Amazing Transformations: Adaptive Reuse of Northwest Philly Church

 All photos by Laura Kicey

All photos by Laura Kicey

Property photographer Laura Kicey has been chronicling the evolution of the former Fourth Reformed Church since 2012. First came the photo essay of church ruins for Hidden City. Think of this as the “before” shots as the church lay mouldering at the corner of Manayunk and Monastery in Roxborough. Today we get the glorious “afters” in two galleries displaying what developer Andy Thomas has done with the space since acquiring it in March, 2011.

For a taste of what Thomas was dealing with, behold a peek at what the site looked like in 2012, holes in the roof, horrifying bathroom and all.




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Dalessandro’s Versus Chubby’s

rivalries-chubbys-dalesandros

As we promised, 2014 is the Year of the Cheesesteak. And as part of the continuing coverage of the cheesesteak, we will be profiling cheesesteak rivalries around town. 

When GQ’s Alan Richman came to town to rank his ten favorite cheesesteaks, one of the biggest complaints was the omission of Dalessandro’s Steaks in Roxborough. According to Ray Didinger, who went along with Richman on his cheesesteak hunt, Richman had eliminated the Roxborough stalwart from his list based upon a previous cheesesteak visit to Philadelphia.

Sunday, I set out with a couple of friends, including comedian Chip Chantry, to try both Dalessandro’s and Chubby’s across the street. Check out the results of our first Rivalry Tale of the Tape.

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Morning Headlines: Eataly Comes to Philly; 38Chestnut Breaks Ground, Without a Space

Radnor Property Group renderings of 38Chestnut.

Radnor Property Group renderings of 38Chestnut.

We have a lot of headlines this morning, so let’s get to it. First of all, to clarify: 38Chestnut will indeed have a space (that being 38th and Chestnut) but its name does not have a space. Think of it as an Apple-minted building and you’ll be all right.

• Foobooz reports that Mario Batali is bringing his food haven, Eataly, to Philly next year and that it may be the old Strawbridge and Clothiers.
Philly.com shares the ironically-titled Philly is Ugly, a time-lapse video that brings out the city’s beauty
Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports on KBS Realty Advisor’s $61 million offer for a King of Prussia office building
• Home sales and median sale prices in Philadelphia and surrounding counties have risen, according to Bucks Local News
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Roxborough Not Happy About Proposed Wendy’s

Last week, more than 50 Roxboroughans (Roxbros?) boarded a rented yellow school bus and headed to a zoning hearing to voice their displeasure over the proposed construction of a Wendy’s at the corner of Ridge and Roxborough. (Where the historic Bunting House used to sit before it was demolished.) They, along with Councilman Curtis Jones and other neighborhood poobahs, would prefer something a little more locally-sourced in its stead. To which I say: You want Kimye coming to visit your neighborhood or not? That’s what I thought.

https://twitter.com/KimYeUpdates/status/401747129892610048/photo/1

[Newsworks]

Morning Headlines: Like Center City, the Main Line Is Exploding With Rentals

The question, put somewhat Shakespearean-ly: From whence will come these eager hoards of renters, these express and admirable souls who in apprehension look not upon home ownership as an investment, a money-saver, a sound notion uttered in mellifluous cadence by parents burdened by great concern for the future? From whence do they derive, either in Center City or on the Main Line? Because, like, there are a lot, lot, lot of new apartments going up and a not unwarranted skepticism about who will live in them.

In plain language from the Inquirer’s ever sensible Joseph N. DiStefano: “Who’s going to live in all those new Main Line apartments?” He then enumerates the various projects that are going up, and it’s not unlike the situation in Center City, where each project may have merit and each developer feels confident, but when put all together, does the sum total of development make sense for the numbers in the future? We shall see.

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So Thoreau: 6BR Home Within the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center

Nature! Trees! The jackhammer of woodpeckers. The burnish of fireflies. The postprandial belch of bullfrogs. It’s all at hand around this beautiful home–4,700 square feet of living space that’s not only close to nature, it’s embededded in Nature with a captial N. Built in 1850, the six-bedroom, four-bathroom home shares land is within the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center, though its two acres are separated from Nature Center visitors by a private road. Inside the three-story house, historical details have been preserved, from woodwork to wood floors. But it’s the environment that really makes the home special.

The land, the ambience, is charming and peaceful–the kind of place where the current owners, who have been in the house for 27 years, sit in the kitchen and watch birds flit to their feeder. And not just the feeder: A local horticulturalist created a mini arboretum on the property with young and mature trees and plants that bloom–and attract birds–year-’round. Aside from the natural music, the quiet of the place is profound.

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Six-Thousand Square Feet of Footwear Comes to Roxborough Next Week

shoes_ia34063Paging Sarah Jessica Parker, Imelda Marcos and Beth Shak: The chain Famous Footwear opens its 40th Philadelphia-area store in the Androrra Shopping Center (8500 Henry Avenue) next week. According to an item in the Philadelphia Business Journal, the decision was based on “consumer need.” What’s going on, Northwest Philly? The store is a need? Current footwear options must be pretty shoddy. Ahem.

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Foodery Roxborough Is Open

The Foodery in Roxborough opened its doors to the public on December 27th. The biggest Foodery yet is offering 700+  beers. The deli has been getting up and running in its first week and tomorrow, Friday, January 4th marks the first free tasting.

The new bottle shop will be pouring free samples of Goose Island’s Belgian-style lineup from 5 to 7 p.m.

How to get there »

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