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Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Living room and kitchen

It's like new construction, with one difference: You can move into this soaring, spacious Northern Liberties townhome right now.

View of living room from kitchen

That's because it was finished one short year ago, and it's in pristine condition as a result. And its design is truly original—you'll have to search far and wide to find spaces like these in Philadelphia.

Living room


The most breathtaking space is the living room, with its dramatic two-story-high ceiling and expansive window wall looking out on a landscaped rear patio.


Overlooking the living room is a spacious eat-in kitchen with balconies on two sides. The kitchen is nicely outfitted with 42-inch-wide maple cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and plenty of natural light from the oversize

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B&O Chestnut Street Station, 1959 The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Chestnut (24th) Street Station in 1959, the year after passenger service ended. Photo from Library of Congress collection.

By Matty Stringer

Frank Furness buildings are something like diamonds in Philadelphia—rare. His eccentric, muscular style of design was popular in a Victorian era devoid of originality and beset by imitation. Unfortunately, by the 1920s, his work fell out of fashion, and most of his buildings fell like dominoes, one by one.

Many fine pieces of architecture rose in their place, but that isn't true for 2400 Chestnut, the 34-story modernist behemoth that blocks out the skyline and casts its shadow over the now-burgeoning Schuylkill River Trail, where a pedestrian boardwalk hovers over the river,

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Now Available:
Philly Living Quarterly Market Report for Q4 2014

A comprehensive guide to sales and statistics for the 4th quarter of 2014.

  • Average Home Sale Price
  • Highest Home Sale Price
  • Average Days on Market
  • Number of Homes Sold
  • Analysis of Year over Year Fluctuations
  • Market Forecast for Q1 2015

Use this comprehensive report to help decide whether to sell or reinvest in your home or investment property.

Areas covered in this report:

  • Center City
  • Rittenhouse
  • Queen Village/Bella Vista
  • Grad Hospital/Fitler Square
  • Northern Liberties/Fishtown
  • Art Museum/Fairmount
  • University City
  • Manayunk/Roxborough/East Falls
  • Chestnut Hill/Mt. Airy

Click Here to Download the Report

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We've taken note of this shield mounted over a building entrance door several times, and it's always struck us as nautical in character. Look at the way the ropes cross one another sinuously, as though they were piled on the deck of a boat. But they're not piled on the deck of a boat. Rather, they're laid out in an orderly fashion to serve as the logo of a company. Did this company outfit ships? It would seem a logical function for a firm that built its logo out of rope. We bet at least one of you knows the answer to that question, as well as the location of this logo and the company name reflected in it.


Answer next week.

Photo by the author

Last week's Hidden Treasure Hunt answer: Given how busy the 100 block of South 16th Street in the

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Can't get enough of Norman Foster? Penn Medicine has good news for you; Allan Domb has finally found a tenant for that "prime retail space" in the South 16th Street building he completely rebuilt; Hidden City offers the history of the lot on Girard Avenue that will become a new mixed-use development with 53 apartments and retail space (Philly Living Blog, Dec. 29); and Squirrel Hill residents' Hail Marys get answered as the Church of the Atonement gets a last-minute reprieve from demolition:

Penn Health System picks development team, 'starchitect' for hospital expansion (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Exclusive: New Asian restaurant coming to Center City (Philadelphia Business Journal) 
J.T. Riley Lumberyard Yields to Mixed-Use Development (Hidden City

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mortgage keyword cloudThere are a number of terms you may hear bandied about as you prepare to apply for a mortgage, but the most important one is a number.

If you have applied for credit or loans, chances are you have heard someone, most likely the lender, refer to your "FICO score" or "credit score."

This is a three-digit number that carries a lot of weight with lenders, including your mortgage lender. It's the first hurdle you must clear in order to get a mortgage at a low rate, or even to get one at all.

Your credit score can vary from a low of 300 to a high of 850. The most widely used one was created by Fair Isaac Corporation; this is the "FICO score." Some lenders may combine it with information from your application or your past track record with the lender to

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Former A.F. Bornot dry cleaning plant and dye worksThe old home of A.F. Bornot, French Dyer and Scourer, at 17th Street and Fairmount Avenue today. Photo by the author.

By Matty Stringer

Did Brewerytown developer MMPartners rummage through the archives of mysterious Philaphile architectural blogger GroJLart in its search for fine old buildings to develop? It might have, given its recent announcement that it will redevelop a handsome former industrial building in Spring Garden once featured on Philaphilia.

Back in August 2012, GrojLart wrote about the old A.F. Bornot dry cleaning plant and dye works at 17th Street and Fairmount Avenue, and wished someone would come along and bring this building back to life with residences and even some retail on the street level. Well, he (or she) is about to be

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1617 Poplar St

By Gabriel Gottlieb

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted to approve variances for a new apartment building on Poplar Street in Francisville at a hearing on Jan. 7.  The building will replace a large empty lot which takes up most of the north side of the 1600 block of Poplar.  The site is near Ridge Avenue and several other new developments in Francisville.

David Orphanides, attorney for developers FNC Properties and SJ Lofts, presented details of the 1617-33 Poplar St. project to the board.  The new building will rise five stories and 58 feet high to the roof and 61 feet high to the top of the building’s parapets.  The building will have 46 units, including three studio units, 27 one-bedroom units, and 16 two-bedroom units.  

View of project from west


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A variant on Parkinson's Law appears to be at work at Comcast, where employment expands to fill the space the company builds to accommodate employees; New Jersey taps the man who shepherded Detroit through its bankruptcy to oversee a state takeover of Atlantic City's finances; The owners of a Horace Trumbauer-designed Gothic Revival skyscraper on the Avenue of the Arts have decided to cash in on their investment; and while we're sure there's a Philly landlord out there who's willing to let a tenant "take it out in trade" to cover his or her rent, we doubt that landlord's this brazen:

Comcast to occupy entire new skyscraper (Philadelphia Business Journal) 
Kevyn Orr tapped to help struggling Atlantic City (Detroit Free Press) 
230 S. Broad St. in Center

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Your credit report is a history of your use of debt and how well you have managed your finances over time. Every lender who has either loaned you money or opened a revolving line of credit (one that can be reused as it is paid down, like a credit card) reports the status of your loan or credit account to the major credit reporting agencies. Other lenders can then request copies of your report to see how well you have managed your debts.

Your credit history shows the types of credit you use, how long your accounts have been open, whether you pay your bills on time, and whether you have sought or are seeking to take on additional debt or open a new credit line. Unless you use just one bank for all your financial services, it gives a more complete

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