Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Well Shiver me Timbers, The 2nd Annual Seaport Festival This Weekend.. Arrr.

This Friday-Sunday bring the whole family out to the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Columbus Blvd). Between the quaint neighborhoods of Old City and Queen Village, the 2nd annual Seaport Festival is a weekend long adventure that will showcase Tall Ships, arts and crafts, live music, Philly food trucks and other family activities on the Delaware waterfront. Don’t miss the ‘Parade of Boats’ on Friday October 11th from 5-7pm, as they arrive from Penn’s Landing.

Image(Image Source: phillyseaport.org)

You can join in the parade by purchasing tickets to be aboard these ships. Or watch for free at the landing. On Saturday, don’t miss the Pirate Battles, as ships shoot canons back and forth to one another on the river. If this just caught your attention, you can get one step closer to the action by purchasing a ticket to be aboard during these Pirate Battles. To read more information and purchase tickets click here.

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Breaking Bread with Fleisher

Fleisher Art Memorial was founded in 1898 as a non profit organization focused on making art accessible to everyone in the community regardless of background or experience. Founder, Samuel S. Fleisher pushed his vision to reality understanding that art is one of the greatest assets and equalizers in a society. On November 24th join your neighbors in Bella Vista for a public supper to celebrate Fleisher’s 142nd birthday.

A small donation will provide you with a meal and ballot. While artists and presenters share their proposals you can enjoy dinner and dessert. Proposals are creative, unique and art inspired. All attendees are asked to vote on which project should receive the ‘dough’. Maybe this is why they call this community gathering Breaking Bread?! Read more information here.

breakingbread(Image Source: fleisher.org)

Each year Fleisher influences more than 17,000 individuals who strive to learn and create art. They hold classes, exhibitions and community programs including this Breaking Bread event. Samuel Fleisher believed in the importance of self expression through creativity and intellectual exploration. His core values focus on the artist is us all, the fulfillment of art and the community in which we create and share art.

handimage(Image Source: fleisher.org)

“Art Enriches the Community — By nurturing each individual’s creative potential, we aim to provide social,
cultural, and economic benefits to the community as a whole.” – Samuel Fleisher 

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The Physick House in Society Hill

The Physick House located at 321 S. 4th Street in Society Hill is a historical mansion from the late 18th century was home to Philip Syng Physick. He was a Philadelphia born American physician. In 1793 as the Yellow Fever epidemic swept through Philadelphia, Dr. Physick stuck around to treat victims. He has been called “the father of American surgery”.  In the late 1960’s the house was restored and donated to the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks. Today this mansion remains a National Historic Landmark and serves as a museum to locals and tourists. The house even has a garden that replicates one from the 19th century.

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 5.13.14 PM(Image Source: wikipedia.org)

This month the Physick House is opening its doors and inviting the public in for fun and games. Starting on Thursday October 10th, you can join your neighbors for wine and beer tasting from 5:30-8pm. Music, food and raffle opportunities will be available. Tickets are $30 and proceeds help support the ‘Restore the Roof’ campaign. Another benefit is 50% of admission is tax deductible.

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On Thursday October 23rd through Saturday the 26th , get your Halloween on with the Physick House. Join in for ‘History, Mystery and Murder Drama’. Starting at 8pm, a walking performance will take you through the house of history. Tickets are $30. Whether your ears perk up with beer or maybe mystery’s are more your kind, the Physick House is sure to show you a good time!

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 5.27.15 PM(Image Source: philalandmarks.org)

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Green Living on Broad Street

Broad Street has been forever changing and growing. It has been revitalized with the implementation of several theaters, restaurants, schools, hotels, historic sites and more. Each year seems to bring new and bigger projects to Broad Street. A desire to be in center city, close to these attractions has led more young families moving into this area.

Back in 2010, Dranoff Properties completed 777 Broad Street. These luxury apartments brought more than 100 new apartments within minutes walking distance to these Philadelphia attractions. These apartments were known as green living and the first smoke-free apartment dwelling introduced in Philadelphia. Offering retail space on the ground level and a pool on the roof, who would ever want to leave their home dwelling of 777?!

