Drexel’s Calhoun Hall Will Make a Comeback This Fall

As a function of their longevity, colleges and universities in Philadelphia possess a diverse collection of architecture, from the sublime to the subpar. Penn has the Quad and Houston Hall, but it also has Williams Hall and the high rise dorms on the western side of campus. Drexel has its Main Building and Millennium Hall, but also once ranked as the most unsightly campus in America, per US News and World Report. To Drexel's credit, the university [...]
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Triple Addition on Thompson Street in Brewerytown

Brewerytown obviously has a historic connection to industry, as its name strongly suggests. These days, industrial uses are pretty much absent around these parts, but the neighborhood's urban environment serves as a regular reminder of its past. To wit, several large scale projects have appeared within the neighborhood over the last several years on parcels that were used for industrial purposes once upon a time. Without those sizable properties allowing for sizable projects, we believe [...]
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We Put on Our Tourist Hats and Explored the New Flagship Wawa

It wasn't so long ago that it felt like Wawa was abandoning downtown Philadelphia in favor of suburban gas station locations, as several longtime locations were closing down and no new stores were opening. C'mon, let's walk together down memory lane and pour one out for the Wawa at 20th & Locust. And 11th & Arch. Remember 2nd & Christian? How 'bout 17th & Walnut? Fine places, all of them, forever lost but never forgotten. We may be mistaken, but [...]
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3rd Street Warehouse is For Sale, Demolition Seems Likely

Roughly half a year ago, we noticed a City violation poster on an old warehouse at 1139 N. 3rd St., which gave us pause because at first we thought it was a zoning notice. Upon closer examination though, we realized that the poster on the building was not an indication of upcoming development, but instead a public service announcement about violations on the property, a vehicle for shaming the owners of the property into making [...]
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Take a Breath Bella Vista, Your Parking Lot is Back

We've been pretty direct in our complaints about surface parking lots over the years, lamenting that they never represent the highest and best use for a property. To be clear, this isn't just a matter of us spouting urbanist rhetoric, though most urbanists would surely agree that surface parking lots are bad; surface lots are also a loser from a public policy standpoint. Parking lot operators have to pay 22.5% gross tax on parking revenues to [...]
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Point Breeze Avenue is Picking Up a Sandwich Shop

A couple of readers have reached out to us over the last couple months, expressing hope for a new business on the horizon for Point Breeze Avenue. You may recall, about a year and a half ago, we shared the news that the triangular building at 2101 Reed St. was listed for rent. This was an encouraging development for this property, as it had been sitting blighted and vacant since a check cashing place closed [...]
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Noticing Some Zoning Notices on Montgomery Street

Due to some road closures, we found ourselves traveling on Montgomery Avenue in South Kensington the other day. And this worked out well for us, as this unexpected diversion put us directly in the path of a couple of projects in the pipeline for the area. The first notice we spied was posted to 1800 N. Hancock St., a triangular lot that looks like it would be a fine spot for a water ice place [...]
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Starbucks Disappears at 4th & South After More Than Two Decades

Remember 1995? Grunge music was coming down from its peak, but an upstart coffee chain that also originated in Seattle was still in the relatively early stages of its meteoric rise. The Starbucks store count of 677 was quite impressive twenty-three years ago, but the number seems almost cute when you consider that the company now has almost 30,000 locations around the world. It was back in 1995 that Starbucks opened one of its first Philadelphia locations [...]
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Quadplex Will Replace Extended Vacancy at 19th & Christian

Sometimes it takes an exceedingly long time for an opportunity to take shape in the real estate world, but when the stars finally align, boy does it ever feel good to see something happen. It was waaaay back in the summer of 2011 that we directed your attention to the vacant corner building at 1900 Christian St., noting that the building had previously been home to a business called Ruth’s Fresh Cooked Seafood. To be clear, [...]
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‘For Sale’ Sign on a Warehouse Near Frankford Avenue

When carpenter Daniel McClellan bought the old warehouse at 4 E. Palmer St. back in 2001, Fishtown was a very different place than it is today. The neighborhood was still working class, and most of the people that lived there had deep roots in the community. Frankford Avenue was a sleepy local corridor, with a mix of vacant lots, old industrial buildings, and established local businesses. Frankford Hall was still a number of years away, ditto just about [...]
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