Morning Headlines: Renovation Project at 4601 Market Breaks Ground

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

The Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. building at 46th and Market has seen a small number of tenants come and go, but for the most part it’s remained relatively vacant. Now, since making official requests earlier this year, the property is under city ownership and plans for its renovation have started.

West Philly Local reports the 87-year-old structure, which will be rehabbed so that it can house new occupants, had its groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. During this, Mayor Nutter announced the building would be referred to as “the Philadelphia Public Safety Services campus.” The site will house the new headquarters of the Philadelphia Police Department, the Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Department of Health public laboratories.

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Morning Headlines: Someone Finally Stands Up To Blackwell

Rendering of 4224 Baltimore Avenue. Photo credit: U3 Ventures.

Rendering of 4224 Baltimore Avenue.
Photo credit: U3 Ventures.

Will Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell respond now? Since April, Blackwell has ignored a zoning variance request from developers planning a mixed-use condo complex at 43rd and Baltimore. Even pleas from her constituents who loved the proposal have not moved her to speak. This morning, however, Inga Saffron called her out.

“But how long can she ignore this chunk of her constituency?” asks the Inquirer’s architecture critic after praising the “excellent design” of the Cecil Baker-crafted structure, which locals and the Planning Commission are excited about given Baltimore Avenue’s status as an growing commercial corridor. Developer U3 Ventures seeks a zoning change that would make the space’s current residential zoning to residential/commercial, thus helping the corridor grow.

Saffron says neighborhood reaction to Blackwell keeping mum is a perfect example of  a “quiet revolution” in the face of “councilmanic prerogative”, which is to say, the all-encompassing power council members have when it comes to land use. Or as she puts it:  “They alone determine what projects get built, where bike lanes are located, whether residents can nominate their neighborhoods for historic status, and much, much else.”

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Development Roundup: Digital Billboards Are Finally Coming to Market Street and Other Projects…

Market Street side of Mellon Independence Center. Photo credit: Google Street View

Market Street side of Mellon Independence Center.
Photo credit: Google Street View

Construction making way for video billboards set to line the roof of the former Lit Bros. building on Market Street has begun. Philly.com’s Maria Panaritis reports $10 million went into the project with an additional $10 million going to updating nearby public amenities.

Investors and other involved parties are aiming for a New Year’s Eve light up as the area has long been a ghost of its retail past. The “stadiumlike, wraparound, LED signs” are expected to encourage redevelopment and bring in revenue, something it has already started doing:

Indeed, advertising contracts for billboards of this nature can be very lucrative. Merlini estimated that annual revenues from the signs to be installed atop the Lits building would be in the “seven figures.”

“We didn’t know what a revenue source it would be until we got into it,” he said, adding that advertisement contracts were already in place.

Here are other unfolding projects…

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Marigold Kitchen Reopens Tonight

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Marigold Kitchen reopens tonight. The restaurant had closed after chef-owner Robert Halpern moved to California. Halpern then sold the restaurant to his chefs de cuisine, Tim Lanza and Andrew Kochan. Chef Keith Krajewski remains on as the executive chef.

The concept from Halpern’s version of Marigold Kitchen remains pretty much intact. There is no menu, just a question about food allergies or aversions. Then courses of modernist dishes come pouring out of the kitchen. The dinner is $90 per person and reservations can be made online.

One of the plates on the opening menu will be the dish shown above, wild striped sea bass with white bean, egg yolk, pepper and olive.

Marigold Kitchen [Foobooz]

TONIGHT: Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll

baltimore-ave-dollar-stroll-940While many will be enjoying Feastival this evening, there’s another food event that won’t completely drain your wallet. The Dollar Stroll on Baltimore Avenue is happening tonight, September 18th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Various vendors will offer $1 deals of food and beverage ranging from craft brews to ethnic bites.

In addition to $1 food and drink options, the September Dollar Stroll will feature live entertainment including jugglers, fire artists and music from Y-Not Radio at the 46th Street Triangle.

Check out the dollar deals » 

Morning Headlines: 40th Street Trolley Station Redesign Plan Gets More Funding

Photo credit: University City District website.

Rendering of the planned renovation.
Photo credit: University City District website.

According to the Daily Pennsylvanian’s Sophia White, the University City District, which has been fundraising for the 40th Street trolley station redesign project since 2012, has “raised $1.4 million of its $2 million goal.” Added to this sum is a recent $6,500 award to the project, courtesy of PECO and Natural Lands Trust.

White reports that Lori Brennan, UCD’s spokesperson, sees the renovation as ideal given its location as a “crossroads of economy-shaping institutions and job-creating commercial corridors” and “key access point that allows residents of the region to efficiently commute to Philadelphia’s central business district.” UCD hopes to see the station’s potential through. From DP:

UCD wants the space to better reflect the dynamic neighborhood that the station introduces. Traveling from Center City into West Philadelphia, SEPTA trolley riders currently emerge from a dark tunnel to face a bleak acre of underused space. But after the renovations, this unattractive first impression will become a “vibrant and social space, featuring trees, movable tables and chairs, native horticulture, artful lighting and boulders for creative play,” Brennan said.

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Back to School: Gorgeous Penn Alexander-Area Victorian

4623 Cedar Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19143

4623 Cedar Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19143

Pocket doors with leaded glass, decorative fireplaces, hardwood floors with inlay… With three stories and a partially finished attic, this Victorian property has beautiful historic details in abundance.

Features of note: turned staircase, curved plasterwork, leaded bay windows (comes with benched seating) in the living room, den with back staircase, and a second-floor bedroom with original armoire. The bedrooms total to six and the third floor hosts the in-law suite.

For parents, the location will be a draw, as the home is in the Penn Alexander catchment.

Gallery below.

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Meet New Faces at This Week’s Night Market

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Come one, come all, because Night Market is back Thursday, August 14th and you better bring your appetite. The Food Trust will be hosting the street food festival from 6 to 10 p.m. on Lancaster Avenue between 35th and 39th Streets. Over 80 of Philly’s finest food vendors on four wheels will occupy the five blocks. Some new faces will be among the crowds such as, SeoulFull Philly, serving up a taste of South Korea in Philadelphia, Luscious Bakery, cooking all kinds of brunch favorites from the sweet to the savory, The Flying Deutschman, to meet all of your schnitzel needs, The Grilled Cheese Truck, serving… well you know and finally Siddiq’s Real Fruit Water Ice, whom you can count on for an authentic Philadelphia treat. While you’re trying and testing food trucks galore, sip on some brew provided by Yards Brewery and catch a listen to the West Philadelphia Orchestra. Follow the food trust on twitter for updates on the event or check out their website.

Lancaster Avenue Night Market Program (PDF)

Night Market [The Food Trust]

Cozy Family Home Hits the West Philly Trifecta

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach.

This darling West Philly home already has a lot going for it if you’re in a family way: the lawn is beautiful, the sun room is cozy, and there’s a separate dining room as well as a breakfast nook. And then there’s the true West Philly trifecta. This house is Clark Park adjacent, has garage parking and sits squarely in the Penn Alexander catchment.

The arts and crafts-style home has four bedrooms and a generous family room. There are also two full baths. It’s especially sunny even if you don’t count the sun porch. Exposure on three sides makes for a lot of natural light. Leaded glass windows and woodwork throughout give the home a lot of character. A semi-finished basement and lots of closets also give it plenty of storage.
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