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June 2012

There are 99 blog entries for June 2012.

Buildings Then and Now: Drexel University Main Building

The mission of the Drexel Institute, as it was called then, was outlined clearly by Chauncey DePew, who would become Senator from New York state in seven short years. Drexel, he said, would focus on producing graduates who would go on to careers in industry and the sciences. It would give a practical education and ensure that its graduates would be well equipped to find work and success upon receiving their diploma. He said: “The Drexel Institute is not a charity. It neither offends the proud nor encourages the pauper. This school will give him a full mind and healthy body. It will so equip him and open avenues for his energies that instead of dynamiting the successful he will be himself a…
4,178 Views, 0 Comments.

1700 Market looks to improve its street presence

1700 Market new pavilion The corner of 17th and Market is well known for its plentiful plaza space for people to congregate, smoke, and enjoy one of the nearby streetside food vendors.  But if developers have their way, a new dramatic retail pavilion will be added 10 the 1700 Market office building, all but removing the current plaza space. When complete, the new space will include 20,000 square feet of divisible new retail space and a 7,500 rooftop with green roof features for possible restaurant dining space.  And based on the renderings, the new pavilion will feature impressive steel and glass architecture and significant ceiling heights.  Developers believe this new space will help establish a link between Rittenhouse Row,…
4,114 Views, 0 Comments.

So long, Wistar Institute vivarium; hello, Wistar atrium

Wistar 1 The old vivarium, a part of the Wistar Institute in University City built in 1975, has been pulverized. A giant hole has replaced the once state-of-the-art building. The original Wistar Institute, a beautiful terra cotta-and-brick Victorian building at 3601 Spruce St. built in 1894 and focused on biomedical research, will remain. So will the cancer research center next to the now-vaporized vivarium. New Wistar tower From the footprint of the old vivarium, a new and contemporary seven-story, 89,700-square-foot silhouetted building will reach for the sky both figuratively and literally in the realms of science and health, featuring larger, state-of-the-art research laboratories that can be reconfigured to meet…
2,480 Views, 0 Comments.

NLNA clears way for homes on North 5th Street, more or less

View of site from Orkney, looking towards Fifth A parking lot on North Fifth Street and a former industrial building on Orkney Street will sprout houses later this year now that the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association has given its blessing to a proposed 22-unit townhome development on the site. A few obstacles remain, however, before the project can break ground. The most serious one involves a property-line dispute with an adjacent house on North Fifth, but the developer and the property owner are in discussions aimed at ironing out the dispute. The discussion of the proposal, which made its second trip to the NLNA Zoning Committee on June 26, was a textbook demonstration that nothing is ever final, however. The developer made the…
1,783 Views, 0 Comments.

New multi-family project promises to inject new life to southern G-Ho

2551-45 Grays Ferry Ave If all goes according to plan, Metro Impact will soon rehabilitate a two-story rowhouse at 2551 Grays Ferry Avenue in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.  Developers plan to add an additional story to the structure, making room for a total of three residential units.  While this project might sound small in scale and seem like just another renovation in the ever-changing Graduate Hospital neighborhood, it actually represents larger issues pertaining to challenges developers face in urban areas and speaks to the problem with Philly’s Euclidean zoning system. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="2549 and 2551 Grays Ferry Avenue as they appeared in 1922"]2549-51 Grays Ferry in 1922
2,207 Views, 0 Comments.

City Council passes budget, raises property tax 3.6%

Greenfield School in Center City The magic number is 3.6. City Council officially passed a budget of $3.6 billion this afternoon, which dismisses Michael Nutter's property assessment reform for another year, as we have been reporting. However, we will see a 3.6 percent increase on property taxes. This is the third tax increase in the last three years and it will raise $20 million for the School District of Philadelphia. Add that to the $20 million stemming from an increase in the Use and Occupancy tax on businesses (approved by Council last week) and the district will secure $40 million in new money for the next fiscal year. Seems pretty positive -- but it unfortunately still falls short of the $94 million goal toward an overall…
1,870 Views, 0 Comments.

You'll want to live in Philly in 2032 - if we play our cards right

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="With smart investments in education and urban amenities and a focus on creating job opportunities, it could well be "always sunny in Philadelphia" 20 years hence."]Center City skyline at night[/caption] When Gov. Ed Rendell launched a contest back in 2003 to pick a new tourism slogan for Pennsylvania, your blogger submitted the following entry: "Experience Yesterday's Tomorrow Today." We are pleased to report that this statement no longer applies to the southeastern part of the state. This city, where the past is ever present, has its mind very much on its future - and if the experts are any guide, that future looks brighter than we all may think it…
2,312 Views, 0 Comments.

QVNA guides residents through AVI debate, quells fears

Property taxes   In a recent email to neighbors and friends, the QVNA reiterated that City Council has listened to the voice of the thousands of residents who implored them to “do AVI right, not recklessly.” As such, City Council has delayed the (inevitable) implementation of the new property tax system until the assessment data are available.   The email continued to explain that Council’s decision to raise additional revenue by instituting a 3.6% property tax and a 19% increase in the Use & Occupancy Tax paid by commercial landlords was based on its recognition of the financial crisis in the school district. The QVNA believes that while this solution is not necessarily ideal, it does present a better option…
1,709 Views, 0 Comments.

Graduate Hospital YMCA expands, activates vacant building

The Christian Street YMCA Over the past ten years, the Graduate Hospital neighborhood has undergone significant changes and gentrification.  In doing so, it has become one of Philadelphia’s most popular places for young families to move to and raise children.  Seeing this phenomenon take place and realizing the need for an increase in after school activities for children, the already popular Christian Street YMCA is spreading its wings and activating an adjacent vacant building at the corner of 18th and Christian streets. The building used to house a small-scale restaurant but has since been under control of the YMCA, which has long wanted to use the space for after school activities for neighborhood children.  Those…
2,497 Views, 0 Comments.

Hidden Treasure Hunt: We'd love to park here

First in an occasional series on great places and spaces you probably haven't noticed in your travels around the city. Well, at least we haven't noticed them.

Philadelphia is full of buildings with interesting details and spaces tucked away in plain sight. Here's one of the latter. Can you tell us where this picture was taken?

Hidden Treasure Hunt Photo 1
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