Maybe you heard: “New Philly” tried to pull a fast one on us. While you were busy sipping boat drinks down the Shore this summer, a lawsuit was filed back home by 5th Square, a self-identified “urbanist” political action committee looking to end the wonderfully wacky and deep-rooted local tradition of median parking along South Broad Street. The suit was summarily tossed out of court in September, but that it was filed is significant: The decade-long tug-of-war between crotchety Philly natives and the city’s newcomers has hit a new battleground — Common Pleas Court. What hangs in the balance now that this great bit of civic jostling has made its way out of the court of public opinion? Only our city’s entire cultural identity. Read more »
Two shared coworking spaces are coming to Philadelphia this winter, one of which will be on Broad and Locust. Industrious, a coworking space company from Chicago, is expanding to Center City and Old City, each location set to open in November and December, respectively.
According to Technical.ly Philly’s Juliana Reyes, both sites will offer 20,000 square feet of “flexible, community-oriented office space,” which is just a tad smaller than another office space company planning to expand to the area: Miami-based Pipeline who said they would “open a 21,000-square-foot space in Center City this fall.”
Let’s hope the new spots don’t meet the same fate as 3rd Ward, the Brooklyn-based co-working space that expanded to the area…only to suddenly cease operations after its Philly location failed.
Unit 2008 at Symphony House spans what the listing describes as “the full southern hemisphere of floor 20,” which makes me envision the city as a globe with Broad Street as the Equator. (It does seem hotter below Broad, doesn’t it?) The huge condo does have enough amenities for a small planet, such as multiple TVs, including a 60 inch plasma; floor-to-ceiling glass walls with city views; custom Viking and Sub-Zero appliances; Smart House and sound systems; a bidet; another apartment within the apartment, with a separate entrance and full kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom and full bath; three garage parking spots; and then all the amenities the building itself has. Plus, this unit still has time on a tax abatement.
This unit at the Symphony House on South Broad Street is described both as “glamorous” and “glorious,” and it does have many appropriately luxurious features, starting with floor-to-ceiling windows with straight-into-the-city views (and remote-controlled blinds for privacy).
The dining area has a double-height ceiling and direct access to one of the terraces, while the European-style kitchen has an island with breakfast bar, stainless steel apron-front sink with pullout faucet, and double doors that open to another terrace. The family/media room, also has access to the terrace.
Boot & Saddle and executive chef Christopher Davis have revamped their menu for spring and due to popular demand has added a burger. The B&S Burger comes topped with smoked Gouda, braised pork belly and chili relish for $13. Also new on the menu, smoke rainbow trout salad, chilled spicy roasted beet sandwich and crispy chicken wings.
We’re not sure whether this was one of Carl Dranoff’s goals for his new South Broad Street exclamation point, the SLS International Hotel and Residences, but we’re sure he couldn’t be more pleased if he had planned this from the outset: for the first time since he turned his attention to the Avenue of the Arts, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron has tossed a bouquet to a Dranoff building’s architecture.
Saffron has always given Dranoff props for his business savvy and his commitment to creating lively urban environments, and her review of the SLS tower in today’s Inquirer is no exception. As she wrote, Dranoff “seems to possess a sixth sense about where the real estate market will go next.” His Avenue of the Arts debut, Symphony House, was an example of that sixth sense at work, and as Saffron notes again in her review today, the project got the urbanism right, packing enticing commercial spaces at the street level and finding top-flight tenants to fill them.
But her disdain for the “pink-hued, milk-bottle-shaped” apartment tower – a building that wants badly to be its Modernist self but instead comes off as a Drake Tower wannabe – became well-known.
Yesterday Passyunk Post reported that there was a rumor that Bart Blatstein was going to buy the large vacant lot at Broad and Washington, aka, the Cirque du Soleil lot. Actually, this rumor has been on the wind for quite a while, but real estate deals take forever to go through, and it’ll probably be on the wind for a little longer before we get any confirmation yes or no.
However, a gal has to try, and try I did, so here is a transcript of our on-the-record conversation. If you’d just like to apply this transcript to other rumors surrounding Bart’s real estate deals, feel free.
In April developer Carl Dranoff told Property’s Shannon Rooney, “The best is yet to come on South Broad Street. Later this year, look for a big announcement… We have several equation-changing projects for the city.” He was undoubtedly referring to the news that broke on Hidden City on Nov. 20th: that the company would build an SLS boutique hotel/luxury condo tower — SLS International — at Broad and Spruce.
“Back in the saddle again” is more than just an Aerosmith lyric. It’s what looks to become a familiar refrain as I return time and again to Boot & Saddle, the bar from Avram Hornik and Sean Agnew (Morgan’s Pier, Union Transfer) that restores the country-western joint that closed more than 15 years ago into something altogether new that feels like it hasn’t changed in decades. The western paintings remain from the old Boot & Saddle, as do the stamped-tin walls and ceilings. What is new is a bar illuminated by an I-beam lassoed in thick rope, with six Edison-style bulbs hanging down. And then there’s the 150-person-capacity live-music venue behind a soundproof door at the back of the dining area. Even the much-cooler-than-me waitress admitted needing to Google most of the bands, but the vibe is undeniable. During a British punk band’s set, the bar area’s music matched the live band’s energy; on a quiet Tuesday night, the same bar became a welcoming oasis. The beer list is well-curated, with some hard-to-find American craft brews, and while the cocktail lineup was less successful, you should probably just be drinking whiskey here anyway. Plus, George Sabatino has designed the short and vegetarian-friendly menu with all options coming in under $15. So however the night finds you, this Saddle won’t chafe.
Boot & Saddle [Foobooz]
First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.