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Author Archive | Paulina Reso

What's Happening in:  Point Breeze 

Will the American Sardine Bar have outdoor seating in the summer?

If Sisyphus lived in Philadelphia, he wouldn’t be hauling a boulder up a mountain, he’d be trying to get permission for outdoor seating in Point Breeze.

American Sardine Bar, via Philly Phoodie

Since last year, the American Sardine Bar’s owner, John Longacre, says he has been trying to secure a variance to bring five or six tables to a lot he owns adjacent to the restaurant, at 18th and Federal.  As part of his design for the space, which he called “unrivaled in the city,” he envisions ringing a garden area with an ornate fence and paving the surface. But he has faced enough resistance to require him to appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the second time on Feb. 27.

Back in November, South Philly H.O.M.E.S. voted in support of the project and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office submitted a letter of non-opposition, the bureaucratic speak for “support.” When Longacre first appeared before the ZBA about two months ago, he presented his plans along with 200 signatures from neighbors.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Passyunk Square 

Noord construction to (hopefully) begin next week, plus a preview menu

1046 Tasker St., before Noord starts construction

Noord, the soon-to-be Northern European restaurant coming to 10th and Tasker, opened the doors last night to neighbors to provide a little preview of what’s to come. It’s still quite early.

The first-floor storefront, which had been converted into an apartment, still evoked more of a man-cave vibe than sophisticated BYOB because the tenant had just moved out on Friday.

Chef Joncarl Lachman says the space won’t feel like that for long. Come April, Lachman expects to have the restaurant fully operational. Although landlord PARC has yet to acquire a building permit, they’re hoping to begin interior demolition next week.

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What's Happening in:  Newbold :  Point Breeze 

Newbold Neighbors wants a new name too?

NOTE: This post has been updated from an earlier version to clarify how the Newbold name came about.

Call it an identity crisis, maybe.

We told you a couple weeks back that the Dickinson Narrows civic was now going by Dickinson Square West. Now, Newbold Neighbors Association is exploring changing its name too.

The name Newbold only began about 10 years ago, when developer and South Philly Tap Room owner John Longacre bequeathed it onto the area from Tasker to Wolf, 18th to Broad. He cooperated with community leaders in Point Breeze to create the Newbold Civic Association. Then newcomers north of that adopted the name when they created the Newbold Neighbors Association, and a battle over the name has been brewing ever since. Now, the NNA is trying to distance itself from it.

At their next general meeting Feb. 26, the NNA will be considering two fresh titles (although there is always the chance that the name may remain the same): East Point Breeze Neighborhood Association and Point Breeze East Neighborhood Association.

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What's Happening in:  Graduate Hospital 

Swanky apartments at old Catharine Street YWCA are one step closer

For the fourth time since January 2012, developers of the former YWCA building at 1607-09 Catharine St. presented their plans to revamp the eyesore to the South of South Neighborhood Association last night.

The YWCA envisioned in its future, proposed glory… (pic from Naked Philly)

Most recently, the plan included 33 residential units and 22 parking spots. After seeking input from the community, they presented a revised and more modest proposal that seemed more palatable to everyone.

There would be fewer units (the number was knocked down to 28, plus one for the superintendent); the height of the addition would be shaved about one story, from 68 feet 60 feet so neighbors could keep their views; and the communal roof deck would be removed.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Farewell, Fabulous Finds on Broad Street? UPDATE: Maybe not

NOTE: This post has been updated from an earlier version. See below

Unless you were waiting for the bus at Broad and Tasker or a patron of the Dolphin Tavern when it knew better days, you might not have noticed Fabulous Finds, a consignment store at 1535 S. Broad St. Now, after more than 15 years in business, a sign outside says they’re going out of business.

The one on the left

Since everything must go, they’re offering the remaining inventory at 50% off. That includes baby ballet shoes, an adult Santa suit, and a platter painted with a colorful turkey, among other gems. When we stopped by on Thursday the store still had goods a-plenty, so hurry over, penny-pinchers, before the best finds have been taken.

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What's Happening in:  Newbold 

Shocker! New three-story home in Point Breeze

Those South Philly rowhouses can start feeling cramped, especially as we require more to maintain a certain quality of life, so it’s no wonder that homeowners want to expand upwards.

The proposal

The owners of the property at 1821 S. Hicks St. are trying to do just that by adding more square footage by building out the second story, constructing a third level, and creating roof garden. This might not seem like a big deal, but such expansion was a hot-button issue that divided the community last year when a bill attempted to ban third-story additions and roof gardens for one year, was proposed (and subsequently killed). Three-story homes have been quite the hot topic in the neighborhood for a while now.

The renovation proposal was taken up last week by the Newbold Neighbors Association zoning committee, which promptly offered support. Although the NNA was a bit concerned that the owners, M. Homes Investments, were unable to attend two previous meetings (they were tending to family matters in Mexico), the committee backed up the development of a long-time derelict property.
Much better than what’s there now

As the owners’ attorney, David G. Orphanides demonstrated with a nifty shadow study, there would be limited impact on neighbors in the surrounding area. Plus, the envisioned design, complete with a mansard roof, is a vast improvement of the current condition. The owners plan to sell the property if/when the renovations are complete, rather than renting it.

The shadow knows…This is supposed to show something about shadows. 
That’s if you look reeeeeaaaaally close

If you have an opinion on the house, or other thoughts on three-story addtions in the neighborhood, you can share them at the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s public hearing on Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor.

- Paulina Reso, @paulinareso

You curious about something west of Broad? You may have noticed we’re keeping an eye out over there, too. Drop us a line at so we can answer those questions you’ve been dying to ask.

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