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

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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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Transformation: United Methodist Church of Narberth Goes Condo [PHOTOS]

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The massive condo conversion project at the site of the former United Methodist Church of Narberth has a new name and so do its developers. The project is now known as Narberth Place, an umbrella moniker for Elm Hall (the renamed church itself), Barrie House (the old parsonage) and Vauclain Manor (a new townhouse). The project will eventually include 12 units with three in Vauclain, three in Barrie and six in the old church, according to Main Line reBUILD (formerly Main Line Realty Partners).

Developers plan to retain the original architectural details of the parsonage and the church while adapting the interior with modern finishes. In order to preserve the original details, a facade easement was granted for both the church and the parsonage. The new construction building, Vauclain, will use similar materials to those being used in the Barrie conversion. Both Barrie and Vauclain are set to be completed late this summer, at which point construction will begin on Elm Hall. Framing began on the third floor of Barrie just last week.

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Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Carmine’s Creole Cafe, Act II

Shrimp and crawfish etouffee at Carmine's Creole Cafe Act II

With scaled-down ambitions and pumped up flavors, John Mims comes back to Narberth. But is this homecoming what he really wants?

The best place to be is the four=seat kitchen bar, where you can watch [Mims] lob giant knuckles of butter into fry pans already thick with seafood and his tomato-bombed Creole stock, or smother andouille sausage and duck meat with glistening lumps of braised pork shoulder–and top that with bacon gravy.

Two-and-a-half Stars — Very Good

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Carmine’s Creole Café Act II Turns It Up to 11 [Philadelphia magazine]

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