Morning Headlines: Residents to Protest Dranoff Development

Logo for One Ardmore Place, Carl Dranoff's new mixed-use development. Courtesy Dranoff Properties.

Carl Dranoff’s mixed-use tower on Cricket Avenue in Ardmore has been in the works for a very long time, but it still doesn’t sit well with some community members, who will hold a protest in front of the Lower Merion Township building on Saturday. From

Critics say the project, One Ardmore Place, would not jibe with the mom-and-pop character of downtown Ardmore, bringing more density and traffic, and more burden to the schools….

Dranoff Properties says the building will bring $100 million in economic stimulus and create a more vibrant downtown.

Montco protest planned for Ardmore project  

More headlines, this way…

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Rydal Home Near Bradley Cooper

Alright, let me preface this by saying I’m not trying to get Mr. Cooper stalked or anyone in trouble. BUT, it seems pointless to profile this house without mentioning that a 10-minute walk (at least, according to directions from Google Maps) will get you to his former doorstep.

So no, you wouldn’t be his neighbor-neighbor, per se. Rather, you’d be neighbors in the general neighborhood-y kind of way. Think of it as a fun fact you can tell your grandkids one day (like those stories you hear about your cousin’s best friend’s aunt’s stepfather running into -insert celebrity name here- in an elevator): “We ran into Bradley Cooper while walking Buddy!”

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Adorable Dog Joins Montgomery County DA’s Office


See the above doggy? He’s now a member of Montgomery County District Attorney’s office. Aww! Who’s a good law enforcement dog! Yes you are!

K9 Turks is a yellow labrador retriever who will serve as a courthouse “comfort dog” — helping to keep witnesses and crime victims calm.

“Crime is a traumatic event for victims,” Montco DA Risa Ferman said in a release. “As difficult as the incidents themselves can be, giving statements about what happened and navigating the criminal justice system forces a victim to re-live that trauma. A comfort dog can offer a soothing influence to make it easier for a victim to handle the stress of the court system.”

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Morning Headlines: Historic William Penn Inn Turns 300 Years Old

Photo credit: Google Street View

Photo credit: Google Street View

A slew of celebrations (including a $10,000 wedding reception giveaway) have marked this week’s special birthday: the William Penn Inn in Montgomery County celebrates its 300th anniversary.

According to its website, William Penn would often go to Gwynedd to see Quaker friends who lived in the area. In honor of those visits, a public house offering food and lodging was established at the site in 1714. In 1827, the property, then called the William Penn Hotel, was granted a tavern license. More from the Times Herald’s Eric Devlin:

“It’s a big deal,” [Peter R.] Friedrich said about the anniversary. “We are the oldest continuously operating inn in the country and Pennsylvania. I bought this place about 33 years ago in 1981 and I had all the intentions of becoming a successful restaurateur. What I did not realize was that in the process, I became the caretaker of a piece of Americana. There are not too many buildings around here that date back 300 years.”

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Spotted: Poker Area Inside Montco Home

4030 Township Line Rd, Collegeville, PA, 19426

4030 Township Line Rd, Collegeville, PA, 19426

Where to begin with this woodwork-dominated home? Although falling a few beams short of this splendiferous property in Brandywine, it makes a strong case for itself. Beams are pegged (as opposed to nailed), built-in shelves can be found in the library, and the front door was hand crafted by artist Hugo Mesa (just look at these beauties).

The best part, though? The lower level is slightly reminiscent of old Western saloons. Seriously, the decked out basement has a gym and office as well, but it’s the entertainment area, which looks to have a poker table at the moment, that caught our eye. The listing notes a stone fireplace is down there, too.

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Morning Headlines: Delinquent Properties Rake In Over $2.1 Million In Montco

Norristown view from Upper Merion. Photo credit:  Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr

Norristown view from Upper Merion.
Photo credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr

Property owners who had been delinquent for two years had their homes auctioned off in a Thursday sale, earning Montgomery County $2,121,021.20 (including transfer tax). The Main Line Times’ Dan Clark says the money will go to the school district each properties owes money to, while any leftover sums will be divided “between the municipality or borough of the property and county.”

Clark reports 1,294 properties were originally listed in the sale, but that 1,100 of those homes were taken off after property owners paid their taxes back. From those 1,100, $7.4 million was raised. However, not all properties found a bidder (particularly those from the Norristown and Pottstown areas), which means they will be included in a different sale:  Read more »

Where We’re Eating: Forno Antico

Suburban restaurants are often doomed by the difficulties they have to overcome: lack of foot traffic, low customer counts, competition with the big-box chains that spring up on every major corner. But the one thing they have going for them? Their neighbors. Because when a great restaurant comes to a place previously served only by the mediocre and the lame, it can become the center of a community the way no urban restaurant ever can. Forno Antico is one of those places — a sprawling BYO that opened in a terrible location behind a jewelry store a few months back, but that’s been working hard to win over every single customer who comes through the doors. The pizzas come out of a traditional Neapolitan oven brought over from Italy (the name means “antique oven”), the alfredo tastes nothing like what you’ll get at the Olive Garden (meaning it’s wonderful and rich and buttery and creamy in the way that only a scratch-made sauce is), and the meatballs are huge, perfectly textured and delicious, even when, like me, you just ask for two orders to go so you can eat one in the parking lot before driving home.

Forno Antico [Foobooz]

Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine

Morning Headlines: Montco Has Built More Apartments Than Single-Family Dwellings In Last Year

It seems Wynnewood and Conshohocken aren’t the only areas in Montgomery County aiming to reel in those looking for smaller housing. According to recent data by the Norristown Planning commission, Montgomery County housing units went up by 42 percent last year compared to 2012– the largest chunk of that increase being multifamily housing.’s Jessica Sparks reports the amount of single-family homes grew by 19 percent, while single-family attached homes (i.e. duplexes or row houses) rose by 12 percent. The biggest increase was seen in apartment and condo constructions, which tripled in 2013.

Sparks says the Planning Commission’s report, which displayed constructions mainly occurring in Towamencin, Upper Providence, and Montgomery Township among others, found the housing units “added $252 million in taxable property value to the county.”

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