It’s Hip to be Square on Avenue 30

The Avenue 30 development. | Rendering: KJO Architecture via The Riverwards Group and The Somers Team

The Avenue 30 development. | Renderings: KJO Architecture via The Riverwards Group and The Somers Team

There have been all sorts of attempts to solve the central problem of the Philadelphia row house, namely, the need to fit it into a long lot with narrow street frontage.

Over the years, these attempts have produced such distinctive features as incredibly small middle bedrooms and squarish houses with nonexistent back yards.

Fishtown-based developers The Riverwards Group faced just such a problem when they got their hands on a 300-foot-long, 110-foot-deep on Amber Street in East Kensington. The aim was to produce a large townhouse development with luxurious yet reasonably priced homes.

Their solution: Go wide, which is what they did with the new Avenue 30 development. Read more »

Tax Abatement Huge Shot in Arm for City, Study Finds

The 10-year tax abatement program has led to an explosion of new housing in the city, much of it at the lower end of the market, a BIA study finds. And when the abatements expire, the city's balance sheet will be better off for it.

The 10-year tax abatement program has led to an explosion of new housing in the city, much of it at the lower end of the market, a BIA study finds. And when the abatements expire, the city’s balance sheet will be better off for it.

Consider the 10-year property tax abatements on new construction and rehabilitation a down payment on a future gusher in revenue for the city thanks to the huge jump in construction activity it has triggered, argues a study released in late March by the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.

The abatement, which freezes property taxes on improvements to commercial and residential property in the city for 10 years from completion, has completely reversed the trendlines for new construction activity in the city compared to its suburbs, states the BIA report, “Philadelphia’s 10-Year Property Tax Abatement” (PDF). Since its implementation in 2000, new home building in the city has increased by 376 percent, while in the suburbs, it has fallen 11.25 percent on average across the four collar counties.

That means a future flood of revenues into city coffers. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: 1423 N. Myrtlewood Street

The three-story house under construction on the right is the shape of things to come on North Myrtlewood Street. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The three-story house under construction on the right is the shape of things to come on North Myrtlewood Street. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Most of the news you read on real estate and development sites like this one focuses on multi-unit projects that often take up the entire side of a block, or even a whole block.

That’s one way to effect the transformation of a community. But there’s another: One house here, another there, then another over there. Before you know it, builders working in this fashion can reshape an entire neighborhood, especially when their own projects encourage others to invest in the neighborhood as well by either building new or fixing up the homes they already own.

And so it was that we paid a visit to a single solitary brand-new house under construction on the 1400 block of North Myrtlewood Street in Brewerytown. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: New Digs in Old City for $2.3M

240 Arch St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

240 Arch St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Do you dream of upscale living in Philadelphia?

If so, feast your eyes on this townhome located at 240 Arch St., one of three properties making up The Ross Luxury Townhomes.

The amenities of this home are equally outrageous and amazing. It comes with a 2-car garage, your own 6-story elevator, a wine cellar, a floating staircase, and more. We couldn’t make this up even if we tried.

The refined kitchen boasts Gaggenau appliances, under cabinet lighting, and waterfall quartz countertops. Even the bathrooms are spectacular, thanks to their heated floors, floating toilets, and stunning tile work. Read more »

Is The Center City Housing Boom Sustainable?

Center City's housing market is on a tear, with new units being built at a record pace. A new Center City District report looks at its building blocks. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

Center City’s housing market is on a tear, with new units being built at a record pace. A new Center City District report looks at its building blocks. | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

Center City may have just regained momentum as a job generator, thanks largely to adjacent University City, but its housing market has taken off like a rocket, and the Center City District’s new report on housing, “Building on Optimism,” explains what’s produced this meteoric rise in great detail.

As for whether the core-city housing market can continue to build on that optimism…well, the devil’s in the details, and that rosy report points out where the thorns are.

