Verdant Temple Pilot Project Nears Completion, Master Plan Revealed

Rendering: Perspective view of the proposed central New Green at Temple University's main campus | Credit: LRSLAstudio

Perspective view of “The New Green,” the planned central quad at Temple University | Credit: LRSLAstudio

Yes, Temple University has a massive redesign plan in store for its main campus. But in case you missed our sneak peek from earlier in the summer, we’ll have you know the Visualize Temple Master Plan (.PDF) comes with a decidedly green and equally significant companion piece: the Verdant Temple Landscape Master Plan (.PDF).

“The landscape of a campus is critical in creating first impressions and lasting memories,” TU President Neil D. Theobald said in a press release unveiling the long-anticipated program. Per the release, Verdant Temple will focus on five interrelated components:

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Here’s What it Looks Like When 200 Volunteers Rehab Eight Homes in One Day

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia - Saturday October 16th 2015

Scenes from the “Block Build” by Rebuilding Together Philadelphia and the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha on Friday, October 16th, 2015.

It’s a brisk Friday morning in October and the 2100 block of North Franklin Street is buzzing with activity. Nilda RuizPresident and CEO of the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), is one of several speakers who have gathered on Ms. Margaret West’s property to send off the 200-some volunteers waiting to get started on their respective house projects as part of the massive “Block Build” by the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (RTP). Thanks to the efforts of those in attendance, eight homes received much needed basic system repairs that very day.

“It is projects like this that allow us to keep our homeowners in the neighborhoods that they’ve taken a stake in for so long,” says Ruiz shortly after taking the makeshift stage that is otherwise the front patio of Ms. West, a resident of the block since the 1980s. The build took place on West’s 81st birthday, and the group kicked off the festivities by singing Happy Birthday to the lively homeowner.

Then, they got right to work.

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Sustainable North Philly Building Named “Project of the Year” by U.S. Green Building Council

Photo courtesy of Wallace Roberts and Todd

Photo credit: Wallace Roberts and Todd

It seems there’s always more that can be done when it comes to efforts intended to make a city more sustainable,  but it goes without saying Philadelphia has really been trying. One development in particular got its due credit earlier this week, we’re happy to report.

On Tuesday the U.S. Green Building Council announced the winners of its LEED for Homes Awards, which recognizes those trailblazing the way for innovation in residential green building. In addition to developers and homebuilders counting as recipients, multi- and single-family residential and affordable housing projects are also considered, according to a press release.

Among this year’s seven winners is the Paseo Verde apartment complex in North Philadelphia, which was crowned “Project of the Year.” The development, which first broke ground next to Temple University Station in February 2012, is a mixed-use, mixed-income building with LEED Platinum certification and consists of 120 rental units, landscaped terraces, green roofs and community service space. Paseo Verde also includes photovoltaic solar panels and energy efficient building envelope and water heating systems, among other sustainable features.

This is the project’s 8th award. Previously, it received the Willard G. Rouse Award for Excellence by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Urban Land Institute; an Honor Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; and the Regional Excellence Award for the Regional Land Use Project of the Year from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, among others.

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Summer Sagras At Bufad Pizza

Bufad Seats 20The first of Bufad’s Summer Sagras Series is this Sunday July 19th. The theme of sagras, which are Italian celebrations of harvests or specific regional foods, allows the chefs at Bufad to focus on what’s in season.

The special four course meal will highlight summer fruits and vegetables. The dinners, held in collaboration with the Norris Square Neighborhood Project, will run every third Sunday through September and feature changing menus. This week belongs to cherries and summer squash. 

Get the full four courses for $65/couple or order any item a la carte.

Check out the menu

Long-Awaited North Philly Health Center Has Ribbon Cutting Today

The Stephen Klein Wellness Center has been in the Project HOME pipeline for years, and today the 28,000-square-foot health center finally got its long-awaited ribbon cutting. According to NewsWorks’ Elana Gordon, the center is expected to bring long overdue services to a neighborhood where “more than one third of residents live below the poverty level” and where high rates of cancer, obesity and heart disease have rendered the area as having “the lowest life expectancy in the city.”

The $19.4 million project, which is a partnership between Project HOME…

Morning Headlines: City Council Proposes Bills on Housing Affordability and Rezoning

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

City Council was back in session yesterday, and Jared Brey at PlanPhilly has the details on bills introduced by Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla and Darrell Clarke.

Johnson’s bill is designed to extend the city’s Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) in order to provide access to owners who live in government-subsidized housing. As it stands now, LOOP only includes residents who have owned their homes for at least 10 years and whose income doesn’t exceed 150 percent of the Area Median Income.

LOOP prevents qualified residents’ tax bills from increasing by more than 300 percent (300 percent!) in a year. Residents who already benefit from a tax abatement are excluded from the program, meaning that under the current rules, homeowners in subsidized housing can’t qualify. Johnson explained the plan to amend LOOP to Brey:

“Right now, individuals who live in affordable housing—obviously, they don’t have a certain amount of income, their taxes may have tripled, and currently they don’t qualify for the tax relief under LOOP because they have had some type of abatement in the past. But also, they’re in some type of a catch 22, because they can’t sell their homes because of a deed restriction, so the legislation that we introduced today will allow them to have the opportunity to participate in LOOP.”

Squilla and Clarke introduced bills related to rezoning efforts, neither of which were entirely surprising. Squilla wants to rezone a tiny part of Society Hill to allow commercial mixed-use and Clarke’s bill rezones neighborhoods west of Temple in exactly the way the Planning Commission predicted months ago.

All of which might explain why Claudia Vargas called Council’s agenda “tepid” in yesterday’s Inquirer.

New bills focus on housing affordability, zoning remapping [PlanPhilly]
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Tale of the Tape: Cheesesteak at Jimmy G’s

Jimmy G's Steaks next to the Divine Lorraine.

Jimmy G’s Steaks next to the Divine Lorraine.

Jimmy G’s is a relative newcomer to Philadelphia’s cheesesteak scene, opening in 2013. The location sits below the Divine Lorraine where Broad Street intersects Ridge Avenue. Though the building that houses Jimmy G’s is a large corner property, the cheesesteaks are ordered at a window similar to Pat’s or Geno’s in South Philadelphia. And this Broad Street cheesesteak place also only offers outdoor seating in the lot next to the cheesesteak stand. Jimmy G’s offers roast pork, roast beef, chicken steaks and French fries in addition to cheesesteaks, but on a splendid summer afternoon, we were hankering for a cheesesteak.

Jimmy G’s offers the option of chopped versus slab steaks. We tried one of each.

Keep reading the Tail of the Tape »

North Philly Residents Chase Down Driver of Cadillac That Hit Bus

Residents of North Philadelphia chased down the driver of a Cadillac that had hit a CCT bus, causing it to overturn. The driver has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

According to witnesses, the driver ran a red light at Sixth and Cambria, slamming into the bus. Five were sent to area hospitals after the paratransit bus overturned.

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Morning Headlines: Strawberry Mansion Building Collapse Leaves One Injured

Philadelphia Building Collapse

Last summer’s building collapse at 22nd and Market.

An operational database of L&I complaints/incidents will be up and running by late 2015 — hopefully. Until then, building complaints and collapse incidents get public notice only in news accounts, like those about the building collapse in Strawberry Mansion on Monday.

The Daily News’ William Bender estimates it’s the fifth collapse in the past month. The building, which was cleaned and sealed by L & I in 2006, had been reported several times by local resident Mary Felder to no avail.

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