Archive for the ‘University City’ Category

Open House: Living in University City

Friday, October 18th, 2013

After gaining admittance to the prestigious universities of either University of Penn or Drexel University, the advantages are multifold. Along with being a prospective student at one of the two esteemed campuses, the acceptances also launch students right into an academic epicenter rife of cultural opportunities and artistic exploration. Likewise, both campuses are located in the University City district. From luxury apartments to Victorian styled housing, University City’s real estate is delightfully diverse with many different housing choices.

Many students and professors call West Philly home. Undergraduates living in the University City real estate areas usually reside closest to campus around 40th to 42nd streets, while the graduate students typically live further out west. The architectural nuances of the neighborhood are largely Victorian with traces of early 20th century construction still holding some influence over the residential area. Populated with parks for plenty of recreational fun and picnic studies, University City has amassed a reputation as an intellectually stimulating neighborhood.

Open House with University City Real Estate

Earn A’s with University City Real Estate Knowledge


With a close accessibility to the academic and entertainment hubs, University City is an ideal place for students. The option of biking, walking and public transit makes getting around the pedestrian-friendly neighborhood easily navigable. University City’s neighborhood is not as close to other popular city attractions in Philly. As a result, the distance has allowed for a cozy atmosphere to envelop the campus, giving a college-town vibe feel to the area. Although most of University City’s real estate centers on the universities, there are a vast amount of rental opportunities for students, including attractive house investment opportunities for homeowners.


University City’s real estate mainly focuses on student housing which residents can take advantage of by purchasing additional occupancies in the area to lease out to students for extra income. Students typically seek larger student-rented homes to accommodate for extra roommates to help out with rent. A traditional row property in Powelton Village is sure to garner high praise from students like this house located on 3102 Spring Garden Street. The two-story house caters to Drexel University students and overlooks the Philadelphia Art Museum. With a four-bedroom and 2.5 bathroom floor plan, the house has been completely renovated with a laminated kitchen and carpeted floors. The property is a great fit for a group of students to reside with its close proximity to campus and the village’s cultural attractions.

University City’s real estate is perfect for academically minded students, families and businesspeople. With an amazing location surrounded by many cultural prospects, stop by University City to experience a truly vibrant neighborhood.

Philadelphia Neighborhoods: Cedar Park

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Dock Street Brewery

The Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant is the social hub of West Philly’s Cedar Park neighborhood. Photo by J. Fusco for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.’s “Philadelphia Neighborhoods” series explores and celebrates 14 “visitor-ready” areas surrounding Center City Philadelphia. Each of these up-and-coming neighborhoods is full of hip restaurants and bars, eye-catching art galleries, quaint shops, indie music venues and lush parks just perfect for a day trip, weekend getaway or a complete change of scenery. Make yourself at home in one of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and you might never want to leave.

Cedar Park

Nestled in West Philly between 46th and 52nd streets is Cedar Park, a diverse neighborhood known for its relaxed, bohemian vibe. The area gets its name from its modest green space at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue, which hosts lively community events like Friday Night Jazz, a free live music series held Friday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. in June and July. This year’s series was so popular that it was extended until August 9.

Cedar Park is a unique and eclectic neighborhood that was founded in the mid-19th century as a “streetcar suburb” of Center City. Now it’s home to a tight-knit community full of independent businesses. In nice weather, residents like to walk or bike to Cedar Park’s many cultural experiences. While visiting Cedar Park, be sure to check out its wide array of events, pubs and culinary delights.

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll
September 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Baltimore Avenue from 42nd to 50th streets

During this annual summer event, dozens of area businesses spill out onto the sidewalk, selling their goods for only one dollar a piece, while live bands and street performers entertain the strolling crowd.

Fu Wah
810 S. 47th St.

This Cedar Park mini-market is well known for its banh mi, or Vietnamese-style hoagies, including its most popular, the tofu hoagie. Locals like to stop in for everyday essentials as well as fresh produce and hard-to-find Asian ingredients.

Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant
701 S. 50th St.

