Morning Headlines: Plans Still Unclear for Temple University’s Burk Mansion

Burk Mansion | Google Street View, Sept. 2014

Burk Mansion | Google Street View, Sept. 2014

Could Temple University replace one of the last mansions on North Broad Street with a full-service hotel called The Nest? Hidden City’s Bradley Maule reports that, while plans for the Victorian Italian Renaissance home at Broad and Jefferson at still unclear, the university has no intention of demolishing the building. In fact, it’s quite the opposite:

[Temple University architect Margaret] Carney also indicates that while the mansion is empty, it’s not uncared for. “We’ve invested over a million dollars just to stabilize the roof,” Carney says. “We’ve worked closely with the Historical Commission,” she says, referencing new lights, heating, and ventilation that have also been installed, along with improved landscaping along Broad Street and historically sensitive lanterns on their way.

That’s good news, considering the mansion dating back to 1909 wasn’t listed in Temple’s sweeping master plan, which includes, among other things, an innovative library designed by Snøhetta. Also, as Maule notes, Temple is kind of in the middle of a demolition-driven renaissance, with no less than four university-owned buildings slated to be razed.

Carney said Temple “did not commission” the designs for The Nest and is still searching for the best use for the mansion.

More headlines this way!

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Local Yogis Launch Fundraising Campaign for Vegetarian Food Truck

happy hippy

Justine Carmine and Nicole Beddow, owners of Happy Hippy

Nicole Beddow and Justine Carmine have had a busy six months. Since first meeting at a yoga teacher training at Hotbox Yoga in Manayunk, the two have paired up on a new business venture that they’re hoping to launch later this summer. The idea: a healthy vegetarian- and vegan-friendly food truck, with occasional pop-up wellness and fitness events, for Temple University students.  Read more »

Adjunct Instructors Plan March Today at Temple

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Adjunct faculty members from colleges and universities around the city plan to march today on Temple University campus, where adjunct instructors are attempting to unionize.

The adjuncts — who teach classes, but who aren’t on the tenure track that offers job protections and the likelihood of continued employment — want to collectively bargain pay and benefits with the university.

NewsWorks reports:
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Morning Headlines: Former William Penn High on North Broad to Be Demolished

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

While a specific project has yet to rear its head, the former William Penn High School building on North Broad, a structure that’s been vacant since its closing in 2011, is closer to being demolished to make room for a new construction by Temple University.

NewsWorks’ Bill Hangley reports the Philadelphia Planning Commission has granted Temple permission to raze the site, which the university bought last year, while also approving the school’s planned library and additional buildings.

What awaits the property post demolition is anyone’s guess as “there’s still a lot of talk”, according to Tom McCreesh, Temple’s director of facilities. However, Hangley writes that Temple spokesman Ray Beltzer confirmed the school would “use the new building to house some community job-training programs – part of a plan that was first discussed when Temple bought the William Penn campus last year.” So no, this won’t be the site of Temple’s long-rumored football stadium.

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INTERVIEW: Out Poet Kevin Killian on His Fascination With Kylie, Visiting Whitman, and the “Tsunami of Genitalia” He’s Bringing to Philly

Kevin Killian is a multi-talented writer who uses his novels, poetry, plays, and stories to talk about LGBT issues from the past and the present. I got a chance to interview him before his reading at Temple’s Tyler School of Art on Thursday, January 29th. I highly recommend going to this event if you enjoy a reading that is “queer and weird.”  You can buy copies of his publications here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow would you define your style of poetry for someone who isn’t familiar with your work?
I am from the East Coast and grew up listening to the poetry of folks like Frank O’Hara and Amiri Baraka, so I have a conversational, some might say musical rhythm to my poems, even down to the level of the line itself, and when later in life I moved to San Francisco I became bitten by the Jack Spicer bug, the theory of poetry as coming from some force outside the lyric self I had spent the first half of my life trying to get to. So I’m like a two-way street, and the two ways of the street don’t even see each other most of the time, they just drive on by.

