Development Roundup: Digital Billboards Are Finally Coming to Market Street and Other Projects…

Market Street side of Mellon Independence Center. Photo credit: Google Street View

Market Street side of Mellon Independence Center.
Photo credit: Google Street View

Construction making way for video billboards set to line the roof of the former Lit Bros. building on Market Street has begun. Philly.com’s Maria Panaritis reports $10 million went into the project with an additional $10 million going to updating nearby public amenities.

Investors and other involved parties are aiming for a New Year’s Eve light up as the area has long been a ghost of its retail past. The “stadiumlike, wraparound, LED signs” are expected to encourage redevelopment and bring in revenue, something it has already started doing:

Indeed, advertising contracts for billboards of this nature can be very lucrative. Merlini estimated that annual revenues from the signs to be installed atop the Lits building would be in the “seven figures.”

“We didn’t know what a revenue source it would be until we got into it,” he said, adding that advertisement contracts were already in place.

Here are other unfolding projects…

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Police Tasered Man After Main Line Apple Store Ran Out of iPhone 6

From Left: Chang Liu (tasered), Bi Liu, and Lian Zheng.

From Left: Chang Liu (tasered), Bi Liu, and Lian Zheng.

A typical Saturday morning at the upmarket Suburban Square shopping center just outside of Philadelphia sees well-heeled suburbanites sipping Starbucks Pumpkin Skim Lattes while shopping at J. Crew, Trader Joe’s, and Lilly Pulitzer in the most civilized of manners. It is never the scene of melees, brouhahas or ruckuses. But this past Saturday was anything but typical. Read more »

Main Line Monday: $2.25 Paoli Farmhouse Reproduction

TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach - Haverford.

TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach – Haverford.

This reproduction 18th-century farmhouse was a Belber Builders project, completed in 1988. That well-known Main Line firm, founded in 1939, also did Rabbit Run Rd, Devon Green, Oak Knoll, Sugar Knoll, The Highlands and many other ground-up and restoration/renovation projects in the area. The three-story home sits on almost three and half landscaped acres that include flagstone patios, a built-in grill, gardens, a pool and a pond. There’s also a detached three-car garage with finished office space on its second floor.

As for the interior, take a look at the gallery below.

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Main Line Monday: $4M Manse With “Chocolate Room”

maxwellton

As befits its name and august address, Maxwellton — actually asking a hair under $4 million — has many hallmarks of luxury, perhaps first and foremost a La Cornue Château 165 range, the newest La Cornue model, which according the company was “born of a deep love of succulent roasted meats and poultries.” The kitchen has other top-of-the-line appliances, such as a built-in Sub Zero model 632, a Wolf built-in convection and microwave oven and a professional Miele built-in coffee making system.

There’s a “dish room” with 80 running feet of cabinetry and a smaller kitchen off of the main kitchen.

Perhaps most enticingly, however, is the presence of a “chocolate room” that has been “designed for optimal humidity and temperature control for the production of chocolate dishes” and “includes a walk-in refrigerator and Wolf cook-top stove.”

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Main Line Monday: Newly Listed $6M Contemporary

main line monday logo This home with pool and tennis court, among other amenities, has almost 9,000 square feet of living space. The land was purchased in 2000 for $1,400,000, according to public record, and then a new house was built on the 2.3 acres by architect Matthew Milan and builder Frank Zadlo. So what makes it worth so much money now? Let’s take a look. Gallery below, after the Fine Print.

THE FINE PRINT
Beds: 7
Baths: 6/1
Square feet: 8,798
Price: $5,965,000

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Pat Croce’s Villanova Estate to Go to Auction [Gallery]

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Pat Croce — former president of the 76ers; author of inspirational New York Times bestsellers; self-described pirate; museum founder; and Key West habitué and bar owner — put his Lower Merion Colonial on the market for $7.95 million at the end of last year.

Now Croce has entered into an agreement with Premiere Estates Auction Company to bring the 10,500- square-foot home to auction on Oct. 25 “to accelerate the sales process,” as a Premiere spokesperson puts it. It’s an absolute auction, which means that there’s no going back — the highest bid will take the property. Absolute auctions can be intriguing if there’s the possibility that no one shows up except a homeless guy who read about it in the paper at the Free Library, and has a crumpled dollar in his pocket but nothing more.

This isn’t Trading Places, though. When there’s an auction for an estate like this one, rest assured it will bring more than a dollar, and from someone who knows real estate and the Main Line. If I were a betting gal…well, but I’m not (I’m sorry, Atlantic City. I haven’t helped at all).

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Pending Sale for $5.2M: Villanova Estate “Conamara”

TREND photo via Realtor.com

TREND photo via Realtor.com

Conamara (the traditional spelling for Connemara) is the name of a picturesque area in West Ireland. It’s also the name of this Villanova estate that sits on more than 10 acres of the vaunted Ardrossan land, where Hope Montgomery Scott–the inspiration for Katherine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story–once lived it up.

After being listed on the market for $7,695,000, it was slated for auction in April 2013. According to public record, it sold in July 2013 for $4 million and was placed on the market just weeks later for $5.25. Now, little more than a month later, it’s pending sale at that same price.

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New Project: Double Preservation Win in Gladwyne Means Church Conversion

The former United Methodist Church of Narberth is just one of a few church buildings slated for residential conversion. Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Over the years, Main Line reBuild, a development partnership consisting of developers Mac Brand, Tom Harvey, and Scott Brehman, has established itself as a stalwart of preservation, “flipping” neighborhood landmarks without compromising their historical integrity.

Among said conversion projects are the former United Methodist Church of Narberth (soon to be condo apartments with lower-level parking), the First Baptist Church of Ardmore (a plan still in the works, but which may include “elevator-capable condo units,” Philly.com reports), and now, the Gladwyne Methodist Church and Odd Fellows Hall.

Aiding the preservation and conversion of the two latter properties is a recent zoning code amendment, which the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison says allows for the residential conversion of these buildings with “provisions for historic preservation.”

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Terrific Villanova Home With Oddly Purple Screening Room

villanova-opener

Talk about a study in contrasts: Outside, this lovely home on winding Greenbrier Drive passes for a traditional Main Line residence, one you can easily imagine delicately strewn with lights in December, though its advantageous position–set back from the road, hidden behind trees and atop a little hill–would make it tough for pesky carolers to reach the door. It’s the kind of home that may have been built in 1981, but evokes earlier times–and I’m not talking about the 1970s.

Or am I? Inside, the home is mostly modern, with plenty of white walls and sleek surfaces. There’s a contemporary skylight and sink, sconces and stovetop. There’s some molding, but it’s as subdued as most of the color palette.

But what happened in the screening room? Its walls, ceiling and microsuede theater seats are all purple. Very purple. If it were a book, it’d be James and the Giant Plum. The only other color in the room comes from three metallic female mannequins, and all I know about them is that they are not Academy Awards.

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