Lacrosse Player Claims School District Forced Black Female Teams Into a “Negro League”

lacrosse

Nadirah McRae (seen on left in game shot) in photos provided by attorneys at Freiwald Law.

A lacrosse player at Strawberry Mansion High School has accused the Philadelphia School District of discriminating against black female athletes and preventing her from playing for a division I school, according to a lawsuit filed this week.  Read more »

Who’s Building Philly: Ken Weinstein

Philly Office Retail specializes in rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of buildings like the historic Cunningham Piano factory in Germantown, which it is planning to convert to street-level retail with apartments above. | Photo: Philly Office Retail

An idea that has been gaining steam of late among developers and planners is “social impact development.” This relatively recent concept marries the market to social change and community benefit by combining profitable construction with services or facilities that help improve the lives of those in need.

Maybe what Philly Office Retail President Ken Weinstein is doing doesn’t exactly fit in that box. But it is development, and it does contain a strong community benefit component, for not only is he redeveloping Northwest Philly’s stock of commercial buildings, he is developing the talent that will rebuild Germantown’s neglected housing stock. Read more »

10 Things You Never Knew About the Fairmount Park Mansions

Photos by Mark Garvin, James McClelland and Lynn Miller.

Photos by Mark Garvin, James McClelland and Lynn Miller.

A new book by James McClelland, executive director emeritus of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Lynn Miller, professor emeritus of political science at Temple University, landed on our desk recently with a resounding thud. City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System is a thick and terrific compendium of everything that’s in our city’s biggest green space and how it came to be. It includes fodder for a ton of future “Things You Never Knew” posts, but we’ll start with this one, chock-full of obscure facts about the lovely, historic Fairmount Park mansions, whose names are familiar but whose stories may not be. Special holiday note: The mansions “dress up” for Christmas and are open for tours; this year’s version, which begins on Thursday, has “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for its theme. You can visit six historic houses — Mount Pleasant, Lemon Hill, Strawberry Mansion, Cedar Grove, Woodford and Laurel Hill — for just $20 with a holiday pass. Read more »

Renderings: Brewerytown Blight to Open as New “Eastern Lofts” Next Year

Eastern Building via Google Streetview | Right: Rendering of Eastern Lofts

Eastern Building via Google Streetview | Right: Rendering of Eastern Lofts

It’s been a long time coming, but here it is: Eastern Lofts is set to open in early 2016.

Repurposed from the bones of the former American Railway Express Garage – otherwise known as the Eastern Building – at 3002-28 Cecil B. More Avenue (map), Eastern Lofts will breath new life to the site in the form of thirty-seven modern loft-style apartments with commercial space that includes a day care, coffee shop, and two open loft office spaces that are available for lease.

Tenants can expect to be welcomed in January, according to a project spokesperson, who added that a shared conference room will be onsite for commercial tenants.

Conceived by Gregory Reaves and partners in 2013, work officially commenced on the long-anticipated development in May 2015. Reaves, the Principal Managing Member at Mosaic Development Partners, is the owner of the site.

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9 Things To Do In Philly This Week: Body Worlds Animal Exhibit Opens, Boulevard Brewing Comes to Memphis Taproom, GLOW in the Park, and More



Police Investigate Mysterious Deaths of Philadelphia Couple

Early Thursday morning, a 39-year-old woman found the bodies of her parents in their Strawberry Mansion home. Police responded to a report of a woman screaming.

Family members identified the couple as Gladis and Rufus Perry, the aunt and uncle of deputy streets commissioner Donald Carlton. No signs of foul play were observed. Police have ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning but have not yet yet classified the deaths as a homicide.

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L&I Says Rowhome Collapse That Caused Injuries “Is Not a Big Deal”

strawberry mansion rowhome

A Google Street View image shows 3026 and the surrounding homes in 2011.

Around 10:40 this morning, a large chunk of an imminently dangerous building on West Diamond Street fell on top of two workers for Gama Wrecking. A witness to the events at 3026 Diamond told Action News “it was a freak accident, wrong place at the wrong time.”

It’s an unfortunate reality that demolishing imminently dangerous buildings — L&I’s current bailiwick — is itself a dangerous task, even when, as in this case, workers adhere to every safety regulation and procedure and wear all required gear.

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Morning Headlines: Strawberry Mansion Building Collapse Leaves One Injured

Philadelphia Building Collapse

Last summer’s building collapse at 22nd and Market.

An operational database of L&I complaints/incidents will be up and running by late 2015 — hopefully. Until then, building complaints and collapse incidents get public notice only in news accounts, like those about the building collapse in Strawberry Mansion on Monday.

The Daily News’ William Bender estimates it’s the fifth collapse in the past month. The building, which was cleaned and sealed by L & I in 2006, had been reported several times by local resident Mary Felder to no avail.

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Splendiferous Renovation: Abandoned Row Home Becomes Artist’s Eco-Friendly Paradise

With fraught conversation over vacant land and properties in the news almost every day, it’s gratifying to see the occasional example of what can be done when one individual decides to fight for a dilapidated building and turn it around.

Case in point: This creatively reinvented, highly livable two-bedroom home on a side street was just an abandoned corner rowhouse when a local photographer Jacob Hellman, a collagist and scholar of abandoned buildings, fell in love with it. He liked the location, in particular: One block from Fairmount Park, in a neighborhood some would call Strawberry Mansion but a realtor would call Brewerytown, the house is tucked away on a quiet street, across from an empty field, in an eerie but oddly soothing post-industrial landscape. He also liked the fact that it had a south-facing sidewall that would afford the opportunity down the line for passive solar heating modification.

Once he was able to buy the home, Hellman transformed it from shabby dereliction into one of the neighborhood’s most unique private homes.

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