Kramer + Marks Architects | Courtesy of Ceisler Media
About ten minutes from the blighted Orinoka textile factory building, another eyesore takes up promising real estate. Fortunately, like Orinoka, the vacant lot at 2201 E. Auburn Street in Port Richmond awaits a Friday groundbreaking on a project that will, upon completion, bring 36 affordable townhomes to the area. Completion is anticipated for fall 2016.
The residential development is to be called Grace Town Homes, according to a press release, and was conceived from a partnership between the Women’s Community Revitalization Project and the Firm Hope Baptist Church. It was designed by Kramer + Marks Architects.
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A corridor at Graffiti Pier. | Photo by Liz Spikol
Since Conrail moved its coal-carrying operations to Baltimore in the early ’90s, Pier 124 has been a hulking, abandoned ruin at the edge of Port Richmond. Yet graffiti artists from all over the region have given the concrete walls and passageways a second life, making it a vertiable museum of street art, sort of an unsanctioned version of Miami’s Wynnewood Walls. The post-industrial site has become so popular, it attracts sightseers as well as artists.
Perhaps the three people who were at the Pier yesterday were looking at the art; perhaps they were making it. Their names have not been released. But here’s what we do know: Read more »
Stephanie Dzikowski | Facebook
22-year-old mother Stephanie Dzikowski was killed overnight in Port Richmond, police say. Her 2-year-old daughter was home but uninjured.
“Neighbors here in the 3000 block of Aramingo Avenue say they heard a single shot around 11 p.m., and found 22-year-old Stephanie Dzikowski shot dead in her upstairs bedroom,” KYW reports. “Her 2 year-old daughter was in the house but uninjured.” Read more »
Along Frankford Avenue, lined up like antennaed Chiclets, are the white news vans from all over. Some of the names and logos are recognizable — CNN, for instance, and MSNBC. Others are less familiar, like 15up Media LLC from Raleigh, NC. Video cameras, tripods, light deflectors, umbrellas are all set up outside The Clown House Restaurant and Tipsy Bar and Grill across the street. This is where Mayor Michael Nutter and other officials come to give press conferences.
There are reporters everywhere, even on the roof of the Philly Auto Tag building. An enormous NBC News van sits in front of JJW Tires Shop, whose mascot chihuahua/poodle mix, roughly the size of a grown man’s outstretched hand, barks at all comers. CBS News This Morning set up early on a resident’s porch, where Norah O’Donnell read from a teleprompter. Spanish-language TV and radio stations interview Latino residents, while on-air talent sweats through pancake makeup.
Area residents sit on stoops and get approached by reporter after reporter or open their doors to enormous cameras. Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was on one of the derailed cars, spends the morning within the media staging area to answer questions. Current Senator Pat Toomey goes to the home commandeered by CBS News for an interview. A box of Philadelphia soft pretzels sits in front of where the news teams gather for each press conference, like an offering to the gods. “Treat us kindly, please.”
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“The location is superb” says Tom Gallagher, the owner of this property in Port Richmond. “It’s easy to get to I-95,” he says, and a closer look at the neighborhood shows bikers and public transit commuters would be just as happy as drivers: WalkScore gives an above average 66 score on its overall bike lane-friendliness, while two bus routes are within a two block radius. Several restaurants and bars are also in the neighborhood.
According to Gallagher, he’s had the property since 2006, during which time he did some repair work and updated it. He went so far as to add a loft space with a kitchenette and full bathroom, an addition that proved useful for days when he’d stay overnight working on boat sculls (Gallagher started Sykes Racing North America, the U.S. branch of the Australian boat racing manufacturer.)
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Trenton Avenue, which begins in the triangle where Fishtown, East Kensington and Port Richmond overlap, is a broad thoroughfare that once was a bustling industrial corridor. Now, save for one day a year, it’s mostly a quiet residential street.
Chad Luderman, CEO of Postgreen Homes, believes this transformation was a mistake. Not that he wants to bring back industry, but rather, it’s that a street this wide makes for a natural commercial corridor. (It certainly makes a great setting for an arts festival and kinetic sculpture race.)
It may be too late to add commerce to the rest of the street, but Luderman’s going to at least try to salvage a little stretch of it.
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Five children were found in a locked car in a Port Richmond supermarket parking lot today. The three toddlers and two infants were spotted in an SUV at the ShopRite at Aramingo Ave. and Butler St.
The fire department, police and medics were able to free the kids from the car.
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A man on Sunday assaulted a nun in Port Richmond, before driving away in a car.
The nun, 65, was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car — which was left running while the friend was in a Shop Rite. A man jumped in the door and a struggled for the keys ensued, upon which the man began repeatedly punching the nun in the face. To make this even worse, she was wearing her habit at the time.
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Now that South Kensington bids fair to become an annex of Northern Liberties and Fishtown has been hipstered beyond recognition, where’s a young gentrifier with more taste than money going to go now?
How about the next neighborhood upriver from Fishtown?
One of the first new construction projects in years in Port Richmond stalled when the housing market bubble burst in 2008, and it’s now being revived in a new and improved form, bringing well-laid-out, extra-wide townhomes to an attractive but modest block close to Allegheny Square Park and the Richmond branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
The six-unit development at 2989-99 Livingston St., which will complete the planned 12-unit project, is the first for McSpain Properties, a development firm formed by two veterans, Dana Spain and Sean McGovern. McGovern has been active in developing housing around the Temple University campus, while Spain has rehabbed commercial properties and designed private residences for individual clients. “McSpain Properties allows Sean and I to meld his skills of budgeting and onsite construction management with my design and finishing talents,” Spain said.
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