Morning Headlines: Saving a Frank Furness-Related Church Is a Labor of Love

It's getting there. | Photo: Google Street View

It’s getting there. | Photo: Google Street View

Although it’s still in need of millions of dollars in repairs in order to be returned to its former glory, the 19th Street Baptist Church at 19th and Titan streets in Point Breeze is slowly, but surely, being saved. Given the amount of church demolitions this city sees each year, can we all give the congregation of the church and Aaron Wunsch, a professor of historic preservation at Penn, a collective hallelujah?

Newsworks reports the city has cleared away one historic church each month over the past few years and Wunsch, along with Deacon Lloyd Butler and other church members, has done yeoman’s work to make sure this church, officially designed by George W. Hewitt in 1874 during a partnership in a firm with Frank Furness, wasn’t added to that dubious list:  Read more »

Morning Headlines: Apartments on the Way at Former South Philly School

Childs Elementary | Google Street View

Childs Elementary | Google Street View

It looks as though a shuttered school will come back to life as an apartment building. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the former George W. Childs Elementary School at 17th and Tasker Street in Point Breeze will be redeveloped into 73 apartments. The building has been closed since 2010 and Brey says that 10 of the 73 apartments “will be affordable to individuals making up to 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), pursuant to a Community Benefits Agreement signed by the developer, some community groups, and a nearby resident.”

As you can see in the comments of the article, there is some debate about whether that’s really affordable for lifelong residents of the neighborhood or not.

Metal Ventures Inc purchased the property for $1.2 million and plans to include a 48 parking spaces for cars, 11 spots for bikes, green roofs, roof decks and has even agreed to open the 7,000 square-foot auditorium to community two nights per week, free of charge.

Apartments coming to shuttered school building in Point Breeze [PlanPhilly] Read more »

Restaurant Week Alternative: American Sardine Bar

american sardine bar gourmet pittsburgh cheesesteakScott Schroeder is upgrading his Best of Philly winning Pittsburgh Cheesesteak between now and January 30th, during dinner hours (5 pm. to 10 p.m.), as an alternative to Center City’s restaurant week.

The $35 Pittsburgh Cheesesteak at American Sardine Bar is a 60-day dry-aged Creekstone NY Strip, grilled royal trumpet mushrooms, truffled triple cream Brie and foie gras gravy fries served on a seeded roll. The over-the-top-steak is accompanied with a pickle salad.

Read more »

Could a Beer Hall Happen at 22nd and Washington?

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Rendering via Naked Philly

Naked Philly reports that MSC Retail has a warehouse at 22nd and Washington Avenue on the market and has even gone to the effort of producing renderings of the 24,000 square foot building as a beer hall. We know the property has been floated as a beer garden since the spring. It will be interesting to see if anyone takes the bait.

Washington Avenue has some serious development potential and with Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, Cafe Ynez, NextFab Studios and a crossfit studio nearby, the stretch has some success stories as well.

MSC Retail’s Jacob Cooper reached out to us regarding the company’s thoughts on the property.

Read more »

Where We’re Eating: Cafe Ynez

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A Mexican restaurant in your neighborhood is a way of knowing you’ve arrived. An attractive BYOB serving breakfast nachos and carne asada salads and offering dinner specials like poached tilapia is a subtle clue that house prices are rocketing skyward and you’re happy you bought when you did. That’s what Cafe Ynez does for both the Grad Hospital and Point Breeze neighborhoods. The husband-and-wife team of Evan Malone and Jill Weber (Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516) have created this third restaurant as a companion to Malone’s NextFab Studio. But it’s the neighbors who make out best in the deal. Whether it’s the huevos rancheros that don’t need to take a backseat to any in the city, or the rotisserie chicken that can anchor a dinner platter or be a key ingredient in the Tinga burrito, a meal at Cafe Ynez is affordable, tasty, and just what this neighborhood needs.

Details » 

American Sardine Bar Turns Three

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American Sardine Bar is hosting its three-year-anniversary party tomorrow, November 26th.

The party’s going to have a special sardine menu, a long beer list, specials and contests beginning at noon.

The draft list will include Bruey Tart of Darkness, Russian River Supplication, Firestone Walker Agrestic and a ton of others. There will also be specials on cans if that floats your boat.

So if you want to spend your snow day with a bunch of food and booze, Point Breeze might be your answer.

American Sardine Bar [Foobooz]

Morning Headlines: Local Group Opposes Selling Shuttered School in Point Breeze to Developer

Photo credit: Google Street View

Photo credit: Google Street View

A sudden change in sale plans for the shuttered Walter G. Smith Elementary School at 19th and Wharton has residents miffed: the building is pending sale with a D.C.-based developer set to acquire it.

According to the Philadelphia Tribune’s Wilford Shamlin III, the Point Breeze Community Development Coalition was originally in talks with Independence Charter in order to keep the building as an educational institution. However, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission has opted to go in a different direction by selling the property to the Concordia Group, a real estate developer who residents think will do little to help the neighborhood:

Read more »

Gentrification in Philadelphia

daily news special section

The DN’s special section appears in today’s print edition as well as online.

For those who think daily newspapers lack a purpose in a digitized world that threatens to make traditional media outlets obsolete, today’s coverage of gentrification in a Daily News special section is a firm rejoinder. The seven articles that comprise “The Problems and the Promise: Gentrification in Philadelphia” is a pull-out section of the print edition and a microsite at philly.com. It illuminates the issues around the word that’s probably the most contested and least understood of any used to refer to real estate and development battles in the city.

The project isn’t perfect. There are missteps — like the boldfaced use of the term “Templetown.” But there are important myths that get debunked, and crucial facts that must be called to every Philadelphian’s attention before they expound on gentrification. Because, oh boy, do people expound. I hear far too much strident talk about “gentrification” from people ill-equipped to understand it. This series should help.

Read more »

House of the Week: Stunningly Creative 7BR

This property in Point Breeze aka Newbold is actually two: 1410 and 1412 Tasker, just off Broad Street. The entry is through 1410, leading to an open floor plan of 1410 and 1412. Let’s take this floor by floor. I’m relying heavily on the listings copy here to reduce any confusion.

On the first floor, there’s a brand new double height kitchen with stainless steel appliances, six-burner Thermador stove, granite countertops, and a double porcelain sink. The downstairs bathroom is sweet: claw foot bathtub and glass tile walls inside, with glass doors that lead to an outside private garden with a hot tub. The living room has wood burning fireplace, and, as in the kitchen and bathroom, painted concrete floors with radiant heat.

The second floor is where 1410 and 1412 kind of split. So in 1410 there’s a reading nook with a catwalk (!), a den with painted pine floors and then access to a decked area that links 1410 to 1412, which has another bedroom with pine floors but also with a Bay window. And this side of the second floor — 1412 — also has a renovated bathroom with a hex tile floor with radiant heat.

Read more »

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