Archive for the ‘Queen Village’ Category

Fabric Row rehab adds apartments to existing building

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

614-16 S 4th

A mixed-use structure at 614-16 S. 4th Street, on Queen Village’s historic Fabric Row, is getting alterations.

The building, which contains retail space on the first floor and apartments on the two floors above, has been gutted and is being expanded at its rear. (more…)

Weekend Winners: April 18-20

Friday, April 18th, 2014
The Oval returns for a second season of outdoor fun with Farm Fest today and tomorrow. Expect more events like this every weekend from now through the late fall. Photos by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia.

The Oval returns for a second season of outdoor fun with Farm Fest today and tomorrow. Expect more events like this every weekend from now through the late fall. Photos by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia.

Farm-themed fun, flea markets and finery are on tap this weekend.

Friday, April 18

Down on the farm on the Oval: The first weekend of the 2014 season of the Oval brings a touch of the country to the city with “Farm Fest,” a weekend full of farm-ified food, music and activities for folks of all ages. This evening, visitors to the Oval can enjoy street fare from a variety of food trucks, beer from the Victory Brewpub Mobile Beer Garden, music from the Highwater Preachers and a screening of the made-in-Philly film Witness. Tomorrow, the festival has an Easter theme with plenty of kid-friendly events, including an Easter egg hunt, a petting zoo and tree-climbing. There’s also live clogging, blues-rock music and a food-truck feast.

Farm Fest at The Oval: 5 to 9 p.m. tonight and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow at Eakins Oval, 24th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway opposite the Art Museum. Free.

Saturday, April 19

Strawbridge’s comes alive again: We don’t think it’s a stretch at all to say that Franklin Flea, the emporium that made its debut last fall on the first floor of the former Strawbridge & Clothier department store, is actually channeling the ghost of Stockton Strawbridge. The family patriarch wanted his store to be a place of wonder and discovery, and that’s exactly what Franklin Flea offers with its eclectic mix of merchants offering vintage goods and original creations. Its six-week indoor season, which starts today, will offer a changing mix of sellers each Saturday, thus keeping the experience fresh with every visit. New this spring is the Franklin Stove, a food booth that will give a different local chef each week a chance to shine. Inaugurating that space today will be Eli Kulp of High Street on Market.

Franklin Flea: 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today and every Saturday through May 24 at the former Strawbridge & Clothier, 801 Market St. Free to enter; merchandise and food as priced.

Sunday, April 20

A South Street tradition returns: Philly’s oldest Easter parade returns to South Street for the 83rd time today. Put on your Easter Sunday best and make your way to 5th and South streets for the start of the South Street Easter Promenade at 12:30 p.m. From there, the parade heads down South Street to the plaza at 2nd Street, where judges will choose the best dressed promenaders in a dozen different age and gender categories, not to mention best-dressed pooch. The festivities include live performances from the Philadelphia Freedom Band, Easter treats, a “Bunny Hop” and more. And it’s all over around 2:30 p.m., giving you time to enjoy Easter brunch.

The 83rd Annual Easter Promenade: Parade steps off from Passyunk Avenue and South Street at 12:30 p.m. and ends at the 2nd Street plaza. Free.

Queen Village: A Residential Neighborhood Guide

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

One of Philadelphia’s oldest residences, Southwark’s Queen Village, has recently been through a renaissance that has transformed it into a more gentrified neighborhood. The hipster restoration gives way to an up and coming neighborhood with a contemporary 21st century energy. The Queen Village neighborhood still has plenty of charm, preserved by the picturesque boutiques and cultural festivals that wrap around the residential homes. Trees line the narrow street blocks for a homey feel and the waterfront location offers a world-class view for residents.

The neighborhood is perfect for the urban dwellers, young professionals, and families to set roots and call it home. Described as quaint and quietly upscale, living in Queen Village means living in a safe neighborhood with many child-friendly locations. One of the advantages of calling Queen Village Home is that the neighborhood thrives on walkability, and can be navigated easily on bicycle or by foot. Grocery shops, shopping areas and exciting nightlife are only a short distance away from your doorstep.

