Developer Seeks to Build the Anti-Cheesecake Factory in the Italian Market


Here is a look at the conceptual designs.

Community members (and reporters) packed a church hall in South Philly Tuesday evening to hear an information-only presentation for a project at the long-vacant lot at 9th and Washington. If realized, it could have a major impact on the future of the Italian Market.

Midwood Investment & Development owns the roughly 32,000-square-foot parcel, which includes the building that houses Anastasi’s Seafood (more on that later). They are seeking to build a 5-story mixed-use structure with 150 spots on two levels of underground parking, roughly 18,000-square-feet of retail and 70 market rate apartments above it.

In order to keep with the context and scale of the eastern edge of the site, Midwood is proposing to build eight new Trinity homes on Darien Street. Site plans suggest they would be between 590- and 600-square-feet and feature rear gardens.

While tensions usually run from medium-to-high at these meetings, Jared Klein, chair of the Passyunk Crossing Civic Association zoning committee, attempted to cut things off at a head prior to the start of the presentation, announcing to the crowd that “this project will include parking.”

The crowd laughed, and that pretty much set the tone for a meeting that seemed largely free of controversy.

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ZBA Doesn’t Bite Request for Proposed Apts. Across Pat’s King of Steaks

Canno Architecture + Design | Renderings courtesy of Paul Mirabello

Canno Architecture + Design | Renderings courtesy of Paul Mirabello

Despite making some compromises to make his proposed mixed-use apartment complex across from Pat’s King of Steaks as appetizing to neighbors as possible, developer Paul Mirabello was on the losing end of the Zoning Board’s decision on Wednesday: they unanimously voted in favor of denying a zoning variance that would have allowed the project to move forward, reports the Inquirer’s Maria Panaritis.

What will happen with the vacant lot now that Mirabello’s plan has been removed from the table? For the moment, residents who opposed the development are just reveling in their win:

“I’m super-excited,” said Robert Stewart, 35, among a handful of residents who pleaded during the two-hour meeting to allow only single-family homes on the large lot at Ninth and Wharton Streets. “I feel like my voice actually mattered.”

“It made me feel better to see there’s still some justice in the city of Philadelphia,” [Gil] Lettieri said. “The Zoning Board of Adjustment did that for me today.”

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Renderings: Plans For Lot Across From Pat’s King of Steaks

Canno Architecture + Design | Renderings courtesy of Paul Mirabello

Canno Architecture + Design | Renderings courtesy of Paul Mirabello

“We won’t proceed without neighborhood support,” said developer Paul Mirabello last time his plans for 827-29 Wharton Street made headlines. Indeed, even if we might have wished to take that back in light of Tuesday’s heated neighborhood meeting, Paul and his team are happy area residents care enough to be involved in the project. “We’re always willing to work with immediate neighbors on any other changes,” Brett Feldman, Mirabello’s attorney, tells us.

And changes there have been, among them the fact that earlier plans had called for twenty-one residential units, a number now down to eighteen. Three floors would be along Wharton, while the 9th Street side would have four floors, matching up in height with the commercial property next door. As for the ground level retail in Mirabello’s proposed mixed-use building, the 6,700-square-foot space would have entrances along 9th and allow for up to five tenants.

Click here to see the renderings!

South Philly Pad Going For $1.5 Million

231-33 Gerritt St, Philadelphia PA, 19147

1231-33 Gerritt St, Philadelphia PA, 19147

This house seems suited to large gatherings. Judging from the pictures (see gallery below), the 5,000-plus-square foot home enjoys an expanse, the likes of which the open floor plan takes full advantage.

Home particulars include hardwood floors, recessed lighting, and a sleek, SS-bedecked kitchen with granite counters and tiled backsplash. There are also three balconies (one of which is accessed via the master bedroom) and a private 2-car garage.

