December 9, 2013 |
A pair of developers are overhauling 48th and Brown Streets in the Mill Creek section of Philadelphia with two rental complexes that, when construction is completed, will total 120 units. When a venture of Abington-based B & T Home Builders Inc. acquired the 2-acre industrial plot at 800-820 N. 48th St. in 2007, the company heard from skeptics. "Everyone thought I was crazy," said Hillel Tsarfati, a B & T cofounder. Situated two blocks from the Lucien E. Blackwell Homes, alongside a mix of well-kept rowhouses and vacant properties, West Village at 800 N. 48th St. is the largest private residential development in Mill Creek in recent history.
December 6, 2013 |
Amid seasonally cold weather, about 70 people of different faiths gathered at a Center City church on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the June 5 Market Street building collapse to remember the six people who died and the 14 injured when a four-story wall fell onto a Salvation Army thrift shop. Sarah Clark Stuart, who lives near the site where a building was being demolished, came up with the idea for the interfaith service. She said it was necessary to "provide a moment for family and members of the public to remember victims of the tragedy.
December 2, 2013 |
How to jump-start East Market Street has long been a burning issue for planners in Philadelphia. Even as broader Center City has enjoyed a renaissance, the stretch of Market Street east of Broad has languished. The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), a shopping mall company headquartered in Center City, hopes to help change that. PREIT, over the last decade, has taken control of a key, three-block piece of the East Market Street puzzle. It owns all of the real estate that makes up the Gallery at Market East, which stretches from a Burlington Coat Factory store at 11th and Market to the former Strawbridge & Clothier store on Eighth Street, where The Inquirer is now a tenant.
November 30, 2013 |
Like the prow of a ship, the main facade of Drexel University's new business school at 32d and Market Streets steers toward Center City, straining to narrow the two-block gap between the Schuylkill and its fast-growing campus. In a bit of overt symbolism, the university even relocated a statue of founder Anthony Drexel to the entrance plaza, so he now stands firmly at the helm of this eastward venture. Under its current president, John A. Fry, Drexel has made no secret of its desire to fill that bleak, underutilized space with the sleek towers of a new technology-dominated neighborhood.
November 27, 2013 |
Many times before, Mariya Plekan had visited the Salvation Army thrift store on Market Street. She liked shopping there because it was a little cheaper than the regular shops. "I needed to buy something for myself and my relatives," she said in her native Ukrainian in a deposition videotaped last week. "And I had to save money on things. " On June 5, the twice-widowed 52-year-old had a four-hour break from her job as caretaker for an older Ukrainian woman. So she took the SEPTA Route 7 bus from Fairmount to 22d Street and Market.
November 25, 2013 |
The blocks of Market and Chestnut east of City Hall remain the gash and gaping hole in Center City's success. They are bleak pockets of squalor and neglect. Landlords in the Market East neighborhood - if you can call it a neighborhood - have sat speculatively on properties for decades, avoiding upkeep or improvement. These are the blocks that progress forgot, a costly, damaged, and troubling stretch of our city that inhibits not only tourism but investment, jobs, and revenue. Francis Strawbridge, the final chairman of Strawbridge & Clothier, told me "Market's on a down cycle.
November 20, 2013 |
SPEAKING PUBLICLY for just the second time after the death of her daughter in June's Market Street building collapse, City Treasurer Nancy Winkler yesterday questioned whether the tragedy could have been prevented by her own employer - the city of Philadelphia. "How could L&I have granted a demolition permit in this instance if it did due diligence on those involved?" Winkler asked while testifying in a City Council hearing. "How could L&I have permitted the demolition to continue up to and on June 5, given the fact the site had previously been inspected and cited for violations?
November 18, 2013 |
WHEN the owners of New York City's popular Brooklyn Flea opened a similar, weekly market in Philadelphia in June, it promised to be a hipster heaven. But Brooklyn Flea Philly didn't draw the crowds the New York market did, prompting the out-of-town owners to bail on Philly. Some blamed the location, the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties. Others said sleepy Sundays weren't the best shopping day. And some saw the market, which kept "Brooklyn" in its name, as a Philly snub. But Mark Vevle never viewed the short-lived market as a failure.
October 25, 2013 |
ON MAY 13, 1985, Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a West Philly rowhouse. Eleven people died and 61 homes went up in flames. Within a week, then-Mayor Wilson Goode agreed to appoint an independent commission to investigate exactly how and why the Police Department's final confrontation with the MOVE fringe group escalated to catastrophe. It has been four months and 19 days since the collapse of 2140 Market St. killed six people and injured 13. So far, all we have is the promise that Mayor Nutter will appoint a similar independent commission to examine how the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections might have averted the tragedy.
October 18, 2013 |
WEST CHESTER - A public works crew pulling up the sidewalk in the heart of West Chester last week heard an unexpected crack. What the workers uncovered is a mystery that has since perplexed the borough. Beneath the bricks on Church Street, they found a glass manhole cover. And beneath that opaque window, they looked down on a hidden room. Another layer down, beneath a film of dirt and dust, they saw a metal chair, a few bottles, and an archway long ago closed by concrete.