Who’s Building Philly: Sean Schellenger

Schellenger on the roof deck of one of his recently completed homes in Point Breeze. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Developing property in Philadelphia resembles running an obstacle course. There are numerous permits a builder must receive in order to start even a project that can be built by right. And if a zoning variance is required, the builder needs to jump through several more hoops involving community groups and a zoning review board.

When Sean Schellenger decided to go into the development business, he knew that the key to his success would be to create a system where he could build a large number of homes in a short period of time. So he sought to streamline the whole process from initial land purchase to turning over the keys. The business he formed to do all this is called — what else? — Streamline Solutions. Read more »

First-Time Find: Industrial Loft in Old Kensington for $300K

1524 N. Hancock St. #304, Philadelphia, Pa. 19122 | TREND images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

This loft has bricks, beams and beauty. With its industrial interior, beamed ceilings, hardwood floor and steel accents, this space in a former steel factory in Old Kensington is at once warm and cool, effortlessly exuding unique personality. If you’re single or simply looking to settle down with your significant other, this apartment is a bargain buy for those looking to get a foothold on city life. There are few better places to do it than this lively, up-and-coming neighborhood that’s rapidly filling with young people, new restaurants and shops. Read more »

How A Piece of the Mediterranean Landed in South Kensington

French doors and balconies with iron railings abound in Jeannie DeCarlo’s home on North Hancock Street in Old Kensington, which sold for just about what she asked for it last week. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise noted

Painter Jeannie DeCarlo, says broker Stephanie Somers, is “a tough lady. It’s hard to get her to laugh. But when she does, you know you’ve gained her favor.”

Somers, co-owner of RE/MAX Access with her husband Christopher, had many a laugh with DeCarlo as she set about achieving what seemed impossible: selling a one-of-a-kind house on a not-yet-gentrified South Kensington block for a price no other home in the area has fetched.

I also shared a few laughs with DeCarlo when I visited her home to tell its story. And in its story you find diCarlo’s determined personality and ultimately sunny spirit shining through. Read more »

43 New Townhouses Coming to Northern Liberties

Rendering of Liberty Square townhouse project by Atrium Design Studio via PRDC Properties

This landed in the Property inbox a few days ago: an announcement from PRDC Properties that it would soon begin work on a 43-unit townhouse development at the southern edge of Northern Liberties.

Designed by Atrium Design Studio, the project hits all the usual high notes: sleek modern design with brick, steel and glass outside, and roomy (3,100- to 3,800-square-foot) three- and four-bedroom units with such features as 10-foot-high ceilings, quartz countertops in the kitchens, Porcelanosa bathrooms, enchanting roof decks and community green space. And, of course, garage parking for one or two cars per unit: even though PRDC CEO David Perlman said in a news release that “the project was designed with walkability in mind,” this is Northern Liberties, after all, and no residential project that would put more resident cars on the street would pass muster with the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association.

The name of the project: Liberty Square.

Which is also the name of a much larger development now under construction a little bit to the north, on the South Kensington side of Girard Avenue. Read more »

Report: “Anarchists” Vandalize Cars, Apartments in South Kensington

About 30 people vandalized a number of luxury cars and newly-constructed apartment buildings in South Kensington last night, according to NBC10.

Police reportedly described the vandals as “anarchists.” About 20 cars and several buildings were damaged near the intersection of 2nd and Jefferson streets.

Windows were smashed and paint was splattered across the outside of apartments. A banner discovered at the scene of the incident read “Gentrification is death, Revolt is Life.”  Read more »

Neighbors Weigh In on American Street’s Future

 

This illustration shows what a typical block with a bioswale in part of its median would look like. | Image from Gilmore & Associates for the City of Philadelphia

This illustration shows what a typical block with a bioswale in part of its median would look like. | Image from Gilmore & Associates for the City of Philadelphia

As Philadelphia went through its industrial revolution that made it “The Workshop of the World,” one of its greatest industrial districts was the one that arose along American Street in Kensington thanks to a Reading Railroad branch line.

