Trenton China Pottery Sells Old City Location

Trenton China Pottery (TCP) sold its Philadelphia property at 2nd and Arch streets in Old City.  A group of undisclosed local investors bought it for $1.4 million and plans to convert the nine buildings that comprise the structure totaling 55,000 square feet.  The properties run from 127-37 Arch St. to 101-107 N. 2nd St.  Developer plan to have residential units on the top floors and retail at street level.

TCP, put the property on the market eight years ago.  The company started in 1927 and had operated out of the Old City building ever since.  The company is now located on Memphis Street in Port Richmond and operates under the new name; Trenton China.


G8 Development's 2045 E. York Street Residence; More Sustainable Living In Fishtown

A staple prototype for G8's sustainable renovation projects, the 2045 E. York Street Residence in Fishtown boast a slew of sustainable features and practices throughout the project.  With an almost fully completed residence, G8 is proud to put its York Street success on the market.  The three story, 3-bed room, 2.5 bathroom single family home, began as a complete-gutted renovation of one of many Philadelphia pre-war row homes located in the Fishtown neighborhood of East North Philadelphia.

The home is insulated with recycled denim insulation, energy star doors, and Low-E Glaze windows that allow plenty of natural light with minimum heat gain.  Bamboo flooring is used throughout the house, along with recycled stainless steel railings and banisters, CFL lighting to reduce energy cost, duel flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and shower heads.  The beautiful galley style kitchen opens out to an intimate backyard allowing ample light to pour through the first floor.  Energy star appliances are used throughout, along with ECO by Costantine counter tops.  Lastly a private roof deck tops off the third floor master suite, giving access to a large Solar Thermal Water Heating system on the main roof.  The system will supplement the heating of all hot water needs in the home, paired with a storage tank in the basement.  The home is modestly priced at $245k, breaking the bank for some but well worth the energy saving features and convenient location in one of America's most walkable neighborhoods, "Fishtown"!


Parkside Avenue Mixed-Use Development

On Tuesday the Philadelphia Planning Commission approved expanding the Parkside-Lancaster Urban Renewal Plan, authorizing the acquisition of 54 properties near 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue. There, the Parkside Association of Philadelphia and Community Ventures, a non-profit developer of affordable housing, plan to build a mixed-use development with senior housing above and restaurant/retail space below, a small apartment building and a community garden on the east side of 52nd Street.

The Parkside Association is fighting for the execution of this project.  Many see this as another key opportunity to encourage continued growth in a neighborhood with so much potential, economic and developmental growth in education and health.  The development is seen as a future destination for Mann Center patrons to eat at restaurants that would be part of the mixed-use development planned for the 1700 block of 52nd Street.  Unfortunately work won't begin anytime soon.  City council must pass an ordinance that likely won't be introduced until fall, and it could take a year or more to locate the owners of abandoned properties. Construction probably will not happen for another 18 months to 2 years.

Parkside-Lancaster Area Redevelopment Plan

The Barnes Museum On The Parkway

The Parkways newest addition, the renowned "Barns Museum" is progressively nearing its way to completion.  The museum as you may know will house the large private art collection of the late Dr. Albert Barnes, currently located in his former home in Lower Merion.  The collection comprises nearly 9,000 pieces of artwork from all cultures and mediums.  Dr. Barnes has one of the largest collections of French Impressionist art in the world valued somewhere between $6 billion and $25 billion.  The Foundation's move to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will open its galleries to thousands of tourist and city dwellers, giving it a high profile central location in Philadelphia's Museum District, and position itself to bank some much needed investments.

The new building, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will be about 93,000 square feet, 12,000 of which will be dedicated gallery space.  Other amenities are a 150 seat auditorium, classrooms, conservation and research rooms, and a 5,000 square foot special exhibitions gallery.  The two story building will be covered in Ramon limestone, with traditional looking wooden windows to mimic the light patterns of the original museum.  The site plan features several courtyards and gardens surrounding the building with fountains and native plantings, with an outdoor cafe on the north end of the site.  Parking will also be located on the north end with a bus loop on 20th street.

Photos courtesy of Philadelphiaheights


North 28 Modular Condos in Brewerytown

MMPartners announced last February that they have closed a construction loan to build their North 28 condo project.  North 28 is a new construction 15-unit building with 15 gated parking spaces located in Brewerytown at 1238 N 28th street, 1/2 block north of Girard Avenue.  The developers are looking to finish the project by the end of this summer.  A speedy construct is made possible by assembling the prefabricated units off site.  The 15 units will consist of three one-bedroom condos as well as 12 two-bedroom units designed by JKR Partners.  The condos have been approved for both sale and rental; 1-bedrooms listed in mid $100ks, 2-bedrooms mid $200ks.  Rentable units will be price anywhere between $900 and $1,450 per month.

Developer: MM Partners
Architects: JKR Partners
Land Purchase Price: $175,000
Land area: 14,867 SqFt
Location: 1238 N 28th St. Brewerytown
Completion date: Late Summer 2011

Brandywine Realty Acquires 1919 Market in Bankruptcy Auction

One of the few available prime real estate opportunities in Philadelphia's business district was sold at auction for $9.3 million in January.  The vacant grass lot at 1919 Market St. adjacent to the Independence Blue Cross tower was purchased by Brandywine Realty Trust at a Delaware Bankruptcy Auction, beating out O'Neill Properties Group.  The 33,746 square-foot parcel has gone undeveloped for decades with many failed attempts.  Opus East, a division of Opus Group of Minnesota, bought the site in 2005.  The property at just under an acre can accommodate about 840,000 square-feet of space.  Opus East first envisioned a 38-story building with 393 condos, a 500-vehicle garage and some retail space.  The softening residential market in 2007 shelved the project as well as a later revised scaled down version.

