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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

25 Townhomes Replacing Cabinet Warehouse on 600 block of McClellan

By Sequoia Medley for the Passyunk Post

Say goodbye to this sad view. 6th and McClellan looking northwest. Google Maps.

The September 12th meeting of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association’s Zoning Committee was more crowded than usual. Neighbors overflowed the available seating at the East Passyunk Community Center. Although another property was discussed, most were there to see the presentation about the redevelopment of the north side of the 600 block of McClellan Street.

…and say hello to these handsome townhomes. CANNODesign.

This much-anticipated project proposes to replace the cabinet warehouse currently located along the north side of the 600 block of Moore Street to allow for the construction of 25 single-family townhouses. Developer Kumas Homes also has plans to build multi-family units on Moore Street, but this presentation focused expressly on the McClellan Street section of the property.

View of the warehouse on the south side of the 600 block of McClellan, looking east. Google Maps.

Future view. Provided by CANNOdesign.
Designs by CANNOdesign show running-bond brick facades with metal canopies over the entry doors. Aluminum-sided pilot houses allow access to roof decks with metal railings. The facades alternate from light gray/tan to darker red brick.

This was the third time the developer met with the community. Two prior information-gathering sessions helped inform the plans presented. As in previous meetings, parking was a primary focus of the discussion. During their presentation the developers repeatedly pointed out design features that were direct responses to feedback from the neighbors, including:

  • Elimination of curb cuts, creating 5 additional on-street parking spots on the block
  • Provision of up to two private parking spaces per new residence accessed by a shared-drive aisle which will bisect the block, running east/west from 6th to 7th Streets
  • No gate on the driveway
  • A dedicated trash room for each residence

View of parking details. Note “Future Development” site along Moore Street. CANNOdesign.

The project requires zoning variances since the developer hopes to create one lot rather than 25 separate parcels, in part to provide the parking in the rear. Owners of these row homes will be part of a homeowners association which will maintain the parking area. A variance is also required since the parking spaces eliminate the required rear yard.
The developer stressed their good-faith efforts to listen and respond to the community since, ‘by-right’ they could make a number of different design choices. One concession to neighbors is the recent removal of towing signs to free-up parking on the block. Although some disagreed with the very nature of the development, many neighbors expressed support for the project.
In response to the desire for more greening, the properties will feature green roofs, as well as planting spaces in the front of the buildings. Developers also agreed to donate land on the 700 block of Emily Street to preserve a community garden used by residents of the area’s Burmese and Bhutanese community.

“Language Labs” mural on the 7th Street facade of the building.

Many neighbors voiced sadness at the potential loss of the “Language Labs” mural by artist Shira Walinksky. Located on the 7th Street side of the property, the colorful mural was completed in 2015 as part of the Southeast by Southeast project. The developer is in discussion with Mural Arts about possibilities of preserving the public art, or creating another work at the site.

A view of the building from 7th and McClellan, looking east, before the mural was completed in 2015. Google Maps.

Practical concerns about debris remediation during demolition were addressed, as well as the potential impact on SEPTA’s 47 bus route.
Although support for the project among attendees was mixed, a majority of those present voted in favor of the project. The EPX Civic Zoning Committee board also voted in favor of the project.
If approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), the developers hope to start work in three to six months. 20-days notice will be provided to neighbors before demolition begins.
This project will go before the ZBA on Wednesday, September 19th between 2pm and 5pm. Zoning hearings are open to the public to advocate for or against the project. ZBA meetings are held on the 18th floor of 1515 Arch Street.
EPX Zoning Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at the East Passyunk Community Center, 1025 Mifflin Street.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Property of the Week: 1543 South 13th Street

There are thousands of homes for sale in South Philly. Our “Property of the Week” features one worth checking out…


Location
This beautiful 3-story, 5 bedroom, 3 bath home is just steps from all the fabulous restaurants and shops of East Passyunk Avenue.

1543 South 13th St. is on one of the most desirable blocks in all of Philadelphia.

Conveniently located just minutes from public transportation, 30th Street Train Station, and Philadelphia International Airport that can swiftly and efficiently transport you anywhere in the city, tri-state area, NYC or DC, or the world! Just a short ride via Uber, walking, or biking into Center City Philadelphia and all of history that comes with our great city.