This cozy craft brewery set in a lovingly converted firehouse is renowned for its selection of award-winning beers and wood-fired pizzas with original toppings like fig jam and walnuts. Locals say it’s the best place in West Philly to grab a beer and a slice with some friends.

Danger Danger Gallery
5013 Baltimore Ave.

Like a house party with a bunch of your college friends, this laid-back venue combines cool underground music with a hipster clientele and stunning art displays by local artists. recommends grabbing a growler at Dock Street Brewery and bringing it to one of the Gallery’s BYOB shows.

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.

Spruce Hill Mixed Use Zoning A Family Business Affair

Friday, June 7th, 2013
Spruce Hill Philadelphia Mixed-use Zoning Development

Artist’s Conception of Spruce Hill Development

A property on the corner of 43rd Street and Sansom Street is about to be the next step in the West Philly revival. While we had previously discussed Drexel’s plan for reviving West Philly neighborhoods, Drexel is not alone in their vision of neighborhood investment and growth. Private developers have acquired the property at the corner of 43rd and Sansom with big plans for how this particular piece of Philadelphia real estate can improve the neighborhood.

Almost any use for the property would be more effective than leaving it vacant, but the current plans for this property include a real vision for how West Philly can thrive in the 21st Century. Plans to utilize mixed-use zoning seek to encourage the classic blend of homes and small or family businesses exemplified by much of the city, and designs built with environmentally friendly materials and green technologies seek to ensure that the new development also captures the architecture of the future.

Local Economy and a Bright Future Projected for Spruce Hill

Mixed use zoning encourages local economy by giving residents of a neighborhood the ability to spend their money within the neighborhood, putting food on local merchants’ family dinner tables. This focus on local economy builds local culture and creates jobs accessible to the neighborhood population. The Spruce Hill mixed use zoning promotes small businesses in the neighborhood, providing essential tax revenue to local government. This funding will allow the neighborhood to further invest in public facilities, services, and institutions.

New residents will hopefully be drawn to the forward-thinking design and architecture of the new development. It’s four floors will house 31 apartments and 2 new retail spaces. The building itself will feature bicycle storage spaces and a green rooftop as well as other features designed to meet the needs of a 21st Century urban lifestyle. The building itself will have a modern appearance thanks to granite and aluminum paneling.

This continued development in the West Philadelphia to University City area is an essential part of Philly’s real estate market’s continued growth. As commuter costs continue to increase and more people move from the suburbs into the city, this sort of forward thinking neighborhood development is just what Philadelphia needs.

Drexel University Acquires University City Real Estate

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Drexel University Purchases Market Street PropertyDrexel University has announced that it has purchased a property north of Market Street between JFK Boulevard and 32nd Street. The University was able to purchase the property for $8.9 million from Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC.  This unique piece of real estate is part of Drexel’s recently adopted 30-year Campus Master Plan to revitalize the neighborhoods surrounding the Drexel campus.

The parcel of University City real estate is envisioned as a way of connecting the east and west sides of the Drexel University campus. For Drexel’s 30-year plan adopted in 2012, this is just the beginning as the campus makes multiple moves to infuse neighborhoods nearby with new vitality.

Drexel University’s Campus Master Plan for University City

Drexel University has plans for their new property. Construction of student housing, academic buildings, retail spaces, and mixed-use development are already in the works. According to James Tucker, senior vice-president for Student Life and Administrative Services, “Drexel has had this strategically located property in its sights for many years.” This means that residents of University City can expect an influx of Drexel-funded initiatives to improve the surrounding neighborhood.

The University’s location near to 30th Street Station has encouraged Drexel to seek corporate partners as their Campus Master Plan seeks to create an “Innovation Neighborhood” and accomplish University President John A. Fry’s vision of the University as an engine of local improvement. This is the second large property Drexel has purchased since Fry presented his vision.

Drexel has other initiatives planned for Philly residents. Plans to provide financial incentives to Drexel employees that buy homes in specific neighborhoods in West Philadelphia and to build more on-campus housing for students are just the beginning. Drexel has plans to create retail spaces to encourage businesses to serve the University’s large population. Further, Drexel University plans to partner with neighborhood public schools and the local community to continue to be an engine of growth in the local economy.

