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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

South Philly’s 1st coworking space opens this week

Forget what the sign outside says, the South Philadelphia Co-Op Workspace was scheduled to open this week in a former corner store at 11th and Peirce streets. The shared office space is targeting all those homebound freelance workers in the neighborhood who miss daily small-talk with coworkers (or semi-regular, depending on the membership level).

Co-founder and architect Ian Toner, Say hi to your potential coworkers, Ian

The office is about 700 square feet on the first floor and has six desks (may expand to eight), plus it offers a conference area, kitchenette, basement storage and free Wifi and utilities.

Co-founders Ian Toner, an architect from the hood who will work full time there, and Terence Buckley, a bookkeeper who will pop by occasionally, sunk about $7,000 into sprucing up the rented storefront. The tables, storage shelves and kitchen counter were made out of wood reclaimed from a relative’s barn. They will also install a keypad so members can access the space 24/7.

The website is still an early version, but it lists these rates: $300/month for full-time use; $200/month for three days a week; $85/month for one day a week; $25/day drop-in rate. The rates are month-to-month, so no lease, and there’s no deposit. Toner said they’ve gotten interest from about 10 people, though all were waiting for the final approvals to commit.

Bustling workforce to come
The conference area and kitchenette
The main workspace. Chairs have since arrived.

So far as the sign goes, they’re in the process of determining whether the existing one was fully permitted to begin with. If it was, changing it will be easy. If it was slapped up there in the dead of night, then changing it will be a longer, costlier process. Either way, Toner says they hope to use the time in between to settle on an official name. They might even wait to find out what members end up calling it (SouCo? SoCOW?). Maybe someone with branding experience can barter for a month’s membership.

Hey, that’s not the 11th Street Food Market

The utilitarian space lacks the flash of the more well-known Independents Hall in Old City and the upcoming 3rd Ward on 4th Street just above Girard. But it is the first to open in South Philly, joining a growing sector across the city that also includes Venturf0rth near 8th and Callowhill and Benjamin’s Desk at 17th and Walnut. SPCOW’s rates are about on par with the others, or even about 20 percent less in some cases.

This development is great news for the neighborhood, which has been experiencing a nice little boomlet in office spaces, which we noted last week. Now we just have to get them to take care of that ungainly name. Anyone have any suggestions?

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

KOJ developer adding floor of office space – now with new rendering

UPDATED: This post has been updated from an earlier version

Developer Max Glass, who planned 12 apartments and retail over four floors of the King Of Jeans building, will present an updated version of his plans tomorrow night at an EPX civic zoning meeting. He’s seeking support for an additional floor of commercial office space, either on the second or fifth floor, extending the height to the allowed maximum of 55 feet for the entire building and adding an elevator. The height is allowed “by right” in the zoning code.

New, taller proposal

Also on the agenda for tomorrow night is a proposal to allow outside seating at Lucky 13. The meeting begins at 7pm at the EPX Center @ 1729 S 11th St. (Enter through gate on 11th St. just north of Neumann-Goretti H.S./Moore St. Office is in 2nd yellow-brick building on left.) Show up to show your support.

Glass said in an email that one reason he opted for adding the office space was because it would make adding the elevator economically feasible.

“The additional of commercial office made the addition of an elevator possible,” he said. “And this would significantly improve the quality of the apartment living. I chose to go this route so that these would be more accessible units with broader appeal and positioned to stand the test of time.”

The office space, about 3,000 square feet, will have an open floor plan and could be broken into smaller spaces. “Should be beautiful and have lovely skyline views from the top floor,” Glass said. He didn’t disclose pricing but said the space was already available for lease. Contact him at 484-410-1710 or or his commercial leasing agent Jacob Cooper at 215-568-2600 or

Given the handful of professionals who have recently given up their Center City offices for South Philly space, the KOJ offices is incremental advance toward East Passyunk becoming a mini employment center. More on that tomorrow, actually.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Boo! Carman’s Country Kitchen Closing

After 22 years with her truck table parked out front, Carman’s Country Kitchen at 11th and Wharton will close at the end of the year. She told Holly Eats that her landlord decided not to renew her lease because he wants to open a pizza place. Like we need more pizza. Come on!

At 11th and Wharton, via Uwishunu

Famous for its incredible brunch before South Philly was a brunch spot, Carman’s was also known for its quirky vibe, no substitutions rule, and the eight-top table in the red and yellow truck bed out front. The place had legions of fans, and it’s obvious from this that Holly Eats really liked the place too:

The menu does its part, but it is Carman who makes Carman’s Country Kitchen so special. Sparkling, sometimes outrageous, Carman is almost as happy shocking customers as feeding them. Carman’s life is the stuff of novels. She has been most everywhere, done most everything and knows most everyone.