Past Failed Attempts at Development

While currently developing plans for the property, Brandywine intends to construct a mixed-use development with a partner it declined to disclose.  The project is currently in the conceptual design phase with size, cost, and scheduled ground breaking not yet determined.  If Brandywine is not thinking "Big" for this project hopefully they give us an impressive structure to be proud of.  Philadelphia can really use more diversity and innovation in its 21st Century Architecture.

Developer: Brandywine Realty Trust
Land Purchase Price: $9.3 million
Location: 1919 Market St.

New Homewood Suites In University City

Hilton Worldwide is working on two new hotel projects in University City; a new $50 million Homewood Suites at 41st and Walnut St and a $10 million renovation of the Hilton Inn at Penn at 3600 Sansom St.  The Walnut Street hotel will feature 136 extended-stay suites, averaging 500 square feet.  Hotel amenities will include a free shuttle to area facilities like the Penn campus, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  The second phase of the development will include a 150,000 sq ft office building.

The project was jointly financed by the state, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., The Reinvestment Fund, US Bank Community Development Corp. and Beneficial Bank.

Developer: Campus Apartments
Architect: Alesker and Dundon Architects
Project cost: $50 million
Land Purchase price: $1.5 million
Location: 4109 Walnut St.- University City
Completion Date: 2012


Affordable Sustainable Living in Francisville

Nonprofit developer Community Venture and the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation have collaborated on a 44-unit rental housing development called Francisville East on the 1500 block of Poplar Street.  The building is a much welcomed addition to the ongoing beautification efforts of Francisville.  Long time neighbors are very excited to see their neighborhood coming back to life, and the development of affordable housing is an added bonus that will hopefully help to keep property taxes at an affordable rate.

The building will be home to  27 one-bedroom units as well as two and three bedroom units.  Solar panels will be used to assist in energy consumption, and small perimeter gardens and adequate sidewalks greet neighbors as they pass by.  The property management company said that they are looking for tenants that are making a minimum annual income of $18,000.  The building was also built with senior citizens as well as the handicapped in mind, considering the aging population of North Philadelphia and changing physical needs.

Information provided by Public Record

Owner: Francisville East LP
Purchase Price for 16 lots: $1 each in 2010
Land area per lot: 1130 SqFt
Location: Francisville
Use: 3-Story Apartment Building

Race Street Pier Video Updates

Video's Courtesy of Plan Philly


Race Street Pier Nears Completion

Its crunch time for Race Street Pier as it nears its grand opening set for May 12.  the contractor is working round the clock to get the park open time for next months public opening, and a pre-opening fundraising party that aims to raise about $60,000 for waterfront activities.  The sky promenade is complete and there has also been progress on the Race Street connector project, which will link the pier park to Old City.  DRWC received arts commission approval for the lED screens that will go on the I-95 underpass.  the connector is set for completion by the end of June.  The lights are part of a public art component  featuring abstracted LED-crafted images of the real-time wave and current patterns of the Delaware River.  Artist Richard Torchia explained how a camera, positioned at the end of the pier and focused across the river, will capture images and send them to a computer housed in the old Philadelphia Water Department building next to the underpass.  By abstracting the water's plays of light and movement, the piece would remind pedestrians that a river lies beyond.

Officials also see an exhibition use in the future for Pier 9.  Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe said that they'd like to use Pier 9 for Festival- an event at the end of their two-week festival featuring restaurants from around the city.  The event would be the launch of Pier 9 as an exhibition space.

Manayunk Bridge May Receive Major Rail to Trail Transformation

The Manayunk railroad bridge is due to receive a walking trail, which would connect parks on both sides of the Schuylkill River.  Officials said this week they were close to choosing design, engineering and landscape architecture teams that will use a $1.3 million PennDOT grant awarded in January for construction and earlier grants for feasibility studies and preliminary work.  

On the Philadelphia side, the bridge trail effort dovetails with the city's Green Works initiative to add 500 acres of open public space by 2015.  In Lower Merion, the bridge is seen as a component of the 60-acre, 2-mile long ribbon of urban parkland of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail.    More.....

Philadelphia School District Announces Plan to Sell Off Vacant Properties

The shortcomings of The School district of Philadelphia is not news to many, for the enrollment rate has dropped considerably over the last decade which has caused the authority to consolidate and close many of its locations.  The lack of Federal funding has caused the budget deficit to grow to $639 million, leaving officials no choice but to close as many as 50 school buildings over the next three years.  The target schools and neighborhoods remain unknown.

The School District realizes that schools are much more than buildings where children learn to read and write, they are neighborhood anchors serving as informal community centers and physical references.  Acknowledging this fact, the School District is considering a new "adaptive reuse" policy to govern the sales of these properties that would in theory put community need ahead of the profit motive.

Unlike the existing policy, where the district's goal is to achieve the maximum market rate value in the sale of property, the proposed new rules would offer discounts of up to 25  percent off the market value for would-be educational buyers, such as a charter school.  Non-profits and community service providers- a faith-based charity, or a CDC would be eligible for discounts of up to 15 percent, at the district's discretion.  Developers and other private-sector buyers would not be eligible for discounts.

Thomas A. Edison High school is under agreement of sale for $600,000.

For each property it sells, the district intends to solicit a "request for information" from all would-be developers, including non-profits and educational organizations.  According to the draft policy, applicants would need to explain their projects, document their capacity to develop the property and show that they have the financial capability to buy and develop the land.
West Philadelphia High School

This post courtesy of PlanPhilly