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Archive | Developments

What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

PARC facade program starts in Sept. with 5 businesses

Starting in September, you’re gonna see a whole lotta scaffolding going up on the Avenue. PARC executive director Sam Sherman said that his nonprofit will be contributing $100,000 toward a new facade improvement program of avenue businesses. The first will be Mamma Maria, followed by Sermania Jewlers, B2, Avenue Cheese and Today’s Styles.

Yikes! Hideous

Here’s how the program works: Building owners are applying in tandem to an existing city-sponsored facade improvement program that pays up to $8,000 for mid-block buildings and $12,000 for corner properties. But a complete façade renovation is often cost prohibitive because it could run $25,000 or more for larger buildings. So, the building owners chip in a percentage of the total renovation budget, add their contribution to the city funding, and PARC covers the remainder.

So thanks to those two extra funding streams, building owners who wouldn’t be able to pay for a complete reno get better looking storefronts and neighbors don’t have to look at crappy, crumbling stucco. Everybody wins, especially since the renovations will take care of some of the ugliest properties. We’re looking at you, Avenue Cheese Shop.

Architects are meeting now with the building owners. PARC gets input through the end to ensure that the final product is up to the standards of the recent renovations of their own buildings. Remember what the South Philly Comics building used to look like, with that weird purple gate?

The hope is to get the first five finished by the end of the year, then renovate five more per year. That’s right, Sherman’s thinking long-term. Way to go, sir.

Check out all these before shots, imagine them in black and white in an infomercial:
Of all of them, this is the least in need
I wonder what the name is
Rusted sign
This whole behemoth is getting the PARC treatment, thank god
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

King of Jeans plans on the agenda CORRECTED

The East Passyunk Crossing zoning committee is meeting next Wednesday night and front and center will be a presentation on the future of the King of Jeans building.

Imagine balconies maybe instead of a huge, blue-jeaned ass

A developer wants to convert the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors into 12 apartments with retail on the first floor. He’s asking for a variance because zoning only allows six apartments, so he’ll probably try to wow near neighbors into supporting him. The sale of the 10,000 square foot building, which was most recently listed for $819,900, hasn’t been finalized as far as we could tell, so neighborhood support will be crucial to moving this project forward.

Even without seeing the plans, we wish the developer good luck. That building is crying out for sprucing up.

Not sure if they’ll speak up about the brewing debate over what to do with the Duran Duran-style KOJ sign.

CORRECTION:
Sorry for the confusion folks. We’re still getting used to the idea of scheduling posts in advance, and this was supposed to go live next Wednesday. We’ll chalk it up to growing pains. Feel free to call us stupid in the comments as we rightfully hang our head in shame.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Update on St. Jude’s, apartments above

St. Jude’s is staying in the building being renovated at 1805 E. Passyunk Ave., according to a source familiar with the renovations.

Paper foretells nothing at this point, a source said

Two weeks ago, we raised the question about the future of St. Jude’safter paper went up over part of window display. The source, who asked not to be named, said Monday there were no plans to end the lease for the Catholic gear emporium.

We couldn’t help it if our suspicions were raised when St. Jude’s owner, Louis DiCocco, sounded frustrated that we were asking him about the store’s future.

“We’re still there and selling, and that’s all you need to know,” he said from his Havertown store before rushing off the phone.

At any rate, the building’s new owner, Ed Brown, who doesn’t deal with the leasing of his properties, said Monday he bought the building from the DiCocco family. It’s his first building in the neighborhood.

It’s a wonderful area that has a lot of real good solid vibrations,” said Brown, who normally works with Center City real estate. “I think it’s the right place to be.”

He’s renovating the five existing apartments above the store – three one-bedrooms and two two-bedrooms. The apartments were really old-fashioned and cramped, so they’re knocking down walls to open them up, and, of course, replacing kitchens and bathrooms. The building is so old, in fact, workers found newspapers from the 1880s stuffed into the chimneys.

They haven’t settled on a price for the apartments, which they hope to have ready by the end of October.

Brown said there are no plans to expand the residential part of the building on the second and third floors over the storage space on the first floor (which fronts Camac Street). But he does have high hopes for adding one or more roof decks back there. Those would require extra permits, though, so it might be a while.

Imagine if they put the residential entrance back here and added a couple stories to match its neighbor 
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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

NoLibs flair at 12th and Latona

The intersection at 12th and Latona streets has begun to look decidedly un-South Philadelphian, in a good way. That old warehouse on 12th with the weird flag mural stripped across its wall has given way to a project under construction called Latona Court. It’s a development of 10 towering, modern townhouses with roof decks, balconies and parking squeezed onto little Latona Street. Pretty pricey.

Towering over little Latona rowhouses 
Seven more to go

Across the street, the same developer just finished another modernistic apartment building with a weird, deep-set retail or office space on the first floor. There are also three covered parking spots.

Fancy facade across Latona with the weird setback. 

Plus, down the street, the recently closed Annunciation BVM school has gone up for sale, listed with Colliers International. That could make for one hell of an apartment building just across the street from the dog park and playground in namesake Passyunk Square. And some critical mass for the neighborhood to possibly fill that weird retail space above.

As to the fancy facades of the new buildings, we’re all for red-brick rehabs, but it doesn’t hurt to spice up the hood’s architecture every once in a while. Northern Liberties managed to mix it in just fine. Let’s get more of that into the mix, which is entirely possible as the neighborhood keeps attracting more buzz.

Old warehouse, photo via Naked Philly

Yesterday, Philadelphia magazine announced that George Sabatino of Stateside was named Best Chef in their annual Best of Philly issue.

Pretty cool, but now we’ll never get a table.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Apartments coming to King of Jeans building

Forget about the brewing debate over what to do with the King of Jeans sign on EPA near Mifflin. The real news is that a developer has plans for 12 apartments. From Newsworks:

Oh, isn’t it glorious

[Max] Glass wants to convert the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors into 12, single-bedroom apartments, keeping the ground floor retail. Zoning codes allow him to build only six apartments, so he’s seeking a variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustments.

We here at the P’yunk Post have thought for years that apartments there would be the way to go. The building, across the street from weird little triangle with the bronze Joey Giardello statue, would be a prime spot a couple blocks from the Snyder subway stop. It’s also one of the tallest buildings in the hood, so imagine that roof deck.

But speaking of the sign, what’s so special about it again? Sure, it’s kitschy, but that can only get you so far. Some new people looking through windows onto the Avenue would do a lot more for the neighborhood than some misogynistic throwback.

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