But first, let’s smell the roses. Greater Center City — the area from Girard Avenue on the north to Tasker Street on the south between the rivers — has become one enormous construction site, with a record 2,506 housing units produced in 2016, the most since the district started keeping track of residential construction in 2000. Even more units are in the pipeline: 5,379 units are slated to be completed in the next two years, with the bulk coming on line this year. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: An All-New Trinity in Graduate Hospital for $595K

810 S. 21st St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via Zillow

810 S. 21st St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via Zillow

Thought the trinity was a house type of the past?

We sure did, until this 21st-century trinity on steroids came to our attention.

Check it out: this home on a corner lot in Graduate Hospital actually meets the ground rules for the classic Philly trinity: one room per floor (bathrooms excluded), stacked one on top of the other.

But it’s definitely a modern home, with the usual modern bells and whistles. In fact, it probably qualifies as what might seem like an oxymoron outside Society Hill: a luxury trinity. Read more »

Parke Place Progress Report

What Parke Place will have to offer. Image via Parke Place Townhomes website.

What Parke Place will have to offer. Image via Parke Place Townhomes website.

We were strolling up the Avenue of the Arts last week and decided to check in on the Parke Place townhouse development in the 1300 blocks of Kater and Bainbridge streets.

We noticed that the development had one piece missing – namely, the easternmost home on the Bainbridge Street side of the project.

It turns out that the foundation with no home on it is the first piece of the next phase of the project, according to listing agent Jim Onesti of the Mike McCann team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors.

As of now, eight of the 22 townhomes in the development are built out, with minor exterior work such as balconies remaining to be completed along with fitting out of the interiors.

Read more »

Ori Feibush Doesn’t Like It When You Call Him a “Shady, Crass, Money Driven Developer”

Ori Feibush builds building. Point Breeze resident gets upset. Ori Feibush launches counterattack. If you’ve followed Ori’s career at all, none of this should be surprising. But this latest episode has brought the legal guns out, and has become a little more intense than usual. Or as Liz Spikol puts it over at Property: Spicy.

Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush is at odds with fellow resident Haley Dervinis over Feibush’s plan to build four homes on 20th Street, where Dervinis’ home is. He says she’s made defamatory comments about him on public forums. [E.g. “Shady, “Crass,” “Cut throat.”] She says she’s just exercising free speech.

So his lawyer’s threatening to sue her if she makes just one more during a public hearing taking place this very moment. For more on exactly what’s going there, follow the Daily News‘s Jan Ransom who’s live-tweeting the ZBA meeting where the fate of the project will be decided.

Final point of irony: One of the biggest complaints Point Breezers make about Ori is that he’s a Center City carpetbagger trying to push them out of their neighborhoods. The project many are opposing today? (Including powerful neighborhood association South Philly H.O.M.E.S., which used to support it?) That’s where Ori’s trying to build a home for himself. [Property]

Two Seriously Injured After Center City Construction Accident

Yesterday, a 52-year-old construction worker who fell 30 feet from the steel frame of a building he was working on at 19th and Arch was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital, where’s he’s in critical condition. Meanwhile, at the same site, a fireman suffered a seizure that resulted in head injuries. He’s also at Hahnemann, in stable condition. It’s unclear whether the two incidents are connected. It’s also not clear if there’s anything more to this incident than a couple of freak accidents. But after the Market Street collapse a couple of weeks ago, an extra level of scrutiny will no doubt be paid to the construction site. [Daily News]

Bart Blatstein Opts for “Invisible Man” Over Brand Name

Somewhere between turning South Columbus Boulevard into an extension of South Jersey and turning Northern Liberties into a newer Old City, developer Bart Blatstein figured out that he wasn’t the brand name.

In doing so, he has managed to pull off a trick few high-profile megadevelopers have successfully managed to do: Raise his personal profile without sabotaging his own business.

Most large successful developers are faceless. Can you name any of the members of the Brandywine Realty Trust? (They might include you, if you own shares either directly or through a mutual fund.) The few whose names have become household words eventually succumb to their own publicity machines and, like Donald Trump, become caricatures of themselves. Read more »

« Older Posts