From Queen Village’s Bustling Nightlife Scene to Hot Cultural Attractions

Living in Queen Village PhiladelphiaFrom its evolution from Wiccacco to Queens Village, the neighborhood has been able to retain its historical roots while keeping up with the trends. Now, Queen Village is synonymous with a chic lifestyle. The neighborhood is peppered with many historical sites, galleries, and art exhibits to marvel at. One of the more notorious business hubs in Philadelphia is Fabric Row. Located on South 4th Street, Fabric Row is distinguished as one of the most prominent manufacturing centers of the world. The stores offer amazing material resources and many non-textile products.

Alongside popular venues, Queen Village also enjoys a close proximity to Center City, sitting south to the popular neighborhood. However, Queen Village residents won’t have to travel far to get an amazing range of retail shops and eateries. Near Queen Village lays South Street, which is affectionately known as one of Philly’s hippest streets and makes for a popular hangout spot. With more than 300 stores and restaurants available for the picking, the possibilities for a night out are endless.

Likewise, if a night out is not what you seek, there are plenty of cultural opportunities to take in for viewing as well. One of Philadelphia’s popular art galleries is Philadelphia Magic Garden, a beautifully mosaicked art environment featuring art from Isaiah Zagar. Dubbed a “bohemian wonderland,” the artist purchased and renovated buildings, putting his artwork on the walls. His largest work is for display with mosaicked gallery spaces and a sculpture garden that covers half a block on South Street. The art pieces comprise of glass bottles, bicycle wheels, folk art statues, and embedded text within the walls. With such a large array of home and nightlife options available, living in Queen Village has never seemed better.

Mayor Nutter’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods Campaign

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Mayor Nutter Philadelphia Neighborhoods Campaign

Those of you used to all talk and no action from your politicians might want to sit down a minute. Mayor Michael Nutter has proven repeatedly that he is not that type of politician, and his recent endeavor to promote Philadelphia tourism through his Philadelphia Neighborhoods Campaign has been an excellent illustration of the sort of hands-on action we’ve learned to

expect from Mayor Nutter.

This effort on the Mayor’s part seeks to reintroduce Philadelphians to their city while offering those not living in Philly a peek at all the City has to offer. The tour takes Mayor Nutter through various Philadelphia neighborhoods by trolley. He visited fourteen “visitor-ready” Philadelphia neighborhoods that are considered excellent examples of the success of the Philadelphia revitalization efforts of his administration.

Mayor Nutter revealed the motivations behind the Philadelphia Neighborhoods Campaign, saying, “Great neighborhoods make a great city; Passyunk is one of the great neighborhoods in Philadelphia.”

Bella Vista – With its famous Italian Market, many Italian delis and cafes, Bella Vista is a family-friendly residential neighborhood with plenty of family businesses and amazing food to be sampled and savored.

Callowhill – Restaurants and music venues provide an active nightlife fueled by the local artist populations, making this Philadelphia neighborhood a hit for those seeking a bite, a drink, and live music.

Cedar Park – Multicultural eateries provide a sample of the world’s best foods in Cedar Park. A stroll through this neighborhood presents classic Victorian architecture and a true taste of Philly’s diversity.

East Passyunk – This Philadelphia neighborhood provides an array of the city’s most popular bars and restaurants, giving it an active day and nightlife. For a great steak or an excellent margarita, head down to East Passyunk.

Fairmount – Philly’s fine arts center, Fairmount features the Philadelphia Museum of Art and such historic sites as Eastern State Penitentiary. Fairmount is truly a Philadelphia neighborhood that capture Philly’s artsy character.

Fishtown – Fishtown may not have the most enticing name of all Philadelphia neighborhoods, but its history of involvement in the commercial fishing industry does not belie the many independent businesses and restaurants to be enjoyed on its narrow streets.

Graduate Hospital – Classic Philadelphia brick construction and myriad eateries and taverns make Graduate Hospital a Philadelphia neighborhood worth revisiting if you have not in some time.

Northern Liberties – Have we mentioned Philadelphians love their food? Northern Liberties is a Philadelphia neighborhood that has been on the up-and-up since the 90s, encouraging a great local dining culture and nightlife.

Pennsport – Donuts, delis, hoagies, and cheesesteaks are just the beginning of the authentic Philly offerings available in Pennsport. This neighborhood is considered up-and-coming thanks to a recent increase in those moving from the ‘burbs to Pennsport.

