500 Walnut: Can You Top This?

"Thomas Jefferson" welcomes invitees to today's 500 Walnut topping-off ceremony and introduces developer Tom Scannapieco, to his left. Also on the podium, from left to right: Mayor Jim Kenney, architect Cecil Baker, Intech Construction President Will Schwartz and ULLICO Regional Manager Matthew Downs. | Photos: Sandy Smith; renderings: Cecil Baker + Partners via Scannapieco Development

“Thomas Jefferson” welcomes invitees to today’s 500 Walnut topping-off ceremony and introduces developer Tom Scannapieco, to his left. Also on the podium, from left to right: Mayor Jim Kenney, architect Cecil Baker, Intech Construction President Will Schwartz and ULLICO Regional Manager Matthew Downs. | Photos: Sandy Smith; renderings: Cecil Baker + Partners via Scannapieco Development

Is Tom Scannapieco a revolutionary?

“Thomas Jefferson” apparently thinks so, for today’s lunchtime ceremony marking the formal topping-off of Scannapieco Development Corporation’s latest luxury condo tower, 500 Walnut, opened with a character actor playing the Sage of Monticello praising Tom’s vision and boldness.

And there’s no denying that the Cecil Baker + Partners-designed tower makes a bold statement on its site across Walnut Street from Independence Hall.

We’ll get to the ways it does that, and the clever magic trick Baker pulled off, in a bit. But first, some facts and figures: Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Live Like Royalty in Rittenhouse for $4.99M

2004 Delancey St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | Images via Century 21 Veterans

2004 Delancey St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | Images via Century 21 Veterans

It seems that futuristically modern homes are all the buzz lately. So, when we stumbled across this historically exquisite townhome in Rittenhouse Square, we were both refreshed by its rich beauty and taken aback by its enormous size.

Situated on a tree-lined block of the most desirable street in the neighbhorhood, the property boasts six bedrooms, five full bathrooms, two powder rooms, nine fireplaces, a solarium, a gymnasium, a library, an au pair or in-law suite, and a two-car garage, amongst other things. The foyer’s 15-foot ceilings highlight the home’s original woodwork. To your left is a formal front parlor followed by a dining room, which is currently being used as a family room. Read more »

A Modern Master’s Mansion in Fort Washington for $25M

7711 Sheaff Ln., Fort Washington, Pa. 19034 | Images via Long & Foster / Christie's International Real Estate

7711 Sheaff Ln., Fort Washington, Pa. 19034 | Photos: Halkin Architectural Photography LLC via Long & Foster / Christie’s International Real Estate

We never thought we’d run across a home whose interior space can be expressed in acres.

There’s a first time for everything, it seems, for this home contains 0.85 acres of interior space.

(That’s 36,957 square feet, expressed in conventional terms.)

Yes, you could fit several tract houses inside this Rafael Viñoly-designed masterwork. But why would you want to?

For this expansive home that’s ideally suited for entertaining on a grand scale also offers a high level of intimacy for those moments when you want it. Read more »

On the Drawing Board: Living XXL in Franklintown

The NOVO Philly development. | Renderings: Atrium Design Studio

The NOVO Philly development. | Renderings: Atrium Design Studio

From the architect who brought you 7inSPIRE and a good chunk of Northern Liberties comes something huge: 10 luxurious, light-filled townhomes just off Logan Square, right across from the Latter-day Saints’ meetinghouse, temple and apartment tower.

The project is called NOVO Philly, and its architect, Shimi Zakin, has upped his usual stylish game with these homes.

Like 7inSPIRE, NOVO is designed to relate to its site and neighborhood. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Real Trophy Home in New Hope for $2.795M

6888 Paxson Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | Images courtesy of Addison Wolfe Real Estate

6888 Paxson Rd., New Hope, Pa. 18938 | Images courtesy of Addison Wolfe Real Estate

It’s rare that a property fully encompasses what it means to be “the total package.” Normally, even the most beautiful home falls short somewhere – whether it be its price, square footage, condition, or some other attribute that’s lacking.

But this New Hope mansion known as “Paxson Ridge” just might be the needle in the haystack. At nearly 8,000 square feet and sitting on more than 7 acres of land, it is truly the definition of one-of-a-kind. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Buzzworthy Society Hill Mansion for $16.795M

232-36 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND image via BHHS Fox & Roach Realty

232-36 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Photos: Drew Callaghan Photography via BHHS Fox & Roach

Just blocks from Penn’s Landing, Carpenters’ Hall, and Independence Hall, this Society Hill mansion is a true Philadelphia masterpiece – and rightfully so. The one-of-a-kind property is currently the most expensive home for sale across the city.

