Lunchtime Quick Hits

The big real estate search engine deal everyone’s been talking about is official; the Inquirer’s real estate writer takes another stroll through the Land of the Undead; Contrary to common assumptions, John Longacre, head of the local bar owners’ trade group, doesn’t want to squash the pop-up beer gardens – he wants everyone, bar owner and nonprofit alike, to be able to get in on the act; and at least one native Philadelphia misses the gritty, grimy, decaying city of her youth:

Zillow to buy Trulia for $3.5B (Philadelphia Business Journal)
On the House: Tracking zombie houses (The Philadelphia Inquirer|
How the Pop-Ups can actually prop up their neighbors (Plan Philly)
Growing Up in Philadelphia: The Lost City (Philadelphia)

French expat expands colony in Wash West

Petit Roti window sign

The area around the intersection of 16th and Sansom streets, anchored by the Sofitel hotel, may be the city’s official “French Quarter” – or at least so the street signs say – but a case could be made that there are other quarters in this city that are even more French than that.

One is the northwest corner of 9th and Federal streets, where Rim Café has been offering a taste of the Riviera to delighted fans and customers for nearly a decade.

Another is now expanding on the southern half of the 200 block of South 11th Street in Washington Square West’s Midtown Village-Gayborhood section. (more…)

Posted by Sandy Smith on July 28th, 2014
Filed under: Articles,Center City,Food and Drink,Philadelphia real estate,Restaurants,Washington Square West

Cella Luxuria goes to work on its new addition

photo 1 (3)

In the spring, we reported that Cella Luxuria, the “metropolitan, modern, mindful” furniture retailer at 1214 Chestnut Street in Washington Square West’s Midtown Village-Gayborhood section, was giving itself a birthday present in the form of an expanded retail store.

We were on the 1200 block of Chestnut recently and noticed that work on the expanded space had gotten under way. (more…)

Posted by Sandy Smith on July 28th, 2014
Filed under: Articles,Center City,Philadelphia real estate,Shopping,Washington Square West

Phabulous Philly Home of the Week, II: 123 Church St.

Now that we have the latest renderings for this spectacular new home from the architect, we’d like to reintroduce you to this new construction home in Old City.

Living Room

Our second featured home of the week is a real stunner – a large, luxurious, elegant and stylish modern townhome in the neighborhood where Philadelphia was born.

This Old City home really does merit the phrase “it has to be seen to be believed.” But right now, the only place where you can see it is online, for it’s under construction, with completion scheduled for the end of the  year. (more…)

Phabulous Philly Home of the Week: 400-26 S. Broad St., #3001

Dining and Living Rooms

If you’ve always wanted to feel like you’re living on top of the world, now’s your chance to go for it.

Now on the market for the first time is this palatial bi-level penthouse condo atop the Symphony House, the Avenue of the Arts’ most prestigious address. (more…)

Posted by Sandy Smith on July 27th, 2014
Filed under: Articles,Center City,Philadelphia real estate,Sales

Buildings Then and Now: When the Grant ran out

1026-44 Market St

1026-44 Market St., the former W.T. Grant Co. store, today. Photo by the author.

You may have noticed that over the past few weeks, we’ve devoted some attention to America’s first mass general merchandisers, the “five and dime” stores that anchored many a neighborhood business district. All of the great variety-store chains of yesteryear are now gone; their former roles are now played by two distinct but similar businesses – discount department stores, several of which evolved from five-and-dimes, and “dollar stores” that offer a smaller selection of everyday needs at low prices.

The companies, however, survive, as do many of their buildings. (more…)

Posted by Sandy Smith on July 26th, 2014
Filed under: Articles,Center City

Lunchtime Quick Hits

“Separate but (not quite) equal” roars back to life in a Manhattan luxury condo development – by law, one columnist notes; Northern Liberties Neighbors Association Zoning Committee Chair Larry Freedman explains how his organization fights the scourge of the garage-front row home; speaking of parking, the only way we will know for sure whether the parking problem is as bad as many residents say it is, or whether we are managing our on-street parking properly, is to have accurate numbers anyone can crunch; and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules that home sellers can keep some ghosts haunting their properties firmly locked up in the closet:

NYC Approves Condo Development With ‘Poor Door’ (
How Northern Liberties is curbing garage-fronted rowhouse development (Eyes on the Street blog|Plan Philly)
Parking Wars: Ignoring The Parking Problem Without Studying It Is Foolish For Philadelphia’s Future (This Old City)
Home sellers don’t have to disclose murders, says state Supreme Court (Philadelphia Business Journal)



Are Bromley mill repairs a harbinger of more to come?


In August 2012, several months before the fire at the former Buck Hosiery factory in East Kensington, Jesse Muñoz bought the John Bromley & Sons Ingrain Carpet factory, aka Bromley mill, or “white elephant,” across the street from the doomed factory at 2301 N. Front St. Redeveloping the Bromley mill had been his dream for years.

With information scant on Philadelphia’s Licenses and Inspections Web site and not much on the meeting minutes at the East Kensington Neighbors Association, one can only make an educated guess at what’s going at the factory—and that is that Muñoz is following through with his plan to transform the building into condos. (more…)

Posted by Matt Stringer on July 25th, 2014
Filed under: East Kensington,Philadelphia real estate,Points of Interest,Real Estate Market,Sales

Transformation of 1100 block of Chestnut Street now underway

The site of the Brickstone project at 1116-28 Chestnut Street

The site of the Brickstone project at 1116-28 Chestnut Street. The Oppenheim, Collins store at 1128, the one building that will remain standing when the project is complete, is the second from the right.

The 1100 block of Chestnut Street in Washington Square West’s Midtown Village-Gayborhood section contains a mish-mash of low-end discount establishments, long-vacant department stores, and some government agency offices, like the PGW office in the former Snellenburg’s parking garage on the north side. Its southern side, marred with graffiti is an orphaned row of buildings surrounded on all sides by a burgeoning real estate market from Delaware Avenue all the way to the outskirts of West Philadelphia. (more…)

You aren’t dreaming: Philly’s tax burden is high

The Actual Value Initiative may have made city property taxes fairer and more equal, but it also contributed to the city's second-place ranking among large U.S. cities for highest overall tax burden.

The Actual Value Initiative may have made city property taxes fairer and more equal, but it also contributed to the city’s second-place ranking among large U.S. cities for highest overall tax burden.

Among the pledges that carried Mayor Michael Nutter to victory in 2007 was a pledge to resume the cuts in wage taxes instituted under Mayor Ed Rendell. The Great Recession knocked those plans into a cocked hat, and the more recent Actual Value Initiative (AVI) property tax reassessment reminded many Philadelphians anew of one of the downsides of living in the City of Brotherly Love.

Now comes statistical confirmation of those Philadelphians’ complaints. (more…)

Posted by Sandy Smith on July 24th, 2014
Filed under: Articles,Philadelphia real estate,Real Estate Market
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