First Floor
Walk into an original foyer with a gorgeous custom stain glass window, original light fixture and beautiful tile floors. The spacious living room space with hardwood floors, large bay window, and original fireplace mantle is a great space for entertaining. Off of the living room is a three-piece ceramic tile bath with tub.

Marvel at the crown molding, the mirrors that give depth to the space, and walk into the nice-sized dining room and kitchen combo.

The kitchen features a good amount of cabinet and countertop space, tile floors and Formica counter tops. The gas range and refrigerator are included in the sale. The seller will also include a brand new stainless steel range. Natural sunlight radiates throughout the first floor.

Located just off the kitchen is a bedroom with a large closet. A spiral staircase leads from the kitchen to the 2nd floor rear bedrooms. There is a large back yard with wooden upper deck off the 2nd floor rear bedroom and ample space for entertainment. A rear shed is included in the sale.

Basement
The basement is full and partially finished – great for a recreation room. The ceiling height is perfect and this level can be easily finished. The basement features laundry with washer and dryer, mechanical systems, and a storage area. This property features three electrical meters, two heaters, and three hot water tanks.

Second Floor
A spacious, carpeted staircase leads to a large hallway on the second floor with many original features. Here the home splits into two potential suites with one that could serve as an in-law suite. The rear features two large bedrooms with a full three-piece ceramic tile bathroom. The spiral staircase here accesses the kitchen area.

A wood deck is located off the rear 2nd floor rear bedroom. Walking back into the main hallway, you’ll find a large bi-level potential in-law suite. The suite includes a large living room and potential kitchen with dark hardwood floors, good ceiling height, and a large bay window.

Third Floor
The third floor features a large bedroom with walk-in closet and a full three-piece ceramic tile bath with tub.

This property is unique & different with ample potential. There are two brand new roofs. Move right in, or make this the home of your dreams. Come see this gem!

For more information, contact:

Michael Giangiordano ll

215.334.3333

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Set a Flight Pattern to see “Fly Eagles Fly” at the Fringe Arts Festival

Tribe of Fools soars to higher theatrical heights with an Eagles-themed FringeArts show.

By Joseph Myers

Until February 4, when the Philadelphia Eagles used their talons and talents to defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, holding allegiance to the Birds had mostly meant dealing with disappointment. Now that the gridiron group holds championship distinction, the city has collectively found itself captivated and even adopting atypical athletic swagger. South Philly-heavy performance collective Tribe of Fools chose to capture that joy through “Fly Eagles Fly,” a runaway favorite in this year’s FringeArts Festival.

Action shot from “Fly Eagles Fly.”Credit: Plate 3 Photography

“It’s so interesting, especially in Philadelphia, how sports can affect so many individuals’ demeanors and dispositions,” artistic director Terry Brennan, who is also co-directing the 90-minute look at fandom and friendship, said before a recent performance. “When we look back to seven months ago, that’s where we got that rare example of just how good it can feel to go from being in the hunt to being the best of the best.”

“Fly Eagles Fly” performers (left to right) Nathan Alford-Tate, Janice Rowland, Taiwo Sokan, Jacinta Yelland, Kyle Yackoski. Credit: Plate 3 Photography

The West Passyunk resident and his peers are presenting the office-situated comedy through September 22 at Center City’s Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake. Touching on the depth of personal interactions, social matters, self-knowledge and concern for others—all frequent Tribe of Fools themes—the plot follows the riveting 2017 campaign that culminated in the title game upset over the vaunted Patriots, whose quarterback ends up as a character dubbed “evil, imaginary Tom Brady” in the show. Continue Reading →

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

FDR Park: Master Plan, Survey, and Call for Artists

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, also known as F.D.R. Park and “The Lakes,” has provided a green oasis for  South Philly since the early 1900s. The park’s popularity, years of active use, flooding, and major projects like the construction of Sports Complex and I-95 have taken their toll on the park. Now, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, is preparing a master plan for the 348-acre park – and they’re seeking your input. They’ve also just released a call for artists for a temporary environmental art installation.

