Go Eat Lunch Outside Today

R. Kennedy / Visit Philadelphia™

R. Kennedy / Visit Philadelphia™

After days of gray, rainy weather, the weather is warm and sunny — and it’s Friday. Sounds like the perfect excuse to treat yourself to al fresco lunch — without having to wait for a sidewalk table.

We have a list of quick, affordable, and delicious spots to grab a bite, coupled with the closest park, plaza or grreen space where you can get away from your desk, stake out a patch of grass, and soak up the spring weather.

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Kudos for a One-Man Community Development Corporation

Chestnut Villa at 40th and Chestnut streets, the building that launched Brooks on his real estate career. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Chestnut Villa at 40th and Chestnut streets, the building that launched Brooks on his real estate career. | Photos: Sandy Smith

For many years, the nicest building at the intersection of 40th and Chestnut streets in University City was the one with the sign reading “Chestnut Villa” on top of it. Neat and tidy, with crimson awnings over its storefront windows, it was a signal that at least one person cared about this sometimes-bedraggled crossroads on the fringe of the University of Pennsylvania campus.

The crimson awnings are still there, and it’s still neat as a pin. But redevelopment has caught up with it: across Chestnut from the Villa now rises a slick postmodern tower, the Brawer & Hauptman-designed Hub on Chestnut.

So Chestnut Villa’s owner, Ronald Brooks, has decided to renovate the building he has owned for the past 40 years to reflect the changed face of its surroundings. To mark the occasion, many of the other people whose lives and businesses he has helped fix up turned out to pay homage to him on Tuesday (April 11th) in a currently vacant storefront in his building. Read more »

Connoisseur: Amy Sadao

Amy Sadao. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou.

Amy Sadao. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou.

Since becoming director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2012, Sadao, a Rittenhouse resident, has used her keen eye and business acumen to help catapult the University City museum to national recognition. Here, the acclaimed aesthete shares the places, people and things on her radar. Read more »

The Changing Streets of Cedar Park

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Photo courtesy of JJ Tiziou | www.jjtiziou.net

Monica Allison moved to West Philadelphia’s Cedar Park in 1997, buying a gorgeous red brick Victorian town house for $67,000. She’d been renting closer to the University of Pennsylvania, but her neighbors repeatedly called the police on her teenage son when he was home alone, just hanging out around the house. Allison, who is African-American, had to rush home from her job as an insurance underwriter time and again to find him handcuffed on the couch.

Even today, as the country’s increasing diversity makes racial isolation less common, Cedar Park is a rarity because of its longstanding mixture of black and white households. When Allison moved there, it had been roughly evenly comprised of black and white households since at least 1970, although the white population continued to slowly decline. That remained true even as the neighborhoods to the west, north and south of Cedar Park became more than 95 percent black. But by the end of the 1990s, Cedar Park’s white population plummeted to 27.9 percent as crime spiked and several high-profile murders racked the neighborhood. Read more »

Residential Tower Proposed for U-City Site

The proposed apartment tower at 4125 Chestnut St. | Rendering: KCA Design Associates

The proposed apartment tower at 4125 Chestnut St. | Rendering: KCA Design Associates

Philly.com reports that a developer is proposing to build a 17-story residential tower with retail space on the site of the Wash ‘n’ Lube car wash at 4125 Chestnut St. in West Philadelphia.

KCA Design Associates has submitted plans to Civic Design Review for the tower, which will contain 240 apartments, 4,158 square feet of retail space on the ground and second floors, and an 82-space underground parking garage.

According to the report, the developer of the project is CRP Builders. Read more »

Three Philly Neighborhoods to Watch in 2017

Spruce Hill's substantial rowhomes and twins are popular with the Penn crowd. | Photo: Plan Philly/Eyes on the Street, used under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

Spruce Hill’s substantial rowhomes and twins are popular with the Penn crowd. | Photo: Plan Philly/Eyes on the Street, used under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The online brokerage Redfin has released its list of the “Hottest Neighborhoods for 2017,” and while none of the 10 hottest neighborhoods nationwide are in Philadelphia, it did offer up its choices for the three hottest neighborhoods in the city.

Topping the list is Spruce Hill in University City, where the median-priced home sells for $415,200, making it the most expensive of the three by almost double. Redfin agent Jimmy Caraway had this to say about the neighborhood: Read more »

Science Center Breaks Ground on 3675 Market Street

3675 Market Street ceremonial groundbreaking.

3675 Market Street ceremonial groundbreaking.

It’s undisputed that with the expansion of uCity Square, University City and frankly all of Philadelphia will enter a new era of innovation, access, inclusion, and discovery—four words Science Center president and CEO Steve Tang stressed at the ceremonial groundbreaking of 3675 Market Street on Tuesday.

“Imagine the discoveries that will be made here, the young minds inspired to pursue science, and the communities that will be introduced to the power and promise of technology,” Tang told the crowd that gathered at 3601 Market Street next door to the construction site. Read more »

Here’s What You’ll Be Eating At Dim Sum House (Notably: Free Soup Dumplings Tomorrow)

DimSumHouse1

Last week, we talked about the opening of Dim Sum House in University City–the new restaurant from Jane Guo and Jackson Fu of Jane G’s in Center City. I, for one, was psyched about the place opening because of the battling dim sum menus (Shanghai-style and Cantonese), the late hours and, well, pretty much everything else coming from the kitchen.

But tomorrow, January 11, is the official grand opening of the place, and guess what they’re doing to celebrate?

They’re offering free soup dumplings.

More cool stuff, right this way

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