New Narberth Avenue Bridge to Feature Site-Specific Art Installations

The artistic element will be installed in the long yellow strip | Design: VSBA/Narberth Borough

The artistic element will be installed in the long yellow strip | Design: VSBA/Narberth Borough

Narberth Borough has put out a request for qualification (RFQ) for “an artist to create a site-specific, integrated artistic enhancement in conjunction with the construction of the new Narberth Avenue bridge,” according to its website.

The bridge has reached the end of its useful life and to show how important the look of this span is to the borough, they’ve brought in Venturi Scott Brown (VSBA) to assist Pennoni Engineers in its design. “We envisioned the bridge both as a connector between the downtown and residential neighborhood and as a gateway between them — as well as an opportunity to enhance the borough’s identity,” according to the project description on VSBA’s website.

On top of that, Narberth wants this project to stand out and harken back to a time when infrastructure projects were a big deal:

“The hope is that the project can draw inspiration from the time when infrastructure was a matter of civic pride and when ornamentation was considered an integral part of building projects, to commemorate or communicate important civic concepts or narratives.”

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Narberth’s Oldest (and Long-Vacant) Church Could See a Mixed-Use Revival

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

Sitting right across from Narberth Train Station and just minutes from the borough’s downtown on foot, the former Baptist Church of the Evangel awaits a potential mixed-use revival that would include 4,500 square feet of office space and four two-bedroom apartments.

According to the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison, Bala Cynwyd-based Speciality Audit Services is eyeing up the landmark structure (its original section was built circa 1891) for its offices, with plans to keep the existing basketball court as “recreational space for the office employees,” while converting other sections of the stone building into residential units.

During its time as a church, the building claimed two rows of twelve pews able to hold 200 people, stained glass windows, slate flooring, carved wooden doors, and a cathedral wood ceiling, according to the property’s LoopNet listing. Additionally, the structure contained a Sunday School wing with classrooms on two floors, two pastor’s offices, and a social room.

Per Allison, SAS principal Jason Gordon says there are plans to renovate the interior, which has deteriorated over time, and leave the exterior as is. However, the stained glass, a detail noted as “likely of little value,” would be replaced. During last week’s informational presentation before Narberth’s planning commission and local residents, architect Dave  Brawer said the apartments would range “from just under 900 to 1,500 square feet.”

Still, the question of parking looms large…

Head Scratcher Rankings: Forget Beverly Hills, Narberth Is the Place to Live

Downtown Narberth | Photo: Dan Groff/Facebook

Downtown Narberth | Photo: Don Groff

Ahhh, Narberth, we often find ourselves longing to bask in your wonderland of sunshine, streets lined with palm trees, (good) Eddie Murphy cop movies and Hillbillies shows, iconic shopping and bevy of stars living in mega-exclusive compounds. Wait, that’s Beverly Hills. Sorry, we often get the two mixed up. How is that possible, you ask? Well, Niche, a website that says its goal is to transform “the way people make big life decisions,” has ranked the Montgomery County locale as the tenth best suburb in the nation, ahead of places like Beverly Hills (12), Manhattan Beach, California (11) and even Lower Merion Township (25).  Are we proud of this? Yes, and Narberth Online’s Facebook page summed it up for pretty much everyone in the region with a simple, “In your face, Beverly Hills!” Read more »

Headlines: PennDesign Named Among Top Schools in the World for Architecture

The School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, was recently named as one of the top universities in the world for “architecture & built environment” in the World University Ranking for 2015 report released by QS. Arch Daily has the easy-to-read list right here. PennDesign was ultimately ranked at 35, with MIT ranked in the top spot.

Penn wasn’t the lone university from the region on the list. Princeton came in at 38 and Penn State’s Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture ranked in the 51-100 area. According to QS, the “rankings highlight the world’s top universities in 36 individual subjects, based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.”

For what it’s worth, Architectural Record ranked the top schools in the nation and broke it out by undergraduate and graduate programs, which is helpful and something QS doesn’t do. You can find those lists here.

More Headlines:

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Before & After: The Main Line Conversion You Have to See

Photo credit: Betsy Barron Fine Art Photography LLC

Photo credit: Betsy Barron Fine Art Photography LLC

Around this time last year we informed you of a special project taking shape in Narberth. If it’s not ringing bell, here’s the jist of it: Main Line reBUILD developers had the idea of turning the former United Methodist Church of Narberth and its parsonage into condos. A new townhouse construction was also in their plans.

The name of this proposed residential site? Narberth Place, which now lays claim to a pristine building called the Barrie House (i.e., the former parsonage) at its site. It’s the before and after photos of the one the Barrie House units that we have here now, and goodness gracious are they worth a look: by golly are they worth a look:

The Curious Case of Public Space in Narberth Borough

The site in question. Image via Google Street View

The site in question. Image via Google Street View

Narberth Mayor Tom Grady will hold a public town hall meeting next week to discuss the “vision for Narberth’s downtown and public areas,” Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports. Sounds great, right? Well, not if you’re Kenneth Corl, the owner of the property in which Narberth Borough is looking to either purchase or possibly take through eminent domain in order to create the new public amenity.

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Morning Headlines: Move to Narberth If You’re Tired of Rising Property Taxes

Photo credit: Julia Rowe via Flickr.

Photo credit: Julia Rowe via Flickr.

Next time you hear someone complaining about a property tax hike, point them to Narberth. The Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports the Montgomery County Borough has—for the fifth year in a row—kept its no-tax increase rate.

A 6-0 vote by Borough Council in late December ended in favor of keeping the 8.777 mills real estate tax rate, which Allison says it’s had since 2011.

For a moment there, though, it didn’t seem like it would happen. In November, borough manager Bill Martin estimated that a “tax rate increase of .399 mills, to 9.194 mills” might be needed.

According to Allison, avoiding the rate hike was made possible thanks to an interest rate on a short-term loan that was going to cover removal costs of the former Rockland Avenue Bridge in 2013, as well as the proceeds from the project. Another factor keeping the rate in line was a “per-ton cost for solid waste disposal.” This cost is set to keep waste fees at bay this year.

No property tax increase in Narberth Borough for fifth year [Main Line Times]

In other news…

Morning Headlines: Church to Condo Conversion in Narberth

Side view screenshot via Google Street View.

Side view screenshot via Google Street View.

The proposed adaptive reuse of St. Margaret’s Church, also known as the Gleason Center, made headway this past Wednesday after the Narberth Planning Commission voted to recommend approval for the project.

Developer Ted Moser plans to convert the church to a condo with four two-bedroom units and underground garage with eight parking spaces, while making minimal changes to the building’s exterior. However, certain conditions must be met before the conversion can go through, according to the Main Line Times:

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From the Dept. of If This, Then That: Behold Michael Yelson’s Narberth Home


Before reading any further, a Rorshach test is in order. Examine this image. Were you disgusted? Perhaps you might find something else of interest on Property. Did you shrug your shoulders? Were you entranced by the weirdly dated kitsch of it? Then this is the property for you.

People have many opinions on Yelson Group. There is the weird stripper silhouette thing. There was the time the owner had that beef with Marc Vetri about a mural. The tipster who told Curbed about the stripper silhouette claimed – in a Citysearch review of all places! – that Yelson himself snarked on the woman’s appearance. Her alleged riposte? To tell the man he looked like “Rod Stewart threw up on him,” which she says he took as a compliment. Which brings us to his Narberth home, on the market since this summer.

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