As soon as you step inside the foyer of this 16-year-old property, you will encounter the massive, free-floating steel staircase. It’s definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

It might seem crazy that a two-bedroom home could cost so much money. But, when you account for all it has to offer, things start making sense. Read more »

Just What the Doctor Ordered: A Stunning Makeover in Wynnewood for $1.879M

334 Fairhill Rd., Wynnewood, Pa. 19096 | Photos: David Arena, Alcove Media, via Juliet Cordeiro Group

334 Fairhill Rd., Wynnewood, Pa. 19096 | Photos: David Arena, Alcove Media, via Juliet Cordeiro Group

At least two legends of medicine have called Wynnewood home. One of them, Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive behavioral therapy, still lives there, and the institute he founded to promote and practice it is located nearby in Bala-Cynwyd.

The other legend is the man who developed the Sabin oral vaccine, which supplanted Jonas Salk’s injected vaccine as the most effective defense against polio and ultimately wiped out the disease.

No, not Albert Sabin. His vaccine was developed on the shoulders of (and with polio virus strains supplied by) Hilary Koprowski, who developed the first polio vaccine in 1950. As it was based on weakened live polio virus rather than killed virus, it could be administered orally — Koprowski used himself as a guinea pig — and needed no booster doses to maintain its effectiveness.

His groundbreaking work didn’t spread as quickly as it ought to have in the medical community, but it did get him named head of the Wistar Institute in 1957. As its director, he transformed it into a world-renowned center of vaccine research.

From 1957 until his death in 2013, Koprowski lived in a handsome 1920s Tudor Revival home on Fairhill Road in Wynnewood, to which he added two wings sometime in the 1980s to house his library and art collection.

Now, fresh off a total transformation, this one-of-a-kind residence can become the place where you pursue your own passions. Read more »

How 10 Townhomes Sold Quickly in Fairmount

The living room of 2345 Pennsylvania Ave., one of 10 large luxury townhomes HOW Properties sold within eight months of their construction. | Photos: HOW Properties

The living room of 2345 Pennsylvania Ave., one of 10 large luxury townhomes HOW Properties sold within eight months of their construction. | Photos: HOW Properties

Want some concrete evidence of the strength of the high-end housing market in Philadelphia? Then read on for a tale of a new townhouse project in Fairmount that sold out in just eight months.

The project, Green Street Estates, is a development of HOW Properties, a Conshohocken-based builder with years of experience building homes in up-and-coming Philadelphia neighborhoods. Located on the west end of the 2300 blocks of Green Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, just about around the corner from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the development consists of 10 three-story townhomes with basements and roof decks. The units range in size from 4,921 to 5,282 square feet, and they listed for anywhere from $1.7 to $2 million each.

On the outside, these units were designed to blend in with the architecture of their respective blocks. While contemporary in form, the three homes facing Pennsylvania Avenue have exteriors that match the Moderne style of most of the buildings along that street, while the Green Street homes have darker brick facades and crenellated cornices that more closely match the style of their late 19th-century neighbors. Read more »

Main Line Monday: Classically Modern Opulence in Wayne, $3.15M

330 Edgehill Rd., Wayne, Pa. 19087 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

330 Edgehill Rd., Wayne, Pa. 19087 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

This 1910 center-hall Colonial in Wayne has all the basic elements of this staple Main Line house type: a central entrance foyer with grand staircase flanked by a formal living room on one side and a formal dining room on the other. Fireplaces galore. Great rooms with coffered ceilings. You get the idea.

But look closer and you’ll notice that this vision in white is also a departure from the standard in just about every way possible: Where many center-hall Colonials are dark, staid and somber, this one is bright, airy and colorful, with plenty of sun-drenched rooms. A succession of master builders and designers have left their mark on this home, bringing it into the 21st century with tastefully opulent upgrades and additions that mix traditional and modern elements. Read more »

Make Your Own Jawdropper: Lots of Room With a Breathtaking View, $14M

Residences at the Ritz, 1414 South Penn Square, 47th Floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102 |Renderings: Residences at the Ritz; photos: Sandy Smith

Residences at the Ritz, 1414 South Penn Square, 47th Floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102 |Renderings: Residences at the Ritz; photos: Sandy Smith

The top three floors of the Residences at the Ritz offer custom living of a kind rarely seen in this city.

And while there are some other stunning spaces available that can be turned into one-of-a-kind residences, none of them come in the large economy size that this 47th-floor penthouse does.

Occupying the entire floor, this unit boasts more than 9,000 square feet of interior space, plus another 1,600 square feet of outdoor terraces with breathtaking views. Read more »

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