphia) the entire menu of Paesano’s would be inducted. The Arista, Daddy Wad and Paesano are irrefutable stars of the sandwich world. Owner Peter McAndrews has said he doesn’t put a cheesesteak on the menu because he doesn’t want his sandwich shop to become just another cheesesteak spot. Understandable, but after tasting his other sandwiches, you just know he can make a great cheesesteak. And he does, periodically Paesano’s will tweet out about the Gizmo, the sandwich shop’s take on Philadelphia’s most famous sandwich is available as a special.

And today that sandwich was on special, and we couldn’t resist ordering it.

The tale of the tape »

WATCH: Bradley Cooper Walks His Dog Through the Italian Market

Last night, Bradley Cooper was up for a Best Actor Tony award for his performance in The Elephant Man. Unfortunately for fans of the Philadelphia native, he didn’t win. (Alex Sharp, who didn’t even have an agent when he auditioned for The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, did.)

But before the award show broadcast on CBS, 60 Minutes profiled Cooper (in a slightly-updated story from February), talking to him about his Academy Award nominations — he has three! — and his work on stage in New York. Read more »

Another Weekend, Another Ton of Festivals

Check out the taps on this truck.

Check out the taps on this truck.

Over on Ticket, they’ve got 19 things to do this weekend. Surely, more than anyone can handle. But as a serious Fooboozer, maybe you can hit these four.

19 Things to Do this Weekend [Ticket]

Trinity Tuesday: Made Over Home In the Italian Market Has Bathroom Balcony

Photos by Kate Devlin

Photos by Kate Devlin

We’ve been racking our brains to remember whether or not we’ve ever covered a Philadelphia home with a similar quirk, but have come up with zilch. It might be safe to say, then, that this is a first on Property: this trinity home on a sliver of Darien Street has a bathroom balcony.

Though maybe not a balcony balcony as much as it’s one of those tiny French balconies with little to no room for sitting and lounging. Still, it is a fairly unique trinity, one that’s been fully renovated and expanded. The private passageway leading to its entrance is newly designed, and the home itself was rebuilt by carpenters. Plus, in addition to having three floors of living space, the lower-level has been finished and has an access window/door and  full bathroom–potential third bedroom? Office maybe?

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Morning Headlines: Should Philly Look Into a ‘Flip Tax’ to Combat Speculation?

Sunlit Philadelphia City Hall

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

In an effort to raise more money for the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund and combat land speculation, Pennsylvania Coalition for Affordable Communities (PCAC) presented an interesting idea that could have widespread implications on the real estate and housing market.

According to PlanPhilly, the group is calling for an increase of the Realty Transfer Tax from 4% by an additional 1.5% for any property selling more than once within 24 months– a ‘flip tax’. PCAC calculated that the bump would have raised and extra $12 million for the Housing Trust Fund in 2013, thus, doubling their budget for programs that help low income home owners repair their homes, support affordable housing development, and prevent homelessness.

While ending widespread speculation and creating economically diverse neighborhoods are good things, it’s possible that tax hike such as this could stunt smaller scale real estate investment, hinder first time homebuyers or even sellers who aren’t speculators who are essentially penalized by the tax. Do you think a ‘flip tax’ is the way to go or should Philadelphia look towards more creative ways to combat speculation?

Pac-Man on the Streets of Philly!

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Details On Noord Owner Joncarl Lachman’s New North African Restaurant in the Italian Market


Put down that Dutch Cookery book, Joncarl!

I had dinner at Noord last night on East Passyunk Avenue, but before I left I made sure to bend Chef / owner Joncarl Lachman’s ear about what he has planned for his new location in the Italian Market. 

First things first: They’re deciding between two names: Bistro Neuf or Restaurant Neuf. The name Neuf, because “neuf” means 9 in French and the restaurant is on 9th Street—in the former location of Argentinian steakhouse 943.

The menu will be North African with French influences. I’m told to expect hearty Moroccan tajines (yes, some with pigeon), braised meats and even bouillabaisse. 

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Throw Back Thursdays: Di Bruno Bros

dibruno 9th street Long before Throwback Thursdays were a thing on Facebook and Twitter, we used to occasionally run a feature called Retro-raunts. But since Throwback Thursdays are the flavor of the day and is still one of my favorite web sites, we were inspired to bring back the feature. Check out the above photo of the original Di Bruno Bros. from 1954. Look closely and you can make out the Di Bruno Bros. sign.

Throwback to 1954 [Di Bruno Bros. Twitter] [Official]

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