Farewell, Carman. We’ll make sure to get a farewell meal.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Beautiful apartments above PARC headquarters now finished

The Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation has finished renovating the final two apartments above its headquarters at 1134 Titan St., adding to the three they’ve already redone. The two 2-bedrooms, which have private entrances on the other side of the building on Wharton Street, each have two bathrooms and open kitchens in nearly 1,400 square feet.

The entrances, and garage

At the expense of sounding like a vapid Realtor, the vaulted wood-beam ceilings are by far the most dramatic feature of the apartments, soaring to maybe 16-18 feet in certain points.

Say hi, Sam! Pardon the dust specs in the air. Cleaners had just swept up the last of the construction dust.

Other pluses include garage parking on the first floor, solar panels that keep your electric bill down in the summer, and electric car charging stations.

Storage for apartments with the two charging stations
Plug it in, plug it in

Incidentally, when PARC’s predecessor the Citizens Alliance was located in the building, it was mostly used for storage. They apparently needed somewhere to put all those extra trucks and vaccuums for Vince Fumo (not that the Friends of Dickinson Square Parkhas been doing much better, apparently).

Here’s the Craigslist listing for a few more details about the apartments. If you’re interested, act quick, because one has already been rented. The other is still available for $2,140 a month. If you think that’s high, well, learn from our mistake. Aug. 31’s SoPhilly Spotlight cast doubt on whether a 1-bedroom owned by PARC was too expensive.

Consider us humbled. The place was rented days later at the full price for $1,200. Clearly, Sam “The Man” Sherman is better at evaluating the market than we are.

Opposite view of the living room/kitchen. You can pull stools up to that island.
One bedroom….
And the ceiling in the other
Main space of the other apartment. Imagine the parties
The Titan Street side of the building
Not a bad view. That’s Columbus Square past the trees, and the Archdiocese just put that building up for sale.
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

SoPhilly Spotlight: Wood paneling vs. location edition

Well, it’s not much to look at, but you can’t beat the location. Listed for $164,999, this 2-bedroom, 840-square-foot ugly duckling sits at 1829 S. Camac St., which is practically spitting distance to Stogie Joe’s on Passyunk. And you might do a spit-take once you see the sheer volume of wood paneling in this rowhouse.

Maybe they just liked earth tones

The number of plastic trees that lost their lives to make all that crap truly boggles the mind. From the listing:

This is a well kept 2 bed. 1 bath home steps from Passyunk Ave. with all the restaurants and shopping you can wish for! Steps from broad street and public transportation. First floor has nice size living room and a full kitchen. Second floor has full tile bath and 2 cozy bedrooms. Basement is unfinished but it is clean and dry. Come and take a look. This home is Priced to sell!!

But is it priced to sell? This place comes down to a choice. Either you buy it to sink another $40,000+ into gutting it and remodeling, or you appreciate the kitschy quality and spend the extra dough on Clover Clubs at Stateside. What would you do?

In Realtor speak: Ample glare protection
That ceiling, yikes. Was a Chinese restaurant fryer in there, or did they pick that?
Not a bad size at least
Believe us, removing that tile is gonna be a bitch
Itty bitty bedroom
Main bedroom
The rest of the estate, though that pit could be done up pretty nice.
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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Old Allstate office isn’t vacant after all – plus, storefront artwork

You might have been wondering, as we were, what the holdup was at the old Allstate office at 1716 E. Passyunk Ave. Even though progress appeared to have stalled from the outside, a team of workers was busy toiling away making it all pretty inside.

Lawyer and South Philly resident Robert Brand bought the building in December 2010 for $280,000. In the meantime, he renovated the place and gave up his Center City office. If you happen to need legal help, check him out here. As his website says, he represents “The Brand name in personal injury law.” Get it?

This ugly facade will be taken care of soon

As you can see, the storefront windows aren’t too stimulating at this point, but Brand has a plan for that. When we surprised him by popping in yesterday, he said he plans to enliven the display windows with a little bit of self-promotion and plenty of art installations. He said he knows lots of artists.

Good idea keeping that tin ceiling
Say hi, Robert! Sorry for the bad picture quality

The desire to walk to work rather than commute to Center City was also a factor with the recent news that video production firm Pattern and Motion would open their office in PARC-owned 1820 E. Passyunk Ave, where Sweet Jane vintage used to be. In fact, we’ll have more next week on how East Passyunk is becoming more of an employment node. That’s great news, considering a recent Center City District study that found a relative dearth of jobs outside Center City and University City.

Google street view from 2009
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