Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy Are Bringing The Love to Rittenhouse This Fall

Aimee Olexy (left), Stephen Starr (right)

When Stephen Starr began building his empire, he did so with concept restaurants: martini bars, Asian-fusion buddha shrines, soul food diners, and conveyor belt sushi restaurants. (That was then — decades ago. Now, he’s a James Beard award-winning restaurateur, teaming up with some of the most talented culinary stars in the world, opening chef-driven restaurants across the globe.)

But Aimee Olexy, his business partner and the owner behind two Washington Square stalwarts, Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Daily, hates the term “concept” — always has. That’s why, when Philly Mag asked her to tell us all about the new restaurant she’s opening in Rittenhouse Square (in the old Serafina space at 130 South 18th Street), she barely gave us a straight answer.

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These Are the 10 Most Affordable Homes in Rittenhouse Square

This stylish trinity with a marble-floored living room is the only one of the ten most affordable homes in Rittenhouse that’s not a condominium. | TREND image via BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the folks at NeighborhoodXqu found no residential properties selling for under $200,000 in Rittenhouse Square.

But they did find ten properties all under $350,000, which might surprise some people familiar with what has historically been Center City’s toniest residential district.

However, when you factor in the types of properties on this list and the amount of space they contain, they don’t seem like such great bargains after all. Read more »

Trinity Tuesday: A Rittenhouse Charmer for $1650/Month

2016 Addison St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146 | TREND images via OFC Realty

We don’t know about you, but we love summer. The sun, the flowers, the barbecues — what’s not to like?  Sadly, Philadelphia isn’t Florida. We can pretty much guarantee a nasty snow storm or two in a few months’ time. But, luckily, this pad is up for rent — and it’ll supply you with a dose of summer year round!

A few of this home’s features might have you thinking it’s June in January. What caught our eye was the amazing mural painted on the staircase from the second to the third floor. The butterflies, blue sky and picket fence wrap up the steps and bring a nice burst of color into the home. Coupled with the brick fireplaces, you can stay warm and cozy during the cold months. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Work Meets Home in Rittenhouse for $2.975M

19xx Spruce St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

This gorgeous home takes the age old adage “work hard, play hard” very seriously. The estate is essentially split into two separate spaces. One is outfitted for a fully functioning office and top-notch work environment. The other is a luxurious pad with all the amenities. This space is perfect for someone searching for an office close to home (it’s very close), an entrepreneur or business owner.

And it’s now available for less than the $3.2 million asking price when it was last on the market a little over a year ago.

Let’s start by breaking down the work space. Read more »

The Inquirer and Daily News Don’t Know How to Talk About Racism

iStockphoto | ymgerman

As a black man in Philadelphia, telling me that racists exist in the city is like reminding me that oxygen is in the atmosphere. I don’t need disturbing graphic images to trigger me — I observe it when noticing a white woman clutch her purse as I walk by her in Rittenhouse Square, complying with an embarrassing stop-and-frisk near a SEPTA station, or being asked by security guards for a receipt upon leaving Liberty Place plaza downtown. Read more »

1911 Walnut to Be Mixed-Use, Mixed-Income Project

The Sansom Street elevation of the revised Southern Land tower proposed for 1911 Walnut. The Warwick Apartments, part of the revised development, are at the extreme left. | Renderings: Southern Land Company

Southern Land Company appeared before the City Planning Commission today with a revised version of its proposed apartment tower on the last piece of open land right on Rittenhouse Square.

Preservationists will be pleased with one of the two biggest revisions the company made to its proposal, and for those who’ve longed to live on Rittenhouse Square but simply don’t have the scratch, the second is a dream come true.

Plan Philly reports that at today’s Planning Commission meeting, the company presented a proposal that preserves both the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop and the Warwick Apartments, both of which had been slated to fall to the wrecking ball in earlier versions of the project. Both of those buildings will be rehabbed to provide affordable housing units, and the tower itself will contain at least eight more below-market-rate apartments. Read more »

Philly Ranked Fifth Most Walkable City in U.S. This Year

All of Center City’s neighborhoods, from the Avenue of the Arts on down, are “Walker’s Paradises,” contributing to the city’s continued ranking among the five most walkable cities in the U.S. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

A mere two-tenths of a point dropped Philadelphia from its perch as the nation’s fourth-most-walkable city in this year’s Walk Score rankings of American cities.

Miami traded places with Philadelphia to become the No. 4 most walkable city in the U.S. on this year’s list. But no one should lament this development, for what it means is merely that cities all across America continue to up their walkability game.

A news release from Walk Score parent Redfin noted that once again, all of the 10 most walkable cities had higher Walk Scores than they did last year, and of the top 50, only Omaha saw its Walk Score fall (by a mere 0.3 point). Philadelphia’s Walk Score of 79 was 0.7 points above its showing last year, but Miami posted an even stronger gain of one full point to 79.2, putting it in fourth place and Philly in fifth. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Reborn Classic in Rittenhouse for $3.69M

2012 Spruce St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | Photos: Drew Callaghan Photography via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

Wonder what opulence looked like in the mid-19th century?

Wonder no more, for the architect who restored this gorgeous 1860 brownstone on Spruce Street in Rittenhouse was (almost) totally faithful to the style of the era.

This home was lovingly restored a few years back, with all of the lavish original detailing brought back to a high polish and some 21st-century touches thrown in. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Modern Luxury on Rittenhouse Square for $2.795M

130 S. 18th St., Unit 2702, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103 | TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Once upon a time I died and went to heaven … real estate heaven, that is.

Regardless, I imagine the two to be fairly similar—fun, fluffy and absolutely fabulous. And, while I’m still alive and well, I promise you my heart skipped a beat (or two!) when an uber-chic and indescribably elegant apartment in Rittenhouse Square caught my eye.

Situated in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love, the 2,209-square-foot unit responsible for my momentary loss of consciousness is a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom condominium apartment in the Robert A.M. Stern-designed 10 Rittenhouse Square tower overlooking Center City. Sounds great, but there’s more. Once past the foyer, you enter a living space accented by floor-to-ceiling windows, making the view worth the big bucks—2,795,000 big bucks to be exact. Read more »

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