Powelton Village – Beautiful houses and local businesses with a lot of personality are what you’ll find in Powelton Village, a lovely Philadelphia neighborhood often overlooked by tourists.

Queen Village – For a more mature experience of fine dining and casual cocktails in a neighborhood that houses some of Philly’s oldest residences, visit Queen Village an upscale Philly neighborhood with an older population.

Spring Garden – Spring Garden is just north of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, giving it a secluded, calmer feel. Its tree-lined streets and comfy cafes are excellent environments for a relaxing afternoon.

Spruce Hill – Capturing the big, bold character of West Philly, Spruce Hill is the neighborhood to visit. Full of eccentrics from artists to entrepreneurs and passionate athletes, this Philadelphia neighborhood captures Philly’s individualistic spirit.

University City – Home to Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, University City is the heart of academia in Philly, offering residents and visitors great parks populated with students and the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Relocating to Philly? Here’s some advice

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Center City Philadelphia at night

With cheesesteaks, the World Champion Phillies and a show that gives you a glimpse of what life can be like if you run a bar (maybe not your typical bar) in the city, it’s no reason that more and more people are starting to call Philadelphia home. As the 5th largest city in the United States, Philadelphia is home to more than 1.5 million people, and another 4 million people in the Greater Philadelphia metro area. Residents include young and old professionals, mega sports fans, university students and just about any other type demographic you can think of.

Before you get here, it is important to realize that there are four main areas of Philadelphia, all of which would be perfect places to plant your roots. Below, we will describe each of these boroughs in an effort to help you decide which one you would feel most comfortable in.

The Four Districts

The first is Philadelphia’s downtown area, known to the locals as Center City. Like most downtown business districts, Center City is where you’ll find most of the city’s tallest buildings and major employers. Center City is also where many professionals live and socialize among historical row houses and trendy store fronts. Professionals living in Center City will enjoy active nightlife, trendy restaurants, and excellent shopping.

Second on the list is South Philly. This area is home to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the Philadelphia Sports Complex, and the Italian market that may be responsible for some of the city’s best Italian food (if you are an Always Sunny fan, this may be the area for you).

One of the most popular parts of Philadelphia is University City. As you can probably tell by the name, this neighborhood in West Philadelphia surrounds Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania and is mainly where students attending one of these colleges reside.

The last district on our list is Mayanuk. Much like University City, this area is full of university students. Temple University and Penn students may find this neighborhood near the Schuylkill River super convenient.

Now hopefully you have chosen which section of Philadelphia you are going to relocate to. And while that is a relief, now comes the hard part, actually moving. There are many steps one must take to ensure a smooth move, but one that most don’t consider (and may be the most important) is renting a Philadelphia storage unit.

Many of these residents use Philadelphia self-storage for additional space at an affordable rate. Living in any of the regions mentioned above will more than likely require the convenience of a storage unit. For example, in Center City, residents have trouble finding parking so they use self-storage for keeping their vehicles. If you’re a student at one of the many colleges and universities located in University City or Mayanuk, you may find it easier to access a storage unit located nearby than cramming all your belongings into your dorm or apartment.

When choosing self-storage in Philadelphia, you may be tempted to save money by reserving a unit in another suburb away from you. However, remember that this option is usually only practical if you have access to transportation and won’t need to get into your storage unit frequently. Compare facilities prices online and weigh cost vs. convenience to make sure you are getting the best deal. Your goal should be to find the right unit in the best location for the lowest price, simplifying your moving experience to a tolerable level.

This article was written by Matt Schexnayder. Matt is on the SpareFoot marketing team and writes for the SpareFoot blog. SpareFoot is the largest online marketplace for self-storage with more than 5,000 facilities listed nation-wide. 

Confused about Philly neighborhoods? There’s a map for that

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Philadelphia Neighborhoods on Google Maps

The Philadelphia Neighborhoods project on Google Maps

In Philadelphia, neighborhoods matter. (Not that they don’t elsewhere.) They confer – or deny – status to residents and property, which is why (1) arguments over which blocks are in which neighborhoods can get heated (2) residents of neighborhoods as varied as Point Breeze and Southwark coined new names for their communities in the hopes of erasing perceived stigmas.

To help people sort things out, the Philadelphia Neighborhoods collaborative project launched on Google Maps seeks to delineate the boundaries of every Philadelphia neighborhood. Like a wiki, anyone can add to or edit it, which should ultimately make it a pretty accurate guide to what blocks belong where.

