Tacony Is Flipping Its Way to Growth, According to New Study

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

Photo credit: Ashley Hahn

Earlier this week, the Tacony Community Development Corporation posted the results of a study conducted by James Onofrio who took a look at housing sales data in the neighborhood between August 2012 and July 2015. Onofrio, who used Zillow to gather the data, concludes that investment and residential redevelopment projects are among the factors spurring growth in the neighborhood, which was recently named on the list of “Great Neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter.

Here are three takeaways from the study, which you can read in full here. (Do it. There are charts!)

The priciest homes are between Tyson and Princeton Avenues:

Clustered in an area between these two streets, Tacony’s most expensive homes consist of twins and single houses, writes Onofrio. Unsurprisingly, These residences are in the way of having roomy yards, off-street parking, and “greater tree cover.”

Meanwhile, properties with the highest home values per square foot were located adjacent to Tacony’s Vogt Park in the center of the neighborhood, “again, on relatively tree-lined streets.” In addition to the park, these properties had the added benefit of sitting between the Frankford and Torresdale Avenue commercial corridors and bus routes.
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Tacony Named “Great Neighborhood” Winner by American Planning Association

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

Photo credit: Ashley Hahn

“Will people finally notice Tacony?” was a question posed right here on Property many, many moons ago (about a month or so after the blog was started, actually). It wasn’t meant to snub, but was, rather, a sincere query in the wake of a surging neighborhood revitalization effort made by the Tacony Community Development Corporation with other local groups.

More recently, Tacony CDC Corridor Manager Alex Balloon took to the Historic Tacony Revitalization Project blog in January to make known the slew of projects slated to improve the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. And boy, are those efforts noticed now!

See, the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter has announced this year’s winners of its Great Places awards, honors bestowed on a select number of “unique, memorable places” in the categories of “Great Neighborhoods” and “Great Public Spaces.” Tacony is one of two “Great Neighborhoods” winners, meaning it has been shown to have “exemplary character, quality, planning, identity, cultural interest, and community involvement with a sustainable vision for tomorrow.” You can see the rest of the winners here.

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Update: SawTown Tavern in Tacony

940x540 - featured Lindsey Tweed rendering of Prince Cafe in Tacony

Rendering by Lindsey Tweed via Historic Tacony Revitalization Project website.


Last fall, we told you about SawTown Tavern opening up where the Prince Cafe once was in Tacony. Troy Everwine and Mike Scotese, owner of Grey Lodge Pub and Hop Angel Brauhaus, are getting close to opening the tavern, promising to tap their first two house beers during Philly Beer Week (May 29 through June 7).

They also just announced their craft beer program. Each of their six taps will be dedicated to custom craft beers made from collaborations with local breweries. The first two exclusive beers they’ll be tapping during Philly Beer Week is a Vienna Lager, brewed by Sly Fox in collaboration with Standard Tap, and an IPA by Naked Brewing.

Everwine and Scotese are bringing beer to the tavern that they personally want to drink often.

SawTown Tavern [Official]

Morning Headlines: Five Developments Set to Revive Tacony

Rendering by Lindsey Tweed via Historic Tacony Revitalization Project website.

Rendering by Lindsey Tweed via Historic Tacony Revitalization Project website.

Numerous projects are said to be game-changers for the city, but not just in the immediate areas surrounding Center City. According to the Tacony Community Development Corporation’s Alex Balloon, there are at least five that will transform Tacony for the better.

These include the Tacony Library renovation, courtesy of the William Penn Foundation (this is part of a larger city-wide initiative to bring city libraries into the 21st century), as well as the new SawTown Tavern, which Balloon says we can expect to have a “brighter first floor and a game room upstairs” in addition to a ” wood-fired oven for ‘craft”’pizza to go with craft beer” when it replaces Prince’s Cafe on Princeton Street. This delectable switch will take begin to take place at the end of 2015.