The Overlook on Edgewood Lake, FDR Park. Courtesy of the Farimount Park Conservancy.


Not What It Used to Be

First named League Island Park, the park’s original plan was created by famed landscape designers, the Olmsted Brothers. When it opened in 1921 the park stretched from 11th Street to 20th Street. In 1926 the portion of the park east of Broad Street was redeveloped into Municipal Stadium, now the site of the Wells Fargo Center. Additional acreage was lost to the construction of Interstate 95. According to the park’s nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places:

Over the years F.D.R. Park lost approximately 32 acres of parkland, including a running track, a picnic shelter with fireplace, several heavily used picnic areas, a soccer field, a volleyball court, a children’s playground, the Melville Memorial and 649 mature trees.

Running track? Volleyball court? Soccer field? More trees? Yes, please!

The original League Island Park plan by the Olmsted Brothers, 1913. The area on the right is now the site of the Sports Complex. I-95 runs through the site roughly along the area at the bottom labeled “right of way.” Courtesy of Free Library of Philadelphia, Map Collection


Master Plan: Your Input Wanted

According to the Fairmount Park Conservancy, “the goal of the master plan is to revitalize the park, restoring it back to its original intent as an urban oasis for people as well as plants and animals, and create a shared vision for the park’s future.” Part of this process involves collecting extensive community input. A public meeting was held in June and an online survey was created.

Public meeting participants. Courtesy Fairmount Park Conservancy.


Call for Artists

This Fall, the Conservancy is seeking an artist or team of artists to create an outdoor environmental art installation or interactive experience. The goal is to “invite visitors and community members to engage with the relationship between FDR Park and climate change.” Artists may submit ideas for participatory projects, installations, sculpture, and multi-disciplinary interventions that engage FDR Park users.

Suggested locations for the art installation (outlined in red).

The project must be installed or activated by Friday, October 19, 2018. A stipend of $4,000 will be allocated for the artist/artist team. This commission is part of the Arts and Culture Program at the Conservancy, supported by grants from CUSP at The Franklin Institute and William Penn Foundation.


F.D.R. Park Action Items:

Take the FDR Park user survey to let the Conservancy know your thoughts on the future of FDR Park.

Apply to the call for artists.

Learn more about the master planning process.

Read more about FDR Park’s history.

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What's Happening in:  Hawthorne :  Passyunk Square :  Point Breeze 

South Philly Developments Round-up

If you’ve been away the past week or so, here are some development stories have missed…

Hawthorne

The vacant lots at 1114 and 1116 Carpenter Street may soon be developed. A rendering installed on a fence at the site shows an image of two, four-story rowhomes with garages. As Naked Philly notes, “the project hasn’t started down the path to permits,” and the garages will require a variance that may not be easily granted.


Passyunk Square

702-706 Latona Street was home to the Whilldin Pottery Co. from the 1870s until the early 1900s. By the 1940s the company had relocated and its site, running from Latona Street through to Wharton Street, was vacant. Part of the site was developed into rowhouses in the 1980s. Plan Philly reports that the remaining portion of the lot may soon be redeveloped. The current site is described as a hidden oasis:

Inside this 13,300 square-foot refuge from the noise and neon of Passyunk Square, bushes flower, willowy grasses sway in the breeze, and enormous golden koi fish swim in a pond.

The new development will will bring 10 hotly-contested “townhomes” to the site:

For developer Maxwell Bassman, the de-facto public green is an opportunity to build more homes in a suddenly very desirable — and profitable— neighborhood. Last week, the developer won approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment for variances needed to move forward with a plan for 10 four-story townhomes with garages and an internal driveway.

Neighbors may appeal the ZBA’s decision.

For history’s sake, here’s an ad for the pottery company that once occupied the site:

The Whilldin Pottery Co. manufactured clay pots at 713 Wharton Street on the eastern side of the Latona Street site. (Newspapers.com)

And here’s the pottery company’s proposed replacement:

A rendering of the 10-townhouse development proposed for 706-724 Latona St. ( credit: Maxwell Bassman)

A rendering of the 10-townhouse development proposed for 706-724 Latona St. (credit: Maxwell Bassman)


Point Breeze

Over in Point Breeze, changes are underway on the 2100 block of Annin Street. 2114 Annin Street, a suburban-style townhome, was originally built as affordable housing by South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S. in the early 1980s. The home, and its adjacent yard, is slated to be replaced by three new homes. According to the blog, “We understand that this project would be a partnership between the longtime owner of the property and a developer, with the owner getting one of the new homes.”