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Weekend Open House Pick: Passyunk Square

Photo via

Photo via

This former industrial building on Reed Street is not the only one of its kind — down the block there are at least two other buildings once used for industrial purposes, but the street has moved far from its workaday manufacturing roots. Need proof? It’s already cycled through the installation and destruction of a Shepard Fairy wheatpaste mural on its corner.

This building has been adapted into condos, and this “penthouse” unit is one of six. The neighborhood is one of row homes and one-way streets, and it can feel a little tightly drawn. But this apartment seems uncharacteristically spacious, perhaps due to its big windows, two levels and large deck. The listing copy recommends sitting on the deck with “a glass of wine or a favorite Keurig.” Further suggestions for Passyunk Square living: “Take the dog for a walk in a nearby dog park and chat with your neighbors about the local civic meeting and all the new developments.”

See for yourself, though, at this weekend’s open house. One thing’s for sure (or as sure as real estate gets): this zip code is good investment. Gallery below.

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Signs of Change: Passyunk Avenue Gets an Organic Food Market

passyunk avenue doctor

Google Street View capture from 2011 shows the doctor’s office when it sported his nameplate.

The soap and bath products company Volta Organics has opened a bricks-and-mortar location at 1439 Passyunk Avenue. Be Well Philly reports that the new store will sell groceries and “once she gets Health Department clearance, Volta hopes to open a take-out tea and tonic bar inside the store, where you can get tea blends to go and quick shots, like apple cider vinegar, which has detoxing properties.

It’s another sign of change in that area. The location used to be the office of family doctor Julius Mingroni, who was the subject of a 1986 feature by Michael Capuzzo in the Inquirer. Capuzzo wrote:

Mingroni is the doctor for the whole neighborhood in South Philadelphia where he grew up. He is the doctor for about 5,000 patients – aunts and cousins, friends and high school chums – and sometimes it seems that 5,000 hearts, 5,000 sets of hands are reaching out to him.

He visits the sick in four hospitals and nursing homes each morning. He keeps regular office hours for nine hours a day, working seven days a week, until 10 or 11 at night. He sees anyone who knocks after hours, and afterward he goes on house calls until 3, 4 and 5 in the morning. Mingroni lives by a simple motto. “I cannot say no.”

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Habitat: Artsy, International Vignettes in Passyunk Square

Photo by Conrad Benner

Photo by Conrad Benner

Name: Julia Koral
Neighborhood: Passyunk Square

Where are you from, and why did you choose to call Passyunk Square home?
“I’m originally from NEPA (Northeastern PA.) I moved here in 1999 for undergrad at UArts. Two years after I graduated I made my way to Brooklyn for grad school, and returned in 2008 for my current job at Urban Outfitters — I work in the home office designing store displays. I have always gravitated to South Philly. It’s comfortable. It’s home.”

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Passyunk Square Townhouse Goes in a Week!


It’s cute, it’s charming, and it’s in a neighborhood that’s just soaring with potential. The increasing growth of retail and young transplants suggests that the value of this 1,000+ square foot home will only appreciate, so why not? With three bedrooms, a basement for storage and laundry, and a bathroom and powder room, it’s the perfect neighborhood starter home. The backyard is a keeper as well, ideal for making s’mores and grilling burgers.

No surprise that despite the age of some of its fixtures and its less than exciting exterior, it has an offer in already. Keep that in mind, South Philly homebuyers.

Last asking price was $285,000.

Gallery below…

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What Is the Williamsburg of Philadelphia? Discuss.


Photo of Fishtown by Liz Spikol

Gawker writer Max Read knows how to get people talking. Here are the words he wrote yesterday that got the comments section to explode:

Williamsburg and Bushwick, two Brooklyn neighborhoods, have become, for various reasons both accurate and not, a global icon of “hipness.” But it’s obviously not the only “hip” neighborhood in the world. What’s your city’s Williamsburg? And what’s its Bushwick?

And then, because people were getting a little confused, he clarified:

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