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Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Borrowers encounter a torrent of words when applying for a mortgage. Some of them - the ones their loan officers say to them - can help them avoid headaches down the road.

The mortgage application process can be nerve-wracking, or it can go smoothly, depending on the relationship between the borrower and the lending officer. Tish Bonner, a mortgage officer with our funding partner, Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage, has seen borrowers make mistakes that cost them time, money and peace of mind in spite of her best efforts. In this series of articles on the mortgage process, Bonner addresses several common mistakes applicants make, starting with this one:

Not paying close attention to what your loan officer tells you.

Buying a home for the

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Yep, that's right! You're full of bologna and so are we! For today is


Just when you were thinking, "Gee, there aren't enough occasions to glorify my favorite cold cuts," here comes PhillyLiving with a reminder to celebrate your sausage. Bologna has been around since about the 1400s, originating from --drum roll, please-- Bologna, Italy. In its Italian form, it's known as mortadella and has bits of fat, peppercorns and sometimes pistachios. Mortadella is to bologna as turkey on the Thanksgiving table is to pressed turkey from the deli counter. However, Americans will always be proud that their version has its own theme song. Natives of the tri-county area should raise a glass of Mirto (a digestif made of the same spice

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The Daily News tackles gentrification in Philadelphia from all angles and discovers that while it's essential to the city's future, it's not an unalloyed good; on a related note, a former city housing director proposes a novel strategy for mitigating one of gentrification's downsides; Hidden City's Nathaniel Popkin takes in the (non-)monumental scope of Dilworth Park and pronounces it a fitting front door to City Hall, even if there are Issues with a few of the details; and if the rent's too damn high — and in most of the Western world's large cities, it is — one of these drastic measures might bring it down, but each presents its own new set of problems:

The Problems and the Promise: Gentrification in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Daily News|

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By day, Eastern State Penitentiary is a fascinating ruin, the relic of an experiment in prison reform gone wrong. But when the sun sets, the ghosts that inhabit it take over. They get the run of the place during Halloween season, and if you're brave enough, you can see them.

This is the last weekend before Halloween, which falls on the start of next weekend. So if you haven't had your really good scare yet, we recommend you get it in now and avoid the last-minute rush.

We know just the place to go: Eastern State Penitentiary. The moldering historic prison located between Francisville and Fairmount is the perfect setting for a fright-filled tour that will set your hair on edge.

And "Terror Behind the Walls," a horror-fan favorite for 23 years,

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"If you can't find 'em, grind 'em." That mild putdown has largely disappeared along with manual transmissions from the knowledge of most American drivers, and those "clutchless" tap-to-shift sticks won't bring it back either. But drivers of cars equipped with them can at least follow the instructions seen here easily. The question is: Do they need to? Our question is: In what local building can these instructions be found?

Answer next week.

Photo by the author

Last week's Hidden Treasure Hunt answer: That caduceus, even if used to indicate the wrong field here, was still a proper symbol to carve over the door of this building, for the staff associated with the Greek god Hermes and the Roman messenger god Mercury was also used as a symbol by

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BLT's SteelStacks adaptive-reuse project snags the Urban Land Institute's highest honor; Real estate market analysts put Liberty Property Trust on the hot seat for its lackluster performance over the past several years; Next City revisits the nation's first nonprofit supermarket, Philabundance-run Fare & Square in Chester, and finds that it's still scaling the learning curve; and the Preservation Alliance sounds the alarm for LOVE Park's "flying saucer" - yes, it's a Place to Save:

Bethlehem's SteelStacks complex receives prestigious real estate development award (The Express-Times|
Analysts grill Liberty Property executives on 3Q results amid "multi-year rut" (Philadelphia Business Journal) 
Nation's First Nonprofit Supermarket is

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The hammers may not be swinging as fast and furiously on the Spring Garden side of Fairmount Avenue as they are on the Francisville side of it, but they are swinging in several places. This project at 1720 Fairmount Ave. is one of the larger sites.

The building that will occupy this lot will have four stories with commercial space in the basement and on the first floor and 21 apartments on the upper three floors.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment got the ball rolling on this project when it approved a petition to combine the five lots at 1720-30 Fairmount Ave. into one lot and a variance to build a 48-foot-tall structure, higher than the lot's CMX-2 zoning allows, on Sept. 17 of last year. The actual zoning permits for both the lot line

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The Business Journal smells an Edge City in the making around Chadds Ford; the preliminaries (i.e., deconstruction) over, construction work has now officially begun on the former Provident Mutual insurance building, soon to be the new Philadelphia Police headquarters; if Philly can't fix the schools in its quest to become a truly family-friendly place, maybe it can fix its playgrounds; and someone is going to own Pat Croce's Villanova manse when the gavel finally bangs, most likely for a lot less than its original asking price. The rest of us can look at the pretty pictures and ooh and aah at the wretched excess:

Concord: Why it's hot (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Work on new police headquarters begins at 46th and Market (West Philly Local)
Using GIS

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Liberties Walk visitors should recognize this historic former church at 1026 N. 3rd St. But see that little structure and the fenced-in parking in front of it? Those proposed changes got a cool reception from neighbors and the NLNA Zoning Committee.

As followers of this blog should know, parking is a contentious issue in neighborhoods like Northern Liberties, where demand for living and working space is high and many of the new arrivals bring cars with them, causing competition for already limited on-street parking spaces.

That usually means that development proposals that lack what neighbors consider sufficient parking face rough going before the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association (NLNA) Zoning Committee.

But on occasion, proposals that

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