Philly’s Hot ‘Hoods

A primer on local gentrification

Old City is just one Philly neighborhood to have worn the uneasy crown of New Best Place to Live. Here, a brief, unofficial history of the other highs (and lows) of modern gentrification.

I.M. Pei designs
Society Hill Towers, reinventing Society Hill as an enclave of the city’s well-to-do.

Frank Rizzo & Co. spruce up the Manayunk canal; developers follow. In the ’80s, hilly -Manayunk becomes the coveted ’hood for young bar-goers. Parking still sucks.

Jack’s Firehouse brings chic dining—and real estate sizzle—to Fairmount.

Penn begins gobbling up parcels in West Philadelphia, resulting in a gradual (and controversial) rehab that comes to be known as “Penntrification.”

Johnny Brenda’s opens, stamping working-class Fishtown as the buzzy new face of cool.

After contemplating a strip mall for the site of the old Schmidt’s brewery in Northern Liberties, Bart Blatstein instead plans the Piazza at Schmidts, triggering the NoLibs gold rush.

The Center City condo boom goes bust, exemplified by the fire-sale auction of luxury units at the Murano.

Just over a year after opening chic JimmyStyle on East Passyunk, owner Jimmy Contreras closes his shop doors due to lack of business, making locals wonder if newly hip South Philly can sustain itself as the city’s hottest ’hood.