August 24, 2013 |
A great public space like the Schuylkill River Park deserves an exceptional building as a neighbor. So far, developer Carl Dranoff's proposal for One Riverside isn't it. That doesn't mean the 21-story apartment tower designed by Cecil Baker + Partners can't evolve into something worthy of the popular riverfront park that surrounds the site. But it's going to take work - and not just by the development team. The neighborhood has to pitch in, too. The wailing and keening that greeted last week's presentation to the Center City Residents Association wasn't the kind of constructive help that this project needs.
July 27, 2013 |
Ever since Philadelphia began taking its waterfronts seriously a decade ago, it has dreamed of shores lined with lithe, elegant, Vancouver-style towers. Master plans were assembled, new recreation paths were laid, parks were created. Yet only a few high-rises have materialized, none of them the least bit thin or urbane. That may be about to change. Developer Carl Dranoff is planning a 21-story apartment building on the Schuylkill that has the potential to raise the bar for all waterfront design in Philadelphia.
June 16, 2013 |
IT'S BEEN ONE of those weeks where I read the news and can't stop yelling, "Where's your accountability? Stop whining!" Exhibit A: Kobe Bryant. For years, the 34-year-old former Lower Merion basketball phenom and current NBA star stored his crap at his parents' house here. Maybe there wasn't enough room in his $4 million California mansion for his sweaty old high-school jerseys, trophies, jockstraps and whatever else athletes are reluctant to part with, let alone launder.
June 13, 2013 |
Philadelphia City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would cap the 10-year tax abatement on new residential construction at $500,000 of value. The cap would go into effect in July 2015. The committee took a rare roll-call vote on the divisive issue, and the bill passed by 9-7, with Marian B. Tasco absent. The bill, sponsored by W. Wilson Goode Jr., could receive final approval on June 20. During testimony on the bill, Goode and Symphony House developer Carl Dranoff had several testy exchanges on the merits of the current tax abatement, which does not have a cap. The abatement has been credited with sparking a building boom - mostly in Center City and surrounding neighborhoods - but has been derided as an unnecessary tax credit to rich homeowners.
June 9, 2013 |
I STOPPED by the super swank Symphony House residences yesterday to have a chat with Richard Basciano about his killer building. "Is he expecting you?" the cranky concierge asked. Well, I didn't know if the owner of the crumbling building that flattened a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store was expecting me . But he should've been expecting someone - like officials from the city seeking answers about his choice of a discount demolition crew, for starters. Basciano's company paid some insta-demolition crew $10,000 for a job demo experts said should have cost closer to $250,000.
March 29, 2013
Here are some of architecture critic Inga Saffron's blog posts from the last week. You can see others at www.philly.com/philly/blogs/changing-skyline . Workplace squatters at Glaxo I went down to the Philadelphia Navy Yard yesterday [March 21] to take a look at the architecture of the new GlaxoSmithKline building, but what really caught my eye were the desks, er, workspaces. Glaxo's new offices are organized around the concept of hoteling, where employees aren't assigned their own desk or cubicle.
March 21, 2013 |
Osage Partners of Philadelphia, Greycroft Partners of Los Angeles, and MissionOG of Devon, say they have invested $3.2 million in Center City-based PeopleLinx , a firm that helps companies give their workers' LinkedIn accounts a standard corporate look and uses LinkedIn data to boost sales. PeopleLinx, which counts FMC Corp. , Firstrust Bank and Prudential among its clients, was set up by LinkedIn veterans Nathan Egan and Patrick Baynes . It will use the new cash to add to its staff of 13 full-time employees and about 25 contractors, says Egan, a Cornell grad and onetime specialty chemical salesman.
September 25, 2012 |
Developer Carl Dranoff came late to bicycling. Growing up in Philadelphia's Oxford Circle, no one rode bikes, he says. They walked to school and afterward hit the basketball courts for exercise. Dranoff didn't get on a bicycle until it became a matter of pride: His young daughter was learning to ride a two-wheeler. Why couldn't daddy? He was 35 at the time. Now 63, Dranoff still isn't exactly steady on a bicycle, even when he's pedaling one of the porker-class Dutch models that belong to his company's new bike-sharing program.
October 28, 2011 |
OK, this is really getting ridiculous. When last we polished off a plate of oxtails at the Jamaican Jerk Hut, the venerable Caribbean eatery at 15th and South, owner Lisa Wilson was still waging a David-and-Goliath battle with residents of Symphony House, a 32-story luxury condominium complex at Broad and Spruce. Never mind that the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Common Pleas Court had both ruled in the Jerk Hut's favor: Namely, that Wilson could play live reggae music for her customers on the lot next to the restaurant on weekends in spring and summer.
August 2, 2011 |
It was the quintessential Philadelphia neighborhood story. Even more delicious than the flavorful meatballs handmade by Gabe Marabella or the chicken and mango salsa served up by Lisa Wilson was the friendship that developed between the two small-business owners, who on paper were supposed to be adversaries. The story began during a Welcome America event at Penn's Landing last month. Marabella, the legendary meatball maker, found himself operating a vending stand right next to Wilson, owner of the Jamaican Jerk Hut. You know the Marabella name.