WATCH: Video Shows Suspect in Laundromat Killing

A terrible thing to see:

Philadelphia Police say that at 11:12 a.m. Feb. 19, they were called to the 1300 block of South 53rd Street for a report of a shooting at 53rd Coin Laundromat. There they found Eric Norman, 25, shot in his head and back. He was pronounced dead at 11:20 a.m.

The suspect is a “black male, 25-35 years-of-age, 5’9″-5’11″, beard, husky build, wearing a blue Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) jacket with a reflective stripe around the arms and body, and gloves.” He is considered armed and dangerous. Read more »

University City District Report Says Parklets Enhance Neighborhoods

Photo credit: Dan Reed via Flickr

Photo credit: Dan Reed via Flickr

The elimination of parking space–even if it’s the loss of one or two spots–in a low-density neighborhood is not something drivers are likely to enjoy hearing, especially if their removal is for the purposes of a temporary Parklet. Unfortunately for them, a recently published report by the University City District reveals Parklets, a form of tactical urbanism, to be quite the improvement to most neighborhoods and businesses.

UCD case for parklets report 2015

Click to enlarge. | Chart screenshot from UCD’s report.

Using data gathered from six West Philly Parklets during the 2013 season, the report, called The Case for Parklets: Measuring the Impact on Sidewalk Vitality and Neighborhood Businesses, found them to bring “life to public spaces and more feet to neighborhood businesses,” as seen in their tendency for bringing in a sizable amount of users (including both patrons of nearby businesses and non-patrons), creating a “spillover” effect to sidewalks and other spaces (i.e. people stopping by to chat with parklet users), and boosting business sales for neighboring establishments (an average 20% increase in sales was seen for places near parklets). Furthermore, the report argues that because “it has been widely observed” that women are more discriminating when it comes to public spaces, the even number of female and male persons putting them to use shows that a sense of safety grows in the presence of a Parklet.

And those aren’t the only advantages neighborhoods get with their seasonal arrival…

“Icehouse” is Philadelphia’s Winter Pop-Up Tourist Attraction

icehouse-gawkers

“You ain’t ever gonna see anything like this again!” The man’s walking down the street with a spring in his step. He’s almost skipping. He’s excited. Everyone at the corner of 52nd and Locust is kind of excited. Everyone’s pulling out their cell phones — iPhones, Android phones, even one dude with an old flip phone — to snap a picture. Others have serious cameras out. It’s a mix of classes and races and ages, and everyone’s chatting and pointing out features on the building that I’ll call the Icehouse. Read more »

We Just Found a Snug (And Sled-Friendly!) Home in West Philly

TREND photos via the City Block Team.

TREND photos via the City Block Team.

If you’re not getting a half day off like some of the city’s younger residents as a result of the big snow engulfing us today, then, surely, you can take a moment to eye up this cozy Walnut Hill residence for, you know, future consideration.

The pristine townhome has been updated and contains five bedrooms, an office (or potential nursery?), separate dining room, and a sun porch with light-generous windows and exposed brick. Features of note include hardwood floors, original moldings, leaded glass windows, and both a front and rear yard, the latter of which has natural stone pavers.

But what makes it especially relevant today is its proximity to Clark Park, one of the city’s green spaces included in Philly Mag’s Ultimate Guide to Sledding in Philadelphia list! And even if the classic winter activity isn’t your thing, it’s still wonderfully situated: the El is just three short blocks up and restaurants dot nearby Spruce Street like snowflakes.

Click here to view the must-see gallery.

There’s a Japanese Girl Group with a Song Titled “West Philly”

Have you heard the latest track from Japanese girl group Especia? Unless you’re a big j-pop enthusiast, probably not. Fortunately, you can listen to it above: It’s called “West Philly.” I don’t know what they’re singing about, but journalistic research has taken me to this guess: West Philly.

Especia—Spanish for spice—is a relatively new Japanese pop group. They released their first album, Gusto, late last year. “West Philly” comes off the group’s first major-label “mini-album,” Primera.

Read more »

Developer Presents Plans for 24-Unit Apartment in West Philly

The propposed apartment is set to take the place of the former building at 4536 Spruce, which burned down in February 2011. Photo via Google Street View

The former building at 4536 Spruce, which burned down in February 2011.
Photo via Google Street View

During a meeting with the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee yesterday, developers behind a proposed 24-unit apartment building presented their plan, which is set to accommodate low-income residents, “particularly veterans” and replace the burned down building at 4536 Spruce, according to Mike Lyons at West Philly Local:

The Mission First Housing Group‘s building would include 24 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments aimed at people with a household income of $36,000 a year or less and is contingent on state funding. Mission First hopes to improve its chances for funding by going through the zoning process, which will require variances for building height, erecting a multi-family structure and not providing parking.

Lyons adds that the project would also offer both an indoor compactor and bike storage. Parking was not proposed.

Affordable housing plan at 46th and Spruce back in front of Spruce Hill zoning committee [West Philly Local]

Brand New Queen Lane Apartments Will Have Wednesday Groundbreaking

The demolished Queen Lane Apartments building via Google Street View.

The demolished Queen Lane Apartments building via Google Street View.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority has announced that it will break ground on the new Queen Lane Apartments development in Germantown on December 17th.

Expected to reach completion before this time next year, the project will consist of 55 apartment units with “a mix of low-rise flats, walkups, and townhouses.”

Read more »

Morning Headlines: 4601 Market Closer to Being New Police Headquarters

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

The Planning Commission approved a zoning change for 4601 Market earlier this week, which means the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building is closer to becoming the Philadelphia Public Safety Services campus.

PlanPhilly’s Matt Golas reports that breathing new life into the structure, which will eventually be the new headquarters of the Philadelphia Police Department, medical examiner’s office and city morgue, has “long been supported by the local preservation community” and that adaptively reusing the project is part of the city’s larger plan to revitalize neighborhoods:

Fulfilling the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s 2035 Plan goals, the campus will also employ stormwater management practices, enhance public space, and have easy access to SEPTA’s Market-Frankford EL 46th Street Station.

Read more »

The Onion Covers West Philadelphia Gentrification

From The Onion:

Despite modest increases in the west Philadelphia neighborhood’s property values over the past several years, residents of Walnut Hill told reporters Monday that the proprietors of Fireside Connections have definitely jumped the gentrification gun with their recently opened custom fireplace shop. …

“I guess these guys just looked around, saw a home brewery supply store and one boutique baby clothing shop, and thought this was the next step. But if you ask me, they really put the cart before the horse on this one. For crying out loud, we don’t even have a fresh pasta store yet.”

For the full article (the last line is the best):

Custom Fireplace Store Totally Jumps Gentrification Gun [The Onion]

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.

Read more »

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