On to the next. Dranoff is bringing you Southstar Lofts.  It will be a six story building that mimics 777 in a sense of commercial space occupying the ground level and garden and roof access. Southstar Lofts will maintain the proposed 2,500 square feet of green space around the property. This space was once occupied by Garden of the Arts and tended to frequently. Vibrant blooms always could be seen peaking through the fences. Well, at least they’re keeping with the ‘green’ theme! 

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They’re work has started and framing has started to reveal the shape Southstar Lofts. We look forward to seeing the progression of this project. Scheduled occupancy of Spring 2014 doesn’t seem so far away.

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Pennsport Says Goodbye to Old PECO Substation

Recently reported by Passyunk Post, Pennsport may have some new community members moving in. Although you won’t get to meet your new neighbors just yet! At 6th and Federal, what was once an old PECO Substation has the community buzzing at the talk of 11 new apartments to occupy this building. This location has sat empty for what feels like forever, while talk for changes have been heard over the last couple years . Talk hasn’t got them that far.

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Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 6.18.00 PM(Image Sources: passyunkpost.com)

A zoning use change was updated last week which has approved the building for 11 new apartments. Interior demolition permits had been approved last year. Although no construction permits have been approved yet. So please don’t hold your breath hoping to see a bulldozer. Dickinson Square West Civic Association has been actively involved in following the progress of this development. You can also join the community and voice your opinions and concerns at their general membership meeting, Tuesday, October 15th at 7 p.m. at Mt. Moriah Church (410 Wharton Street). We look forward to following this new development and hope to see some construction permits sooner than later.

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Sixteen Apartments to Replace King of Jeans

And what will happen to that iconic sign?! Donate the sign to a museum, build a bar under this name…ideas are still being brought to the table. East Passyunk Crossing Zoning Committee has reviewed the proposal for a 59 foot, 5 story apartment complex to take the place of King of Jeans. This project will consist of 16 apartments; 8 one bedroom units and 8 two bedroom units.

king of jeans(Image Source: google, Philadelphiapeaks.com)

The plan is to keep the ground level open for retail space while floors two through five would be apartments. Furnished with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hard wood floors, Kaplan (the commercial real estate developer for this project) feels this project would transform the neighborhood. Kaplan as also worked on other large scale developments including the shopping center with IKea in South Philadelphia as well as the shopping center with Lowes at 52nd and Jefferson.

King-of-jeans-new-2-640x480(Image Source: passyunkpost.com)

With parking already scarce in this are, residents would not be allowed to obtain parking permits. Maybe these apartments should be targeted to the bicycle community?! We should hope to see some initial changes in about six months to a year. This plan was favored by five and denied by three at the EPX zoning meeting. Maybe the ZBA will see eye to eye with Kaplan and how this project could transform this area of East Passyunk. We’ll be interested to see where the King of Jeans sign will end up.

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A Proposed Modern Look for Society Hill’s Historical District

Mother Bethel seems to be the talk around town lately. In Society Hill‘s historical district of Philadelphia, one can walk on cobble stone streets while admiring the redbrick row homes that house years of history for Philadelphia. Historic Mother Bethel AME Church which sits at 6th and Lombard street may soon have neighbors.

An apartment building is being proposed to occupy the parking lot space at 6th and Addison. Although this six unit, four story apartment building would bring in new residents, it also would be constructed under modern design. The exterior of gray brick and stucco with large, overhanging bay windows would be quite the black sheep in this redbrick historical area. Neighbors and Society Hill Civic Association’s Zoning and Historical Preservation Committee members have voiced concerns for this project. Many feel that the point of having a historical district is to have the community’s support for respecting the historical landmarks and structures in the community.

