Jawdropper of the Week: Buzzworthy Society Hill Mansion for $16.795M

232-36 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND image via BHHS Fox & Roach Realty

232-36 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Photos: Drew Callaghan Photography via BHHS Fox & Roach

Just blocks from Penn’s Landing, Carpenters’ Hall, and Independence Hall, this Society Hill mansion is a true Philadelphia masterpiece – and rightfully so. The one-of-a-kind property is currently the most expensive home for sale across the city.

As soon as you step inside the foyer of this 16-year-old property, you will encounter the massive, free-floating steel staircase. It’s definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

It might seem crazy that a two-bedroom home could cost so much money. But, when you account for all it has to offer, things start making sense. Read more »

What $500K* Will Buy You in Society Hill Right Now

With this post, we introduce a new feature aimed at taking the pulse of the local housing market. Each week, we will select a neighborhood in the city or suburbs and share with you a sample of what’s available at or near a set price. This week, we’re looking at homes selling for $500,000 or close to it in Society Hill.

330 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND image via The Eric Fox Team, BHHS Fox & Roach

330 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND image via The Eric Fox Team, BHHS Fox & Roach

330 S. 3rd St. | 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, 1 half bath, 918 square feet, $527,000 Read more »

Society Hill is Closed

Famed city planner Ed Bacon in Society Hill in 1962 | Photograph courtesy of Jules Schick/The Edmund N. Bacon collection/the architectural archives, University of Pennsylvania

Famed city planner Ed Bacon in Society Hill in 1962 | Photograph courtesy of Jules Schick/The Edmund N. Bacon collection/the architectural archives, University of Pennsylvania

Dozens of little distress signals call out from the front windows of historic brick houses on the quiet streets of one of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods. SOS, the stickers say.

Save Our Society Hill.

They began appearing after word spread that a developer was casting a lustful eye on the supermarket on 5th Street between Pine and Spruce — that maybe the developer wanted to replace the grocery store or build some apartments on top of it. The prospect of losing a supermarket galvanized the neighborhood the same way the threat of a new highway cleaving their town in two might scandalize other communities. Read more »

That House Out There: Yes, George Washington Really Did Sleep Here

242 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

242 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

“George Washington slept here” is a hoary cliché that’s been attached to many a historic home in and around Philadelphia (and elsewhere, while we’re at it).

But every once in a while, one runs across a property with a truly legitimate claim to that phrase. This meticulously restored 1830 Society Hill mansion is one such property, at one remove.

The “one remove” is the house that was removed to make way for this one. That house was built by John Penn, Pennsylvania’s last colonial governor, around 1765. Penn sold the house to Benjamin Chew, the first chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in 1771, and it was while Chew owned it that Washington used it as his headquarters, from November 1781 to March 1782. (Washington sublet the home from its then-current tenant, Francisco Rendon, the second Spanish ambassador to the United States; this home served as the first Spanish embassy in America.) Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Fabulous Federal in Society Hill

309 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

309 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

You may not have foreign ambassadors on your guest list for dinner, but if you did, you’d be able to receive them with the dignity they deserve in this meticulously restored 1814 Federal mansion in the heart of Society Hill.

Your domestic friends might ask, “So what’s it like to live in a piece of history?” You’d be able to answer, “Great!” For even though this home’s details are authentic to the core, it has also been updated where it counts the most for the modern homeowner, namely, in the kitchen and the bathrooms.

We’ll get to those in a bit. But first, let’s start with the impressive entrance hallway just beyond the chandelier-lit foyer. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: History Now in Society Hill

James and Dolley Madison House, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

James and Dolley Madison House, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | TREND Images via RE/MAX Main Line

Our Founders, it turns out, were very forward-thinking people.

At least that’s the impression we get after taking a look at the house James and Dolley Madison once occupied in Society Hill.

Who knew they invented the open plan main floor? We sure didn’t.

Truth to tell, the Madisons have nothing to do with the way this spectacular Federal townhouse looks now. Its inside is the product of a meticulous top-to-bottom renovation that respects the home’s historic heritage while filling it with all the latest in style, comfort, features and amenities. Read more »

Society Hill Playhouse to Close

Society Hill Playhouse

Society Hill Playhouse

Society Hill Playhouse, a fixture on the Philadelphia theater scene since 1959, will close on April 1.

The theater company made the announcement on its website last Thursday; it sent out a press release on Tuesday.

In more than 50 years, the company “has produced hundreds of American and European premieres; developed many notable programs; trained countless artists and technicians and true to its mission, (and) remained unique in its dedication to contemporary theatre and the community,” the company said in a statement announcing the closure. Read more »

Jaw Dropper of the Week: Stained Glass Skylight Residence in Society Hill

TREND images via Zillow/Coldwell Banker Preferred.

TREND images via Zillow/Coldwell Banker Preferred.

Entering this c.1865 Society Hill townhouse (figuratively speaking – we used the gallery below), one is met with a foyer leading into the formal living and dining rooms, where intricate crown molding, original pine floors, and 12-foot high ceilings festoon the spaces.

Add to that marble fireplaces and built-in cabinets, the four-bedroom manse is one of those fierce golden oldies rivaling even its younger, hipper brethren.

It keeps up with the times thanks to a slew of meticulous updates, some of which are clearly seen in the kitchen. Here, a marble island and 6 burner Viking gas stove and griddle reside alongside an over-sized fridge and built-in stainless steel dishwasher and microwave. What’s more, it has garden access via sliding glass doors.

Read more »

Short Sale in Society Hill: Former “City House of the Week” Gets Sizable Price Cut

Photos by Mike Mackintosh; Joe Staehly, Home Jab via TREND,Re/Max

It looks like a lot has happened to this gorgeous home in Society Hill since we featured it in March. Back then, it was our City House of the Week, mainly for its charming original details and the 360-degree roof deck.

Between then and now, it’s taken a few price cuts and now Redfin has it listed at $650,000. That’s a $200,000 price chop since the early spring. “This property is a Short Sale and the bank is looking for an offer; all offers will be considered,” according to the meat and potatoes from the listing.

Want a refresher on what this place has to offer? Right this way, friends.
Read more »

Jaw Dropper of the Week: Art Collector’s Society Hill Home Listed For $5.775M

TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach-CC Rittenhouse Hotel / Zillow.com

TREND images via BHHS Fox & Roach-CC Rittenhouse Hotel / Zillow.com

Much like the museum-like Delancey Place residence we featured last week, today’s jaw-dropper is a home with a unique relationship to art: the Society Hill dwelling was originally owned by an art collector who took great care to incorporate his collection into his home’s appearance.

Situated on four combined lots (they total to roughly 10,000 square feet), late Penn Jersey Subaru founder Robert S. Lee actually commissioned the construction of his Pine Street house back in the early 1990s. Although officially designed by Stephen Varenhorst Architects, the R. Lee Residence was heavily shaped by Lee and his wife Gabriele, an interior architect. “They happened to have a large art collection and wanted a lot of light and a lot of walls, so it was kind of a balancing act to work it out,” Varenhorst said of the couple’s vision in a 1999 Inquirer article.

Indeed, listing agent Laurie Phillips says that another layer of wood was added along the walls of the first floor “to accommodate the paintings.”  This accommodation has been great for the similarly art-inclined, it seems, because, as Phillips told Property, the second owners also happened to be avid art collectors, particularly of the modern variety.

Read more »

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