2104 Annin Street from Google Street View.

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What's Happening in:  Lower Moyamensing 

Pop’s Homemade Italian Ice

This month’s Old School Spotlight shines on a family-run business in South Philly that’s been servin’ up a taste of summer since the depths of the Great Depression.

As the temperatures climb back into the high-90s (hopefully for the last time this year), there’s one business that’ll help folks keep their cool the same way they have since the 1932: Pop’s Water Ice.

“Pop” was Filippo Italiano. After emigrating from his native Calabria, Italy with his wife, Teresa Scutella, Filippo worked in the Navy Yard. When the Depression hit, he found he needed extra income to make ends meet to feed his six children. Filippo turned to a tasty desert he knew from Italy: granita – crushed ice mixed with fresh fruit, juice, or fruit puree. Philadelphians called this chilly treat “water ice.” It’s also known as Italian ice. Water ice is a combination of sugar, water and various fruits blended together to a smooth consistency. This is different from other ice treats (like snow cones) which are shaved ice with syrup poured on top.

Filippo started his water ice business from a push-cart he stationed at Marconi Plaza, right across the street from the current location. He would shave the ice and add the fruit by hand. The options were limited: cherry, lemon, plus whatever fruit was in season.

 

Filippo eventually expanded into the current 1337 Oregon Avenue location, a former garage. Granddaughter Linda Raffa recalls how he produced water ice in the garage, “with a round wooden machine that used chopped ice, rock salt, a towel and a hand crank.” In the 1950s the first electric water ice machines came along. Filippo purchased one which is still used in the store. This allowed him to expand the store’s regular flavor offerings to include chocolate and pineapple.

“The whole family helped out with the business. Pop’s six children helped mix the flavors around the dinner table,” Linda recounts. Later, his grandchildren helped out each summer. Linda remembers how, as a teenager, she would be ready to go out with her friends. Her mother would prompt her: “It’s a hot night, grandpop’s going to be busy…he sure could use some help.”

Pop ran the shop until he was 85. He still remained active in the business after that. He would sit on the front step, watching his grandchildren who were home from college and scooping water ice. If they weren’t moving the line fast enough, he’d wave his finger and tell them to pick up the pace.

After Pop’s passing in 1987 at age 92, the grandchildren took over the business. Each brings a different skill set to the business: Linda is an accountant; cousin Phil is an attorney; cousin Michael is the sales manager in charge of inventory. They all do their part to keep the workload balanced.

In 1988 the family renovated the garage into a finished building. They slowly added new flavors: piña colada, root beer, vanilla. Watermelon was tested in 1990 and added to the menu the following year. Banana debuted in 1991. Today, over 20 flavors are offered, some seasonally.

Despite the delicious variety, Linda says, “When it’s 90 degrees and humid, our best seller is the original lemon, by far! When the weather is a little more mild, it’s chocolate.”

The family prides itself on using the freshest ingredients. In early July, when the peaches are ripe, bushels start arriving at the store from Elmer, New Jersey peach groves. “Every year folks just wait for it,” says Linda. As fall nears, the pumpkin-spice flavored water ice starts to fly out of the store. Yes, pumpkin-spice water ice.

In addition to the secret to great water ice, Pop taught his family to be charitable. Linda recalls the time Filippo made batches of water ice in the dead of winter to help a woman suffering from throat cancer who had difficulty swallowing. The shop’s charitable work includes donating water ice to a myriad of different causes and even helping neighbors with medical bills.

Pop’s Water Ice opens for the season around March 1st (depending on the weather) and closes around the Columbus Day Parade (early October).

  • Spring hours: 7 days a week 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.
  • Summer hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • After Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Check their Facebook page or website for more details.

Insider advice: for a special treat, try the chocolate-covered frozen bananas!

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