092513_church_600(Image Source: philly.com)

To top off the design, the new building’s air conditioning compressors would be facing into the stained glass windows of Mother Bethel. Rev. Mark Tyler held a prayer vigil recently asking that the commission follow the right path and preserve historical integrity. Hoping the prayer would lead to better judgement. These land owners must not be from Philadelphia.. or maybe its a lack of history appreciation. All we know is that Mother Bethel deserves some sunlight through their stained glass windows, not a rumbling AC shadow.

mother-bethel-church-600(Image Source: visitphilly.com)

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A Headache for Queen Village Parents May Be Relieved

In  Queen Village, parents are having trouble finding decent and reliable child care for their infants and toddlers. These families have joined long waiting lists to deal with limited options when it comes to days, activities, food and education for their children. A headache for many residents, there is a shortage and demand for childcare.

At 420 Bainbridge Street, this 4,000 square foot location used to be the Life Management Medical Center. You will soon see Natalie Renn open her second location of The Giving Tree Infant and Toddler Center…if the license comes through. Her first location was specifically for daycare and preschool in the Logan Square area of Philadelphia.

logo-infants(Image Source: thegivingtreedaycare.com)

Their focus and mission is to provide exceptional child care for infants and toddlers under trained and professional supervision. Natalie trains her employees to focus on early childhood development, communication techniques, sleeping strategies and eating patterns.

They will offer a variety of learning and physical activities including; baby and me yoga classes, an inside mini gym, a backyard for play, trips to local playgrounds and parks. Just a few weeks away, they’re expecting to open their doors October but were talking about a license from the Department of Public Welfare. Hoping we do see them open soon, we need more Natalie’s in Philadelphia!

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Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala This Saturday

This Saturday, September 21st you can join your local art crowd at the Philadelphia Magic Garden to celebrate their 5th annual Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala. From 6-10pm you can help support this annual fundraiser by purchasing a ticket and enjoying live music, dancing, a silent auction, food and an open bar. The silent auction will offer prizes to several high praised establishments in Center City. Located at 1020 South Street,  squarely between Bella Vista and Washington Square West, this event is expected to draw a crowd of near 300 locals and inspiring artists and supporters.

Image(Image Source: phillymagicgardens.org)

Philadelphia’s Magic Garden has been educating individuals of all ages for years. Offering workshops, education programs and self-guided walk throughs, this event will feature founder and artist Isaiah Zagar. So join in the fun this Saturday and help support local businesses, keep artists thriving and educate our community on the importance of art and self expression. For more information and tickets click here.

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Philadelphia Housing Market Quarterly Update Q2 2013

 Philadelphia Housing Market Picks Up in Q2.  By Kevin Guillen

Despite high-profile concerns over AVI and tax delinquencies, both sales and prices increase across the city.

July 15, 2013: After hitting bottom just over a year ago and struggling to rebound, Philadelphia’s housing market finally exhibited some signs of vitality this past spring.

The average house value in Philadelphia increased by 3.1 percent in Q2, according to the latest data from the City’s Recorder of Deeds. This increase comes on the heels of several years of bumpy declines before the market bottomed out last winter.

House price gains were generally experienced citywide, with only two exceptions. From smallest to largest, the average change in house prices by neighborhood in Q2 were: University City (-7.8%), West Philadelphia (-5.9%), Upper Northeast Philadelphia (+1.2%), Lower Northeast Philadelphia (+2.6%), Kensington/Frankford (+3.8%), Center City/Fairmount (+3.8%), Northwest Philadelphia (+3.9%), South Philadelphia (+5.4%), and North Philadelphia (+7.9%).

The median house price in Philadelphia increased to $132,000 in Q2, a 6.3% increase over the median price of $124,000 in the previous quarter and a 5.5% increase over the median price of $125,000 one year ago.

These most recent gains in house values seem to indicate that Philadelphia is finally making significant inroads in regaining the value lost since the housing bubble burst. From peak to trough, house values in Philadelphia declined an average of 21%. This quarter’s recent gains have recovered 8% of the lost value, implying that house values need to appreciate another 13% to return to their pre-bust levels.