The project currently has two maps active. Users might want to use the second to mark subsidiary communities within larger neighborhoods, such as Spruce Hill in University City, the Devil’s Pocket in Southwest Center City or the Gayborhood (or Midtown Village) in Washington Square West. Just be prepared for others to challenge you once you define their boundaries.

Philadelphia real estate market: First quarter trends

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Philadelphia Real EstateEven though the real estate market has been tumultuous for many recently, Philadelphia somehow seems to be doing much better compared to most other parts of the country. The local market has some activity, as in housing is being purchased and seeing increases. Additionally, construction of new single-family homes continues to go up, especially in the suburbs.

One point of prosperity in the Philly real estate market lies in the increase in existing home sales into December. December 2011 took in about five more percent of existing sales than December 2010 did. Sales from the end of last year thus far have been positive. This is something the housing market needs momentously. Thus far in 2012, there hasn’t been a significant increase in homes purchased but there is certainly a growing interest in property expected to take place. 

On the seller’s side, there is hope that rising apartment rental rates could drive some potential buyers back into the fold in 2012. The average rental rate for all Philadelphia apartments has gone up nearly eight percent in the last year alone. This equals an increase of nearly $80 in the past year alone. The thought is that those individuals or couples on the fence about renting and buying could take a more serious look at buying, especially with today’s mortgage rates.

Reports have shown that mortgage rates have been hitting record lows throughout the country, as well as here in Philadelphia, which is certainly inviting for potential buyers. Right now, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is coming with 4.007 APR. With mortgage rates being this low and rentals continuing to increase in price, there is hope that some buyers will begin to see the benefits of buying in early 2012.

Right now, Philadelphia’s top selling areas have remained the northwestern and western areas of Center City. However, other parts of Philadelphia have retained their value attracting buyers and keeping the market going.

Right now, the big issue the city faces is sale prices, specifically for sellers. It is important to note that even though sales prices have dropped in this area, they have not plummeted as much as other cities across the country.

 

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square, in western Center City, continues to show strength

In the coming months, there is reason to be optimistic that these prices can get a small pickup. Median prices were down about six percent in December from the previous year, but this could have been expected. The months of November and December are generally regarded as slow months for real estate anyway, but the numbers shouldn’t have too heavy an impact on the rest of the first quarter of 2012.

A glance at the early trends in 2012 Philadelphia real estate is truly a mixed bag right now. Coming off the month of December is usually not pretty for any market; however, the Philly market has looked rather stable in the early part of the year. Regardless, it should remain to be seen if factors such as mortgage rates, rising rental rates and an increase in existing home sales can positively influence the market for both buyers and sellers throughout the first half of 2012. 

–By Emma Crawford, special to PhillyLiving.com

Five fun things to do this weekend

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Besides brunch, that is.

There’s never a lack of good things to do on a weekend in Philadelphia. This weekend, of course, one of them is First Friday, the monthly gallery-hop/street fair that takes place all over Old City. But we’ve written about that before as well. So assuming that as Item One, here are four other events you might want to check out:

2. and 3. Get your groove on. Make tonight an all-night dance party! Start with this month’s Art After 5 event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring homeboy DJ Cosmo Baker. He may live in Brooklyn now, but he remains true to his Philly roots, spinning a mix of hip-hop, disco, funk, R&B and reggae. And when you need to take a break, there’s cocktails, light snacks and supper, and a stupendous collection of art all around you. Then head down to South Street for Sex Dwarf, Robert Drake’s long-running dance party featuring those choice New Wave hits that got you through the ’80s in one piece. (Missed that decade? All the more reason you should go.)
Art After 5: 5 to 8:45 p.m. at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Free with Museum admission.
Sex Dwarf:  9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Fluid, 613 South 4th Street. Free before 10 p.m., $5 after 10.

4. C’mon over to the dark side. Bikinis, bikers and blackness are all on the bill of this month’s Secret Cinema program, which celebrates the outlaw biker ethos of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Opening the night is “Trailer Trash,” a collection of carefully selected trailers for some of the classics of the genre: “Wild In the Streets,” “Devil’s Angels,” “Mondo Teeno,” “You Only Live Twice” – wait, isn’t that James Bond? – and more. These set the stage for the evening’s feature, “The Black Angels” – Laurence Merrick’s 1970 mashup of the biker flick and the blaxploitation picture in which rival biker gangs make turf war and race war one and the same.
Secret Cinema: Saturday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. at International House, 3701 Chestnut Street. Tickets $9, students/seniors $7, International House members free.

