You Have a Say in the Development Changes in Store for South Philly

Photo credit: pwbaker via Flickr.

Photo credit: pwbaker via Flickr.

Think Philadelphia’s South District (i.e., Grays Ferry, East Passyunk, Point Breeze, Pennsport, and Whitman) has a dearth in parks? How can the population boom be handled better? And for the love of William Penn, what’s up with Snyder Station?

Whatever your issues with the area, these weak points (as well as its positive features) will be discussed in greater detail at the next Philadelphia2035 planning meeting on February 9th.

According to Taylor Farnsworth at the Passyunk Post, Phila2035’s first South District meeting took place in December, an assembly that found locals voicing the following pros and cons…

South Philly Neighborhood Named 2nd “Hottest” in the Entire Nation

Have you ever heard of the section of South Philly called Dickinson Narrows? It’s a sliver of a neighborhood tucked between Pennsport in the east and East Passyunk to the west and real estate site Redfin has high hopes for this pocket of the city, ranking it only behind San Diego’s El Cerrito neighborhood on their “Hottest Neighborhoods of 2015″ list.

Here' the national list via Redfin

Here’s the national list via Redfin

Now regularly referred to as Dickinson Square West and home to “The Divine Lorraine of South Philadelphia,” Redfin says that past lists has focused on historic or tony neighborhoods as ones to watch, because that’s what buyers wanted. However, home buyers are now seeking “value”–with an emphasis on affordability and convenience–when hunting for a new home. These areas have seen the biggest increase in page views and favorites on Redfin and the site predicts they will be the hot spots for potential buyers in 2015. Enter Dickinson Narrows/Dickinson Square West:

“Many homebuyers have recoiled from the dramatic increase in house prices in urban centers posted over the past three years,” said Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. “They are now searching for more affordable places farther out. Expect the neighborhoods on this list to see high demand in 2015 as rock-bottom mortgage rates and a more lenient mortgage lending environment help make homeownership in expensive cities less costly.”

They even broke it down by metro area. Here’s the top five for the Philly area, median sale price and median days on market are in parenthesis:

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Blatstein, SugarHouse Appeal Casino Decision

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

The Inquirer reports this morning that last month’s decision to permit a second Philly casino in South Philadelphia is being appealed by the losing bidders and by the city’s first (and still only existing) casino.

The plaintiffs include developer Bart Blatstein, the SugarHouse Casino, and the two other losing bidders. They note that the winning bidder, Live!, has the same ownership as Parx Casino in Bensalem.
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Morning Headlines: Velodrome Developers Meet Opponents During Wednesday Presentation


Developers behind the proposed $100 million velodrome project at FDR Park had their first presentation before the Parks and Recreation Commission yesterday, reports Inga Saffron. According to her, the meeting was packed with over 150 attendees, some of who were not there to voice their support:

Although the velodrome developers have promised to make significant park improvements to mitigate the arena’s impact, several neighborhood residents expressed skepticism about the benefits of another large facility in South Philadelphia. The velodrome would be located across from the sports complex and a few blocks from the site of a newly approved casino on Packer Avenue.

“This is the elephant in the room. We are already impacted so severely,” argued Anna Maria Vona, who uses the park for morning walks. “I’m tired of outsiders coming into our community.”

One project backer responded by saying…

Greatest #SeenOnMyRun Ever? Photos from South Philly Holiday Lights Run 2014

holiday run

It was fitting that we were treated to a festive dusting of snow flurries yesterday, as runners across the city got amped up for last night’s South Philly Holiday Lights Run, organized each year by the Fishtown Beer Runners and South Philly Striders. The festive nighttime run is a tour de South Philly, of sorts, where holiday decorations and twinkly lights are in anything but short supply. Runners gathered at Broad and Oregon at 7 and set off to peep the lights. The run ended at American Sardine Bar with—what else?—drinks and fun.

Check out photos of the festivities below.

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Morning Headlines: Bicycle Racing Arena Proposed for South Philly


According to Inga Saffron, the proposed $100 million velodrome, which would sit on four of FDR Park’s 300-plus acres, has earned the blessing of both bicycle racing enthusiasts and high-profile members and groups in the city (Mayor Nutter, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and Friends of FDR Park to name a few). This velodrome, they believe, could very well “become a top U.S. venue for international races.” (See renderings of it below!)

But even more importantly, it could help revive the area around it: Read more »

Morning Headlines: Saffron On Scannapieco’s Bok School Plans

The new project's homepage invokes the building's educational roots with a photo by Katrina Ohstrom.

The new project’s homepage invokes the building’s educational roots with a photo by Katrina Ohstrom.

Lindsey Scannapieco’s South Philadelphia project–the renovation and eventual conversion of the former Bok School into a thriving creative maker space for local entrepreneurs (more details here)–has residents rooting for the young developer in spite of project’s scale. And for good reason, according to Inga Saffron who weighed in on Scannapieco’s plans last week.

For one thing, Saffron notes, Scannapieco is coming at the shuttered school with a “fresh eye and offbeat sensibility.” Indeed, the London School of Economics graduate was “running Scout Ltd.,” the company behind “Fridge Mountain” and other public art installations, last year. This background might be why Scannapieco envisions a lively outdoor community in addition to the interior creative hub: Read more »

Bart Blatstein Plans Mixed-Use Complex in South Philly

The vacant lot at Broad and Washington that Blatstein wants to develop. Photo via Google Street View.

The vacant lot at Broad and Washington that Blatstein wants to develop. Photo via Google Street View.

With casino fever taking over yesterday, it was easy to overlook another project Bart Blatstein, one of the applicants who lost out on Philadelphia’s second gaming license, has in mind for the city.

If you will recall, rumors of a Wegmans coming to South Philadelphia sprung up earlier this year after he expressed interest in developing a vacant lot at the corner of Broad and Washington. Those rumors were squashed pretty quickly and, a few months later, Blatstein presented a clearer picture of what he wanted to do: a verticle Piazza-like community with “every amenity known to mankind.”

Yesterday, that idea was scratched.

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Morning Headlines: Casino Developer Faces NIMBY Opposition in South Philly


Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

Rendering of Live! Hotel and Casino via PlanPhilly

Earlier this week, Joel Mathis announced that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will soon bestow Philadelphia’s second casino license to one of the four applicants left. But with rumors that one of the contenders has the license in the bag, and the approval not due till the 18th, residents in South Philadelphia are rallying in protest.

According to NewsWorks’ Bill Hangley, residents are fighting against Stadium Casinos, LLC’s proposed Live! Hotel and Casino that would be at 10th and Packer. Their main issue with the proposed development? It’s proximity to the stadium complex. From NewsWorks:  Read more »

Morning Headlines: Developer Proposes Mixed-Use Building Across From Pat’s King of Steaks

Screenshot via Google Street View

Screenshot via Google Street View

Put on the market earlier this year, a vacant lot and neighboring building across from Pat’s King of Steaks is now under new ownership. Paul Mirabello, the local developer who closed the sale this past Monday, intends to convert the space into a four-story mixed-use building.

The Passyunk Post’s James Jennings reports Mirabello  presented his plans for the site at a recent zoning meeting with the Passyunk Square Civic Association. Mirabello’s proposal for 827-29 Wharton involves “roughly 6,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space topped by 21 apartments.”

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