Other projects also on their way are…

Man Drives Corvette into Delaware River in Northeast Philly

Update: Police have pulled a red Corvette from the Delaware River in the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia.

No one was hurt. Police say the Corvette was dumped by a husband who is going through a divorce with his wife. The driver, whose name has not been released, fled the car. He’s wanted on reckless endangerment and other charges.


Police are currently searching the Delaware River after reports that a Corvette drove into the river.

Police first received reports of the Corvette’s dive into the Delaware at about a quarter to 4. Callers told cops the red ’Vette went into the river at Magee Avenue in the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia.

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Morning Headlines: Eataly Comes to Philly; 38Chestnut Breaks Ground, Without a Space

Radnor Property Group renderings of 38Chestnut.

Radnor Property Group renderings of 38Chestnut.

We have a lot of headlines this morning, so let’s get to it. First of all, to clarify: 38Chestnut will indeed have a space (that being 38th and Chestnut) but its name does not have a space. Think of it as an Apple-minted building and you’ll be all right.

• Foobooz reports that Mario Batali is bringing his food haven, Eataly, to Philly next year and that it may be the old Strawbridge and Clothiers.
Philly.com shares the ironically-titled Philly is Ugly, a time-lapse video that brings out the city’s beauty
Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports on KBS Realty Advisor’s $61 million offer for a King of Prussia office building
• Home sales and median sale prices in Philadelphia and surrounding counties have risen, according to Bucks Local News
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No One Puts the Northeast in the Corner!

It’s a bummer when your own part of town gets the cold shoulder from its neighboring sections.

Honestly, I love all of Philly. If I could write one giant love note praising every single aspect, ugly and beautiful, I would. But when it comes to Northeast Philadelphia, where I grew up, it often seems to be passed over, if not point-blank ignored. In fact, I’ve met some visitors and daily commuters from outside the city who think the Center City skyline is an accurate visual of the city’s size!

Maybe it’s the physical distance between the Northeast and the rest of Philly that creates this vague feeling of estrangement: on a no-traffic day, it will usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to arrive in Center City. It can even take as long as an hour or more, just to go downtown in the city you’re already in.

In 1993 my parents moved to Philadelphia as immigrants. I was two years old so for me Northeast Philly has always been my home. We settled on Borbeck Avenue in a cozy one-bedroom right across from Rhawnhurst Elementary Shool where I attended daycare and kindergarten. I recall it being a huge building, too big and scary to explore, but whose bare schoolyard gave us room to make-believe.


Photo credit: Laura Kicey

When I was six, we moved to Oxford Circle, across from a library this time. I remember begging my parents to take me to Bushrod Library every day. Summer was spent with neighborhood friends at a day camp and public pool at Max Myers Playground, the only relief from the scorching days.

Max Myers Playground fb - directed from Parks and Rec

Side view of Max Myers playground
Photo credit: City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

In 1998, we moved from our two-bedroom duplex to a three-bedroom twin in Rhawnhurst. I transferred to Resurrection of Our Lord School for third through eighth grade. If ever there were a bittersweet turning point during my childhood/early adolescence, it was when I had to leave this wonderful school.

Living a mere five-minute walk from Northeast High School, I could easily have made my return to public school. But I decided to commute past Rhawnhurst and Mayfair to attend St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in Holmesburg/Torresdale. St. Hubert has been standing since on the corner of Cottman and Torresdale since 1941. There, I met girls from neighborhoods farther away, with thick Philly accents (and variations thereof).

Resurrection Regional Catholic School Photo Credit: Google Street View

Resurrection Regional Catholic School
Photo credit: Google Street View

I had always planned to get out of the Northeast after high school. It felt too far from Center City where all the excitement seemed to be. At times, it felt like I didn’t even live in Philadelphia and more like I was in a small town with nothing to offer. Today, I can’t imagine feeling that aversion.


Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Last spring, I studied abroad in Italy for three months. It was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. But I noticed something strange: Aside from having missed my family terribly, when I came home I realized I had missed my neighborhood too. All those familiar things we hardly notice: faces of strangers, sounds, smells, signs, images…it was like waking up from a dream.

I recognized people whose groceries I had packed when I worked at Pathmark; the crowd waiting for the 59 bus; the same traffic scene replaying itself at 7:30 in the morning on Castor Avenue; the subtly nasal twang of the Philadelphia accent. Those first few days back were pure sensory overload: everything seemed so unbelievably present. It was like seeing someone you love who you haven’t seen in decades. Surreal.

Northeast Philadelphia - King Taco

Photo credit: King Taco via Flickr

Clearly, I still have a very emotional attachment to the Northeast. I still live there now, and I pass by early childhood landmarks on daily basis, like my old duplex on Stirling Street or Bushrod Library where I worked in 2011. Meanwhile, I see a new generation of kids enjoying Max Myers day camp and pool.

Northeast Philadelphia - PMillera4 (2)

Tacony-Palmyra Bridge
Photo credit: PMillera4 via Flickr

Mayfair Diner

Mayfair Diner
Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Northeast neighborhoods like my own — and like Frankford, Fox Chase, Tacony and so many others — are often disregarded, forgotten, or unknown by people who don’t live there. My two favorite spots in the area, profiled briefly below, hover dangerously on this noticed-unnoticed line.

Ryerss Museum & Library
Neighborhood(s): Fox Chase / Burholme
This relatively small attraction offers a modest glimpse into Philadelphia history. The building is located at Burholme Park, a green space with picnic areas, mini golf-courses, and a batting cage. Once the Ryerss family home, the Burholme estate now houses the family’s heirlooms and trip souvenirs from as early as the late 1800s. Additionally, a pet cemetery resides on the grounds, a result of the Ryerss’ love for animals.

Ryerss Museum

Photo credit: Ryerss Museum website

Pennypack Park
Neighborhood(s): Fox Chase/Burholme, Krewstown, Rhawnhurst, Bustleton, Holmesburg. Entering from the Winchester Avenue entrance (one of many) between the Rhawnhurst and Bustleton neighborhoods, Pennypack is a feast for the eyes. A beautiful 1,600-acre park with a creek winding through, Pennypack is a special place that could use a little more appreciation (after all, it has the oldest standing bridge in the United States). Although the trails certainly have a fair amount of daily visitors (joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and your pensive strollers), the park’s general state is such that covert underage drinking, outdoor keg parties and misbehavior resulting in injuries have become an issue. Perhaps with a stronger law enforcement presence, or simply a rise in visitors, Pennypack could see an even greater surge in popularity and care.

Pennypack park 4 FOPP

Pennypack Park
Photo credit: Friends of Pennypack Park

Most Affordable ’Hoods for Renters: Yup, They’re What You’d Think

Screen grab from Kwelia's interactive rental heat map.

Screen grab from Kwelia’s interactive rental heat map.

Here’s what we want to say to startup Kwelia: If loving you is wrong, we don’t wanna be right. The self-professed data geeks help real estate professionals by collecting and analyzing information about the rental market: what’s hot, what’s trending, what competitive pricing would look like.

That doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be to a consumer’s benefit. But Kwelia also provides info about Philadelphia rentals and free tools to regular folk. Take, for instance, the company’s interactive heat map of rental prices in Philadelphia for the month of May: It’s a really helpful look at what’s going on in the city in terms of affordability–as long as you understand the reasons behind the prices.

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Will People Finally Notice Tacony Now?

taconyTacony’s housing stock has always been terrific bang for your buck–along the lines of the grand Victorians in University City and Mt. Airy. But its placement in the Northeast has kept residents from other parts of the city who never lived in the Northeast away–people generally move from the Northeast not to it.

Now, though, Tacony is undergoing a revitalization effort that may at least impress visitors to the neighborhood’s main drag, Torresdale Avenue.

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