LGBT themes play a role in the majority of your work. Why did you decide to stick so closely to that genre?
Maybe that was the priority of my generation, men and women born in the 1950s? Our sexualities were completely, or nearly completely, suppressed by the heteronormative majority. When, here and there, we could say something, we did, and resolved never to shut up about it, come hell or high water. I don’t even know that I’d call them “themes,” but they’re formal qualities perhaps.

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Morning Headlines: Suit Claims Society Hill Condo Used in Sex-for-Rent Affair

421 Pine Street, via Google Street View

421 Pine Street, via Google Street View

So here’s a bizarre story to start off your Friday morning. According to Morgan Zalot of the Daily News, a “high-powered Brooklyn real-estate mogul” named Stuart Venner drew up a 40-year lease for his mistress to live in a Society Hill condo near 5th and Pine Street, probably not an uncommon story.

However, it’s way more complicated than a simple woman-on-the-side type affair:

But this wasn’t just any lease, the suit claims: The agreement allegedly allowed defendant Panadda Pratomtang to rent the property for $1 a month until 2053 “in return for her providing prostitution services to Board Member, [Stuart] Venner.”

To top it off, Venner named his wife, Grace Chang Venner, as the manager of a real-estate business called “421 Pine LLC.” Yes, that’s the address of the house and yes, that’s pretty much how Venner got caught in the act.

Venner told the Daily News that the allegations were “ridiculous … I don’t know anything about this.” The suit seeks the lease agreement to be terminated, attorney’s fees and punitive damages for Grace Chang Venner.

Wife’s lawsuit: Mistress paid for Society Hill condo with sex [Daily News]

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The Architect Designing Temple’s New Library is Impressive

Architizer’s Matt Shaw has rounded up the three projects that have brought Norwegian architecture group Snøhetta significant acclaim this past year (click the links for images):

  • the Kasper Salin Prize-winning Väven project in Sweden (also nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Prize, “arguably the most prestigious in Europe”)
  • the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Honolulu (the plan includes an interactive visitor center)
  • their selection as one of six firms who will help design Oslo’s new government center (no competition here, all architects will have their plans included in the final design)

All this is worth noting since the group is collaborating with local firm Stantec to design Temple University’s latest development, which is expected to break ground at the end of this year.

(Hey, it’s better than that $100 million stadium Temple wants to build, right?)

• How Snøhetta Had the Best Month Ever [Architizer]

Three Reasons Temple’s $100 Million Stadium Is a Big, Bad Idea

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An on-campus football stadium at Temple University is a really bad idea.

It’s a bad idea for the university. It’s a bad idea for the North Philly neighborhood. And it’s a bad idea for you, the Pennsylvania taxpayer whose support is critical to the university.

But it’s also a bad idea whose time may have come. The Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick on Sunday reported that “if some remaining financial details can be resolved, a go-ahead for a 30,000-seat, on-campus facility could come as early as this spring.”

Fitzpatrick did his reporting from Ohio, where the University of Akron built an on-campus stadium a few years ago and found, contrary to expectations, that it’s not necessarily true that if you build it, they will come. Student attendance has been anemic, at best, and the university has resorted to gimmicks like offering free tuition to try to attract a crowd to games.

“We have to find ways to keep our fan base growing,” Akron’s athletic director told Fitzpatrick.

But that’s not the only reason to be dubious of trying something similar in North Philadelphia. Three reasons a new stadium is a bad idea:

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Morning Headlines: Temple to Construct Massive Library and Common Green Space

Among the projects included in Temple University’s master plan for its main campus is a library, a massive 210,000-square-foot structure that will include a green roof and outdoor balcony. Temple Director of Communications Hillel Hoffmann says it will be the university’s “new centerpiece.”

Indeed, the building is being designed by Snøhetta, “an architectural firm renowned for its innovative library designs,” and Philly-based Stantec.

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