Morning Headlines: Kensington Blight To Be Rehabbed Into Mixed-Use Civic House

Photo via Google Street View

Less than a block from the El’s Somerset Station in Kensington is a former textile building that’s been falling apart for ages. It’s not the only property with a similar history in the area, but unlike most of those dilapidated structures, this one will cease to be an eyesore very soon.

PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports the zoning board has voted to approve the proposed Orinoka Mills Civic House redevelopment project at East Somerset and Ruth Streets. This project, which is being developed by the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCD), involves rehabbing the site into a mixed-use property with 51 apartment units, 26 car spaces, “community space for NKDC” and a coffee shop.

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Lynch-Themed Exhibit Opens at Kensington’s Pterodactyl

PJ Smalley’s portrait of Dale Cooper | Photo via Christian Sarkis Graham

PJ Smalley’s portrait of Dale Cooper. | Photo via Christian Sarkis Graham

Is there really any time as fitting as Halloween weekend to open a show in praise and commemoration of David Lynch? (Okay besides Father’s Day. Or Thanksgiving.)

“I was thinking, ‘How would Dale Cooper go about curating a show?’ He would be very earnest, with almost a Boy Scout sincerity; but he would still engage elements of the surreal and the strange. He would go about it as a tribute to his creator; in a lot of ways, Dale Cooper is the ultimate Lynch self-portrait.”

So explains PJ Smalley, the artist behind the arguable centerpiece of Pterodactyl gallery’s David Lynch-themed exhibit, “Catching the Big Fish,” which held its opening reception Saturday night.

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Rich Tech Bro Speaks at Kensington HS, Struggles To Give Advice

Kensington CAPA | Google Street View

Kensington CAPA | Google Street View

On Wednesday this week, entrepreneur Alex Klein spoke at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School. He went to Yale and Cambridge and is creating a built-it-yourself computer with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Klein’s dad founded Getty Images.

The Inquirer’s Maria Panaritis was there to capture the exchange between Klein and a smart Philadelphia kid with a pointed question.

“Did you have a strong support system while being raised, to get where you are now?” asked senior Joshua Camacho, 18 […] “What would you tell people,” Camacho added, “who might not have that support system?”

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Another Warehouse Fire, Another Tax Delinquent


The listed owner of the vacant warehouse at 2412 N. American Street where a four-alarm fire injured three people overnight owes $11,023.55 in back taxes on the property, and a total of about $20,500 on at least three other parcels in the city, a Philly Mag review of city records finds.

According to city records, the warehouse’s owner is Richard Paynter. The records — which on occasion can be incorrect — show that Paynter hasn’t paid taxes on the property since at least 2007.

There are no recent records of safety or maintenance violations at the site, but another lot owned by Paynter in West Philadelphia has racked up 13 violations in recent years.

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(UPDATE) Three Injured in Fire at Kensington Warehouse

[Update 5:55 a.m.] 6ABC now says that three people — including two firefighters — have been hurt in the fire:

Three people, including 2 firefighters, have been injured in a massive warehouse fire in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

120 firefighters were on the scene working to control the blaze.

A 45-year-old man was badly burned as he fled the vacant building where the fire originated. He was taken to an area hospital with burns over 80% of his body.

Two firefighters were being treated for minor injuries.

The fire was brought under control at 4:12 a.m., but “multiple” fire units remain on the scene.

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ReAnimator Coffee Opens Big New Spot


While we’ve been all amped up on news from La Colombe, ReAnimator Coffee has quietly expanded with its own bigger and better facility.

ReAnimator Coffee is hosting their grand opening at 310 Master Street on Saturday October 11th starting at 3 p.m. The coffee shop is currently open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends, but the grand opening is a great time to tour the new space, a restored elevator factory in the Kensington neighborhood.

The new space serves not only as a ReAnimator cafe, but will also house the green coffee inventory, serve as a training lab for employees and feature a 12 kilo Probat coffee roaster.

Coffee equipment geekery ahead » 

The Lovely Bones: East Kensington Fixer-Upper

A 2009 Google Street View image shows skater hooligans perpetrating their monkeyshines at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cumberland. These days they're probably building kinetic sculptures.

A 2009 Google Street View image shows skater hooligans perpetrating their monkeyshines at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Cumberland. These days they’re probably building kinetic sculptures.

If there can be said to be a ground zero for Kensington redevelopment and renaissance, it might be cobblestone Trenton Avenue, which anchors the East Kensington neighborhood and whose Trenton Ave Arts Festival gave rise to the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, that most beloved of creativity competitions.

This home is basically at Cumberland and Trenton, and as such, is in a pretty nice spot to appreciate. It also appears to have rather good bones, as well as a large backyard and a “clean” basement. Sold as-is, of course (hence the price), but if you’re looking for a blank canvas and a project, this might be a good place to start.

Gallery of poor-quality photos below.

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This Labor Day Is the Great Boogie Woogie

great-boogie-woogieJoin Kraftwork for a Labor Day party. The Great Boogie Woogie party is happening in a warehouse at 1526 N American Street and there will be live music, food trucks and beer from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Music will include acts from New Orleans, Manitoba and New York combining for a day of electro-rock, N’awlins flavor and Afrobeat. Beer will be provided by Ithaca, Troegs, Victory and Goose Island.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Kraftwork, Kermit’s Bake Shoppe and online at TicketFly.

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