5. Go for Baroque with Maniaci. Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia’s baroque orchestra, goes cross-cultural this weekend with “Italians in Vienna,” a concert featuring works written by Italian composers imported to Vienna by the Hapsburg court. Joining the chamber players once again is tenor Michael Maniaci, hailed by the Toronto Globe and Mail as “one of the greatest singers of his generation,” who last performed with Tempesta di Mare in 2006. Pre-concert talks by Wendy Heller of Princeton University fill you in on the cultural ferment that made Vienna such a happening place in the Baroque era.
Tempesta di Mare: Saturday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. (talk at 7 p.m.) at Arch Street Friends Meeting, 320 Arch Street, and Sunday, Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. (talk at 3 p.m.) at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue. Tickets $25 and $35, seniors $20, students $10, school-age children (grades 3-12) free. 

–Sandy Smith

Highlights from the Philly Living Market Action Report, 4th Quarter 2011

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

On the whole, it’s still a good time to buy if you are in the market for real estate in Philadelphia. But some market conditions are beginning to trend more favorably for sellers as well.

That’s our reading of the data in the latest Philly Living Market Action Report.  Our quarterly guide to real estate market trends in Center City and surrounding Philadelphia neighborhoods offers grounds for cautious optimism in the months to come. While sales volume is down for the quarter relative to the previous year, it is up significantly from the previous month and quarter, running counter to the usual end-of-year downturn. The average selling price for homes in Center City and environs rose significantly from last quarter and one year ago, while the median selling price fell slightly in both cases. This suggests that buyers on the whole are still looking for value, even though a few opted for properties at the upper end of the scale.

In terms of prices, the highest prices continue to be commanded in the city’s two most desirable neighborhoods: Rittenhouse Square (19103) and Chestnut Hill (19118). Worth noting, however, is a continued, sustained upward trend in median selling prices in Southwest Center City and Point Breeze (19146), reflecting especially increased activity in the latter neighborhood.

Inventory continues to decline, offering the prospect of better prices for sellers in the months to come, but days on market rose slightly, suggesting buyers are still waiting sellers out. Sale price-to-list price ratio also dropped slightly from last year and last quarter but held steady from the previous month.

For full details on activity in Philadelphia’s neighborhood housing markets, request a copy of the latest Market Action Report at phillyliving.com/report.

Philadelphia street scene by Adam Jones, Ph.D., used under a Creative Commons license

It’s Official: Philly Housing Market Is Improving

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Residential street in Center City PhiladelphiaThere are now 76 markets where the real estate picture is expected to look better in the months to come, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index, released Jan. 9. The Philadelphia real estate market is one of those 76.

The addition of 40 metro areas to the monthly list of improving markets suggests that the fitful housing market recovery is spreading beyond the smaller markets that were not as heavily affected by the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008. Last month, there were 41 cities on the list. (Five of those – Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Canton, Ohio; Scranton, Pa., and Charleston, W. Va. – dropped off the list.)

“While relatively small metropolitan areas continue to dominate the list of improving housing markets, it’s important to note that several major metros in diverse parts of the country have now joined the field as well – including such metros as Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville and Philadelphia,”NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a news release. “This is an encouraging sign that gradually strengthening economic conditions are starting to take hold across a broader swath of America.”

The NAHB and title insurer First American base the index on trends in three categories: employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and growth in single-family housing construction permits from the U.S. Census Bureau. A metro area that has had six consecutive months of growth from a prior trough in all three areas gets added to the index.

What does this mean for you, the Philadelphia home owner or buyer? If you are in the latter camp, we suggest you accelerate your house-hunting timetable if you can. While home price growth is forecast to be modest for the year ahead, prices are expected to rise, and that means that you are more likely to get the home you want at a great price now than later. If you are a home owner, talk with your Realtor about the ideal time to put your home on the market if you are still weighing your options. Our team of real estate experts can assist you in determining when and how to best take advantage of a rising market.

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