Most of that industry is now gone, and what remains is on a much smaller scale. But the street remains huge — and foreboding to some, thanks to its desolate appearance, a byproduct of that deindustrialization. This has led to an unusual partnership between three city agencies aimed at both remaking the street for a mixed-use future and turning it into a showcase for green infrastructure.

At a public open house on July 26, representatives of the Streets Department, the Water Department and the City Planning Commission invited residents of South Kensington (Old Kensington), West Kensington and Norris Square to give their opinions about what issues the city should address first when rebuilding the street. Read more »

Work Begins on 45-Unit Development in South Kensington

This 45-unit development will rise at 5th and Thompson streets in South Kensington. | Rendering: Harman Deutsch Architecture via Frankel Management and Streamline Solutions

This 45-unit development will rise at 5th and Thompson streets in South Kensington. | Rendering: Harman Deutsch Architecture via Frankel Management and Streamline Solutions

While the Techadelphia project is working its way through the permitting pipeline, the partnership of Sean Frankel’s Frankel Management Company and Sean Schellinger’s Streamline Solutions will have another South Kensington project with a community component to keep them occupied.

Ground was broken Friday (April 8) on a new 45-unit residential development at 5th and Thompson streets that will also contain retail space and a neighborhood amenity when complete. Read more »

AGA Developers Announce South Kensington Complex

Rendering for the new development on Berks Street. | AGA Developers

Rendering for the new development on Berks Street. | Harman Deutsch Architecture via AGA Developers

AGA Developers have announced plans for a new residential development in South Kensington. It will be a 19-unit complex to be called South Square, on Berks Street near the Market-Frankford El.

According to a press release from the developer, the new complex will have roof decks and private vehicle access. 17 of the units will be townhomes and the other two will be triplexes. The townhomes will have three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and will each have a rooftop deck, according to Curbed Philly. They will go on sale fort about $450,000.

The “boutique builder,” as AGA describes itself, has also developed Trenton Stables and Frankford Square in Fishtown and several properties in Point Breeze and Graduate Hospital.

Curbed Philly has renderings of the development here.

Philly Block Project Wants to Show a Truer Portrait of Kensington

Hakan Ibisi carries a photograph of his grandfather in his wallet. Ibisi was photographed for the Philly Block Project, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Wyatt Gallery/Hank Willis Thomas Studio. 

Hakan Ibisi carries a photograph of his grandfather in his wallet. Ibisi was photographed for the Philly Block Project, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Wyatt Gallery/Hank Willis Thomas Studio.

A smile creeps onto Fada Ahmad‘s face as she passes around a photo of the newest member of the family, her 1-year-old granddaughter. In the picture the young girl clutches onto her grandfather and a wide smile covers her face.

“She loves him more than anyone,” says Ahmad, laughing softly, as she talks about how the girl’s grandfather spoils her with gifts and candy. This is only one of the cherished photographs Ahmad has to share. Ahmad is the self-proclaimed photographer of her family. She has two suitcases full of photos at home. Today, she’s brought several snapshots and a cellphone packed with pictures.

“You are the keeper of your family archive,” remarks Lori Waselchuk, the coordinator of the Philly Block Project.

Ahmad’s archive is joining with another archive — actually quite a few other archives. Ahmad is at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society for a photo scanning event. Her photos along with the photos of many Kensington residents are being collected by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center for something called the Philly Block Project. The aim of the project is to create a “visual narrative” of South Kensington that will be comprised of photos submitted by Kensington residents, in addition to photos of present day Kensington which will be taken by photographer Hank Willis Thomas and several other collaborating artists. Read more »

ZBA Approves Techadelphia Variance

1525 North American Street

The ZBA’s blessing clears the way for work to start on this “jobs factory” with apartments in South Kensington. Rendering | Harman Deutsch Architecture

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously this week to approve the zoning variance needed to allow the Techadelphia mixed-use project to proceed.

The planned development in South Kensington consists of a row of townhomes facing Philip Street and a five-story building on American Street with co-working space on the street floor and basement and four floors of apartments above. The apartment rents will cover the cost of offering free co-working space for Philly-based tech entrepreneurs and 40 scholarships for youth in nearby neighborhood schools. Read more »

« Older Posts