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GROWING Prosperity Westward


SHoP and West 8 masterplan extends Philadelphia skyline across the Schuylkill River



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Mantua: Neighborhood Dealing with Gentrification, Promise of Federal Help

In January 2014, President Barack Obama revealed the first five locations that will be designated as Promise Zones. The initiative, designed to provide vital investments to dilapidated areas, includes the Mantua neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Promise Zones are not given any federal aid but are offered preferential consideration, or extra points, for federal grants. Obama is currently battling […]

. . .

Mantua has seen a reduction in crime rates recently, but this, Wright said, may not be a direct result of the Promise Zone.

In 2012, President Obama launched the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) under the much broader Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. That September, local organization We Are Mantua! and partners were awarded a BCJI Grant of $600,000, to tackle crime and address safety issues in Mantua.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mantua has a population of 12,956, a poverty rate of 43.2 percent and an unemployment rate of 43.2 percent. Its two biggest neighbors are the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.


> https://philadelphianeighborhoods.com/2015/04/09/mantua-neighborhood-affected-by-gentrification-promise-of-federal-help/

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TRADE-OFFS, for those who work in Manhattan, but want to live somewhere cheaper


The Avenue Collection, New Jersey (2 stops from wall street - FD) from $795,000



the Avenue Collection, the recently completed first phase of a project by Lennar Urban, includes 74 condos ranging from $800,000 to $4 million. Sales launched in July and by mid-September, more than 60 percent were sold. Lennar already broke ground on the 103-condo second phase.

Preview by Yahoo


Some pretty fancy prices in New Jersey


- based on the access to Manhattan


If you spend Half that ($800k / 2= $400k) in Philly,

and get a nice Condo near the Amtrac station

You can invest the other half ($400K) at 11%, and generate: $44k per annum,


$ 3,667 per month... or $122 per day


The Annual unlimited Amtrac (express ticket) is about $15,000 /12: $1,250 per month

Just saying...


· Distinctive 1, 2 & 3 bedroom waterfront condominiums on the Hudson River overlooking the spectacular skyline of Manhattan

· 8 minutes# NY Waterways Ferry ride to Midtown Manhattan

Park and ride at Hoboken (3 minutes from site) direct rail link to Wall Street (2 stops)

· Complementary shuttle to the Ferry Terminal provided by the Port Imperial Property Owners Association

· NJ Waterfront and its multiple park system are just steps from your door

· Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel and George Washington Bridge are all a short car ride away


New Jersey Gold Coast


As prices in Manhattan and the outer boroughs climb, Gold Coast towns with strong transit links are increasingly shedding their second-fiddle status.

“This side of the river used to be considered more of a niche market,” said David Barry of Hoboken-based Ironstate Development, which has multiple residential projects in the area. “It’s now considered much more a piece of the fabric of greater New York.”

Over the course of the next few years, the towns along the Gold Coast — which include Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, West New York and Edgewater — are expected to add just shy of 9,000 new apartments, riding a wave of demand that has been growing since 2010.

This month, The Real Deal compiled a list of more than 30 development projects that are either currently being marketed or will come to market in the next two years (see chart). The data came from municipal records, news reports and TRD sources.

Of those projects, 24 are in Jersey City. Weehawken, meanwhile, has four, and Hoboken and Edgewater have three each.

. . .

At the end of last year, the vacancy rate for multi-family rentals in Hudson County, which covers many of the Gold Coast cities, was 4.7 percent, according to the research firm Reis. That was level with 2012, but a 13 percent drop from 2011.

Residential rents have been rising, too.

In 2013, the average effective rent in Hudson County was $2,650, up 1.7 percent from the previous year, Reis’ data show.

By comparison, average rents in Manhattan climbed 2.1 percent for an annual price of $3,875 in 2013, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

. . .

Tall towers are nothing new to downtown Jersey City...

In downtown, which includes the waterfront, one-bedrooms go for an average of $2,500. Journal Square rents average $1,450, according to Jersey City brokerage JCity Realty.


> http://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/gold-coast-glut/


Julie S a year ago

I live in Edgewater and work in the city. The buildings on this side, like the ones at Port Imperial are beautiful, have tons of amenities, amazing views of the city, and when you want to be there, you can walk over to the ferries and get to midtown or the financial district in under 10 minutes. I've definitely felt that this area has been sitting as an undiscovered gem. I'm not surprised it's finally getting noticed.

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REHABBING in Point Breeze - what can be done in a gentrifying neighborhood




Purchased for $40k in 2015, it was recently offered at just under $240k


> More photos : http://philly.curbed.com/2016/3/24/11298984/big-reveal-239k-for-a-restored-point-breeze-home

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Will the "Renaissance" speed up Philly's slow growth rate?


