Shopping Center in the Works Next to State Office Building

The blandly named Pennsylvania State Office Building appeared on the southwest corner of Broad & Spring Garden in the late 1950s, and still stands as a classic example of Modernist architecture. Back in 2013, Tower Properties undertook a $70M project to renovate the building into 200+ apartments, naming the finished product Tower Place. As the time, we told you that this renovation effort was only the first phase of construction for this property, and that [...]
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Looks Like the W.G. Schweiker Building is Coming Down

It was nearly seven years ago that we first brought the W.G. Schweiker building at 2621 W. Jefferson St. to your attention, noting at the time that it was listed for sale for $80K (too high a price, at the time!). The building caught our eye because it had spectacular bones and a particularly memorable cornice. This makes sense, as the business that once occupied the building was a roofing and construction business that specialized [...]
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Major Makeover For Lanier Playground in Grays Ferry

Lanier Park is a massive patch of green space in the Grays Ferry neighborhood at 2900 Tasker St., taking up an entire city block on the edge of the Greater Grays Ferry Estates PHA development. The park is a wonderful resource for the neighborhood in theory, but like many public green spaces in Philadelphia, it's worn down and has been functioning well below its potential. Also like many public green spaces in Philadelphia, it's currently leveraging available [...]
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Parking Garage Has Disappeared Across From Lombard Swim Club

With the weather warming up and Memorial Day quickly approaching, summery thoughts are starting to creep into our consciousness. That's probably got something to do with how we found ourselves wandering down the 2000 block of Lombard Street the other day. The Lombard Swim Club makes its home on the south side of this block, and even though we're not members, we still appreciate second hand swimming pool enjoyment. This block has changed quite a [...]
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Quietly, A Pair of Corners Are Available on Grays Ferry Avenue

If you can believe it, Grays Ferry Avenue was once a pretty junky corridor in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. The streetscape was dominated by vacancy, with the former Naval Asylum property prominently and aggressively blighting the blocks between Bainbridge and Christian. Eventually, Toll Bros. started working on transforming that property into the thousand units that now make up Naval Square, while smaller developers started renovating existing buildings and building new ones along the rest of [...]
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Forget Trader Joe’s, Queen Village, You’re Getting a Target

We've been fairly consistent over the years, complaining about surface parking lots as an undesirable land use in our dense urban environment. Whether a surface lot is tiny or huge, it's almost never the highest or best use for a property. One notable exception might be the sea of surface parking around the stadiums- people gotta tailgate somewhere, right? With development booming in Philadelphia, we've been cheered over and over as developers have purchased longstanding surface parking [...]
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Homes Approaching Finish Line at 17th & Annin

It was roughly two and a half years ago that we pointed a finger at the warehouse on the northwest corner of 17th & Annin, noting that it was not long for this world. We explained that the ZBA gave their blessing to a plan to demolish the building and replace it with a quintet of new homes with rear access parking. A year later, the warehouse was gone and foundations had taken its place. [...]
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Rehab For Two Buildings on Fabric Row, As the Corridor Continues to Evolve

The origin of Paul's Draperies tracks all the way back to a pushcart in 1950. During that era, the demand for fabric was such that pushcarts in the street provided options beyond the offerings of the brick and mortar establishments. Within a few years, the Paul family established a storefront at 737 S. 4th St., selling drapes to a range of customers, including regular folks from the neighborhood, restaurants, cruise ships, and the occasional movie production. [...]
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Another Beer Distributor Bites the Dust, This Time in Northern Liberties

As homes have continued to appreciate in Northern Liberties, the industrial buildings that once dominated the neighborhood have grown increasingly out of place. There was a lumber yard for over a century at 3rd & Girard, but that's been demoed in favor of an upcoming apartment building. A former wire works on Lawrence Street got torn down a few years back, and seventeen homes rose in its place. And then there's the Apex building on N. [...]
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For a Change, We’d Suggest Downzoning Some Properties

When Philadelphia implemented the new zoning code in 2012, many among us hoped that it would streamline a zoning process which had spiraled out of control thanks to the combination of an outdated code and inaccurate zoning maps. The "new" code isn't perfect by any means, but it's certainly proven itself as an upgrade over what we had before. While the code was executed in one fell swoop, the other side of the equation has lagged behind considerably. [...]
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