University City Property Values Likely to Increase

University City already has the benefit of proximity to 30th Street Station and Drexel University, but investment by such a powerful community should be good news to those who already own in University City. Any improvements Drexel makes to the neighborhood, whether it is courting more retail businesses, adding more students to the local economy, or partnering with local schools to enhance student learning experiences, are likely to increase local property values.

If you are thinking of buying a University City property and were on the fence, this likely infusion of fresh funding for projects and neighborhood renovation should help you decide. Drexel is less than two years into what it has declared to be a thirty-year plan, and you might need to act fast to get the property that you want before Drexel University does.


Philly’s Downtown Revival a Boon to Philadelphia Real Estate Market

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Philadelphia Downtown Revival A Multicultural Affair The Philadelphia real estate market and Philadelphians themselves are feeling something in the air. A revival of Philly’s Downtown is having rippling effects throughout the city. Businesses are thriving, serving a new population of city-dwellers that have been immigrating into the city from the suburbs and exurbs year after year. This wave of new Philadelphians is partly due to investments that the city has made in the past and partly due to the rising cost of gas making many question their commutes. Whatever reason brings them to the City, this population is reviving neighborhoods, starting new local businesses, and supporting the businesses that make Philly great.

Demographic Shift Fueling Philadelphia’s Downtown Revival

A Pew Poll from 2011 (PDF) shows that the demographics of the city are shifting toward young adults and families with those aged 20-44 representing 37% of the city population. Further, it shows that only 69% of Philadelphia’s population was born in the city, meaning that 31% of that year’s population had moved into Philly at some point in their lives.

This demographic is great for Philadelphia, as it is generally composed of young professionals and their families. They are predominantly moving to Fishtown and University City neighborhoods to enjoy these areas’ thriving restaurant and cafe culture. This group’s spending is supporting Philadelphia businesses, leading to a further revival of Philadelphia’s Downtown businesses.

Philadelphia Downtown Revival: “If You Build It…”

Philadelphia buPhiladelphia Downtown Revival Convention Centersinesses have been the key to Philadelphia’s Downtown revival. Their successes, some say, are a result of investments that the city of Philadelphia made in the 1990s. By passing the 10-year real estate tax abatement, Philadelphia courted business. One of the results was a New Convention Center and the many hotels that sprung up around it. Another was an increase in commercial shopping space, the same space that has made it possible for many Philadelphia small businesses to appear in the decades since.

Philadelphia is now feeling the effects of its long-term investment. More businesses means more jobs, so courting business has provided the jobs needed for the population influx of the last decade. The abatement of real estate taxes accomplished its goal of promoting business development in Philadelphia, but it also resulted in tax shortages that Philadelphians have felt through funding cuts to schools, fire departments, and police departments throughout the city.

Course Correction a Part of Philadelphia’s Downtown Revival

The Downtown Revival will need to be funded. Those young families need schools for their children and safe neighborhoods. The businesses need well-maintained roads for shipping and receiving of goods. The successful abatement left Philadelphian public servants clamoring for funding, but the City’s Actual Value Initiative (AVI) promises to be just the course correction that the city needs.

While it is likely to raise taxes on many commercial properties and increase the share of the tax burden shouldered by Philadelphia businesses, the funds that it will draw into city coffers will have a direct impact on the lives of Philadelphians. With shifting demographics moving toward those populations that economies are built upon, the Downtown Revival is likely to continue, and that can only be good for anyone who wants to buy a home in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s Hottest Neighborhoods in 2013, Part Two

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

best-philly-neighborhoods-to-buy-a-houseIn our last post, we began our look at the top ten hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia as forecasted by market trends seen in the first quarter of 2013. Today, we continue our journey through Philly’s fastest-growing neighborhoods and look at a few areas where properties barely hit the market before they are sold.

Demand in some of the neighborhoods below has many surprised and bodes well for the continued recovery and growth of the Philadelphia housing market.