Philly fell to the 7th largest city, from 6th in 2015


Atlanta passed Philly: http://www.philly.com/philly/infographics/373310991.html


Numbers show Philadelphia is still growing. But its drop in rank isn't arbitrary: It is symptomatic of a region that continues to struggle with high taxes, a city school system in chaos, and industries that aren't hiring at the rates they did in the region's heydays.

Economies elsewhere "are growing more quickly than ours," said David Elesh, an urban sociology professor at Temple University. "Between that and their climate in some cases, they can attract the residents and the retirees."

Nevertheless, in 2015 metro Philadelphia grew for a ninth consecutive year - even if, compared with sunnier regions exploding with growth, Philadelphia is merely inching along.

In total, the population of the metro area - which includes parts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland - grew by nearly 105,000 residents between 2010 and 2015, bringing it to just above six million.

Yet that growth yielded only a 1.6 percent population increase for the metro area. Nationally, the population grew 3.9 percent between 2010 and 2015.

"We're encouraged by the continued growth, but we know there is still much work to be done to increase our competitiveness with other metro areas," said Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman for Mayor Kenney.

While a drop from the sixth most populous region in 2014 to seventh in 2015 may seem incremental, experts say there's cause for concern: The region's growth was largely fueled by births offsetting others' departures.

Although residents have moved out, nearly 50,000 immigrants came to the city of Philadelphia in the same time period - and their numbers, experts said, are what counterbalance other losses, as in other Eastern cities.

"What's keeping us from declining, for the most part, is immigration from abroad," said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.


Thursday's rankings come as the city of Philadelphia has been experiencing something of a renaissance, becoming what locals, developers, and officials have dubbed as a trendy destination for millennials.

The experts say they see evidence of a cultural revitalization in Philadelphia. Neighborhoods that were once depressed have undergone gentrification, attracting new housing and new residents. Erstwhile working-class neighborhoods in Fishtown and South Philadelphia have sprouted wine bars and coffee shops, yoga studios and trendy restaurants.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160324_Slow-growing_metro_Phila__falls_to_No__7_nationally.html#5bWAotRQ76f3cEUc.99
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Displaced Renters - Gentrificatioon is driving people North


Fleeing to Fairhill and beyond?

The Fairhill neighborhood — which is somewhat contentiously known as the Badlands — is far from seeing the early signs of gentrification. But as a neighbor to Kensington, community leaders say they can feel the changing tides.

Fairhill has become a catchment for gentrifying neighborhoods just south, according to Maria Gonzalez of HACE.

Their latest community survey revealed that rentership has increased by 13 percent (861 new renters) in the last five years. As it stands, Fairhill is 57 percent renters compared with 43 percent homeowners.

Where are they coming? “From North Liberties, from Kensington, they’re migrating north,” Gonzalez said, though HACE did not have data to verify the exact percentage.

Of course, the increased rentership in neighborhoods on the edge of gentrification in Fairhill could be stemming from multiple factors. Data on the trend in these areas is scarce. And for those at risk, the well-known signs of gentrification are an easy target.

Conventional wisdom has always been that homeowners are better for a community. They are less transient, and have both a physical and economic investment in their neighborhood’s wellbeing. And while new studies suggest that Philadelphia’s renters are just as civically engaged as homeowners, Gonzalez feels there’s a fine line.

“It’s good and bad,” she said. “At HACE we do a lot of affordable rental housing for seniors and families, but having too many renters isn’t desirable, because you want more people having a stake in the neighborhood.”

So HACE is busy educating her community about the need to buy homes. HACE offers housing counseling and credit repair services for those who are concerned they might not be eligible.

Because while Hernandez’s family rents partially because of their immigration status, many families in Philly’s lowest-income neighborhoods like Fairhill have trouble qualifying for mortgages for a whole different set of reasons.

Like so many undocumented immigrants from Latin America, Hernandez and her family went to “El Norte” both out of survival and in search of new opportunity. Whether those people moving out of gentrifying neighborhoods in Philadelphia are looking for new opportunity, or simply economic survival, it may be too early to tell.


> http://aldianews.com/articles/politics/housing/renting-edge-gentrification/41998




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City zoning hearing for 46th and Spruce mixed-use building proposal Wednesday (updated)

26 April 2016

4-story, 21-unit building coming?


UPDATE (4/29/2016): The Zoning Board of Adjustment heard the case on Wednesday, but decided to hold the vote for two weeks at the request of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, according to SHCA’s Zoning Chair Barry Grossbach. We’ll post an update next month.

After months of discussions and re-considerations in Spruce Hill, the proposal to build a four-story mixed-use building on the site of the former Transition to Independent Living Center building at the southeast corner of 46th and Spruce St. (4534-36 Spruce St.), has received support from the Spruce Hill Community Association’s (SHCA) zoning committee ahead of its consideration by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) this Wednesday.