Home sales activity also showed some gains this past quarter. There were 3,614 arms-length transactions in Q2, up from 2,849 in the previous quarter and up from 3,079 sales that took place in the same quarter last year. This was the strongest second quarter for home sales since 2010 Q2.

The recovery also appears to be becoming more democratic and widespread. While house prices and sales began to recover in the higher-end segment of the market over a year ago, this recovery had—until now—been confined to the relatively upper-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia. In most neighborhoods, prices and sales had remained stagnant. In Q2, there were 16 sales at a price point of $1m or more, up from 13 sales in Q1, and well above the quarterly average of just 9. However, the largest price jump this past spring was in North Philadelphia (+7.9%); which is historically Philadelphia’s lowest-priced and lowest-income neighborhood. Moreover, the lower-priced segment of the market also saw the biggest percentage price increase in Q2. From Q1 to Q2, the bottom fifth of the market (i.e. the 20 percent lowest-priced homes in Philadelphia) saw their average price increase from $25 per square foot to $50 per square foot; a doubling in value.

This recovery is especially notable in light of the citywide property re-assessment (known as the Actual Value Initiative, or AVI) and the increase in Philadelphia’s property tax delinquency rate; both of which were the subject of vocal criticism from many community groups, public officials and activists this past spring1. The predicted exodus of households and subsequent decline in house values that many critics contended would be the outcome of the (supposedly) flawed assessments and lax tax collection practices not only didn’t materialize, but if anything, the market seems to have largely reacted positively to both the new assessments and the City’s announced intention to improve its collection of delinquent taxes.

While Philadelphia’s long-awaited housing recovery is still lagging the recovery that is already well underway in most other U.S. cities, leading indicators continue to indicate a positive near-term outlook:

  • The average price-to-rent ratio for Philadelphia homes has begun to trend upwards again, after declining for several years since the housing bubble burst. After falling from a peak of 13.3 in 2007 to a low of 9.5 in early 2012, the ratio has since increased to 10.0. A rising price-rent ratio is typically associated with a bullish outlook on house prices.
  • The inflation-adjusted house price index has also begun to trend upwards, after declining for several years. This suggests that the recent house price gains are not just due to general price inflation in the overall macroeconomy.
  • Days-On-Market, which is the average number of days it takes for a listed home in Philadelphia to sell, is down to 70 days from its peak of 95 days just over one year ago.
  • A particularly notable threshold was crossed by the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index this past spring. Based upon a scale of 0 to 100, the index recently crossed 50, indicating that for the first time since 2006, more homebuilders are optimistic than pessimistic about the near-term outlook for housing.

 An especially notable sign of improvement in Philadelphia’s housing market are the significant improvements in both the market’s housing inventory and absorption rate this past spring. After declining markedly since the market bottomed last winter, the number of home listed for sale in Philadelphia is down to approximately 8,000 from its all-time peak of just over 12,000. Such a large supply relative to demand had been placing significant downward pressure on house prices over the last several years. Moreover, the absorption rate—which measures the percent of listed homes that sell in a given period—increased sharply this past to nearly 16%, up from its all-time low of 6% two years ago. Both indicators suggest that supply and demand are returning to a relative balance that is in line with their historic averages.

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While this most recent data suggest that the long-awaited recovery is finally happening in Philadelphia, there is growing concern in many other cities that the news is actually too positive. House prices have been rebounding sharply in many other cities over the past year, at a rate that significantly exceeds not only inflation, but also their fundamentals, such as population, income and rents. Combined with an outlook for higher mortgage rates in the near term, many economists are forecasting a ‘cool down’ in housing market activity over the course of the next year. But, given that good news about housing has taken so long to arrive to Philadelphia, and that it came at a critical time in reforms to the city’s housing policy (i.e. AVI, delinquencies), it would seem that most Philadelphia households would be justified in at least momentarily savoring the good news before beginning to worry again.

 

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