The Big Five of Philly’s Top 10 Hottest Neighborhoods

Cedar Park – Cedar Park is home to historic architecture of the Queen Anne style. The westward expansion of University City has put this Philadelphia neighborhood on the map of many knowledgeable house-hunters. This Philly neighborhood sports a great variety of cafes and restaurants whose menus span the globe. The efforts of its neighborhood association are drawing investment in preserving its historic buildings.

Northern Liberties – Take a look at Northern Liberties and gaze at the future of Fishtown about a decade from now. The youthful hipsters of the Bush era took over Northern Liberties, revitalized it, and were slowly driven out by the rising prices. Now, young and established professionals alike are drawn to Northern Liberties, enjoying its thriving restaurant scene and almost small-town charm.

Avenue of the Arts – Property values are skyrocketing in this once fallow neighborhood thanks to the construction of new apartments, condos, and townhouses. Avenue of the Arts is drawing young professionals who enjoy its shopping, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Proximity to public transit and a fashionable reputation ensure Avenue of the Arts will remain a hot neighborhood for some time.

Washington Square West – The locals call it the “Gayborhood,” and yes, there is a sizable gay and lesbian population in Washington Square West. This influx of single professionals and dual-income-no-kids (DINK) couples has likely been key to this neighborhood’s complete rebirth. With thriving businesses and rising property values, Washington Square West is drawing all manner of young professionals and young families who appreciate its amazing restaurant scene and bohemian feel.

Rittenhouse Square – In the middle of it all, Rittenhouse Square offers shopping, restaurants, parks, and access to all that Philly has to offer. This neighborhood is seeing an influx of investment from the more established, including empty nesters, professionals from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and those who can afford its higher property values. Price, it seems, will never be enough to keep Rittenhouse Square from being one of the most popular neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a Famous Philadelphia Pub Crawl

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

No city does St. Patrick’s Day better than Philadelphia, and there’s no better way to spend St. Patrick’s Day than with an old fashioned Irish pub crawl.  This March, grab your four-leaf clover, dress up in green, and take a tour of some of the best Irish pubs in Philly at one of these famous St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls.


Official Saint Paddy’s Pub Crawl Philadelphia
Sunday, March 17, 3 p.m.-11 p.m.
Begins at Red Zone, 35 South Second Street, Old City

The producers of the world’s largest pub crawl,, presents Philadelphia’s “official” St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl.  Hang out in Old City’s best pubs, meet new friends, and enjoy drink specials like $1 (12 oz.) draft beers, $2 bottle beers, $3 well drinks, and $4 Irish whiskey.  Register for only $10, or paint the town green with 3 days of pub crawls with a special all-access pass.  Only $20 gets you access to the Happy Hour St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl on March 15, the Saint Paddy’s Day Luck of the Irish Pub Crawl on March 16, and finally the Official Saint Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl on March 17.  You can even add on a Saint Paddy’s Day T-shirt for an additional $10.


Running of the Micks
Saturday, March 9, 12 p.m.-11 p.m.
Begins at Finnigan’s Wake, Third and Spring Garden Streets, Northern Liberties

“Drink, ride, and run up the Art Museum steps,” Rocky-style, at the wildest pub crawl in Philadelphia.  Visit Philly’s hottest bars and enjoy live music, contests, and drink specials for 11 straight hours.  Finish off the evening with a historic run up the Art Museum steps.  General admission is only $15, and special VIP access, including an open beer bar, is $80.


Erin Express
Saturday, March 9 and Saturday, March 16, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Philly’s number one St. Patrick’s Day celebration is presented by Cavanaugh’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in University City.  Get absolutely free bus transportation for six whole hours, and visit the Erin Express “depots,” including Mill Creek Tavern, Smokey Joe’s, The Blarney Stone, Westy’s, and many more.  Buses run in a continuous loop every 15-20 minutes, so there is no starting or ending location.  Best of all, there is no registration charge!  All you have to do is show up at one of the depots, buy yourself a drink, and hop on the next bus.

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.

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