The project developers presented an updated proposal for the 21-unit building with ground-floor retail and a rooftop deck during an SHCA zoning meeting earlier this month.


SHCA’s Zoning Chair Barry Grossbach wrote in an email addressed to SHCA members today that the Spruce Hill zoning committee has voted “without dissent” to support the project – with some stipulations.

“We reached agreement with the developers/owners of the project on a Memorandum of Understanding that will be made part of the record and will spell out future meetings with Spruce Hill and near neighbors on final design elements, building operations (roof deck), and construction and post construction schedules (covering such items as hours, trash pickups, retail delivery, etc). In short, we are supporting moving the project forward with the understanding that the community will be a party to future discussions on items of importance to area residents,” the email reads.

. . .

“The zoning committee is aware that development of this site has been engaging, with passions on all sides. This parcel of land has remained vacant for a number of years. We firmly believe that the current plans will be a positive asset to the neighborhood, and that providing for continued discussion and contact will serve the community well.”

Continue Reading




Plans to build a four-story apartment building to replace the burned-out, single-floor building on the corner of 46th and Spruce drew concerns about parking and the flurry of new nearby apartment building construction last night during a meeting of the Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) zoning committee.

The proposed brick and metal panel building at 4534-36 Spruce St. would include 21 mostly two-bedroom apartments, ground-floor retail and a rooftop deck. The developers need a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to get to the building’s proposed height – 44 feet.

A 2011 fire gutted the current structure, a transitional housing facility. The building has been vacant since the fire.

Parking was the biggest concern at last night’s meeting. The proposal does not include on-site parking, and nearby residents are concerned that this building along with the new 40-unit apartment building at 46th and Walnut, and the 15-unit building built between two Victorian twins on the 200 block of S. 45th Street will make finding a spot exceedingly difficult.

“I’ve watched my parking decrease, decrease, decrease,” said one resident.


> http://www.westphillylocal.com/2016/03/08/proposed-21-unit-building-at-46th-and-spruce-draws-concerns-about-parking/

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Gentrification at the old Philly High School, 4700 Walnut St.


website describes the project at 4700 Walnut as a “gut rehabilitation,” and states construction will commence in 2017.



Redevelopment of Former West Philadelphia High School to Multifamily Property


$24 + $5.1 = $29.1 Million / 298 = $97,650 per unit




Historic West Philadelphia High School to Become Apartments ...

A historic high school in West Philadelphia will be converted into an apartment building, according to multiple reports. It was announced on Friday that a Brooklyn-based developer, Heights Advisors, had acquired $24 million to redevelop the four-story West Philadelphia High School into 268 apartment units.

Located on 4700 Walnut Street, the late Gothic revival high school was built in 1912 and shuttered in 2011. Students moved to another, newer building a few blocks away, while the former school, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sat abandoned for years.

The construction loan was a long time coming, since this will be the developers' first project in Philadelphia.

According to the Height Advisors website, the rehabilitation project on the 442,200-square-foot building won't begin until 2017.


> http://philly.curbed.com/2016/2/8/10940706/historic-west-philadelphia-high-school-to-become-apartments



Brooklyn-based Heights Advisors describes the project at 4700 Walnut St. on its website as a gut rehabilitation. An entity with the same address as Heights Advisors purchased the 1911 building for $5.1 million in February 2015, according to records filed with the city.

The West Philadelphia High building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was part of a portfolio of closed schools to sold off by the School District of Philadelphia


> http://articles.philly.com/2016-02-07/news/70400758_1_historic-places-west-philly-high-national-register#5LI2dG5xHr6MIvJ9.99




February 5, 2016 [Philadelphia, PA] – Colliers International Capital Markets (CICM), a leading provider of commercial real estate finance and capital markets expertise, arranged $24 million of debt for the acquisition and redevelopment of the former West Philadelphia High School located at 4700 Walnut Street. The 442,200-square-foot, four story building will be converted to a 298 unit multifamily property. Kristopher Wood and John Banas, both Senior Vice Presidents/Directors in CICM’s Philadelphia office, arranged the loan.


“The borrower wanted to purchase and reposition the former school located in West Philadelphia near University City,” says Wood. “Getting a construction loan was challenging because this was the first development the New York developer had done in Philadelphia, and many thought the location was not ready for 298 new apartments. CICM sourced a loan from a national Real Estate lender who took the time to understand what was happening in University City and what a great opportunity such a large building afforded the developer to build.” Wood added.

“Many apartment operators are capitalizing on quality assets that present opportunities for adaptive reuse of older assets into great apartment buildings,” adds Banas.

The three year adjustable loan is interest only at Libor plus 3.75% and was done as a Section 47 Historic Tax Credit deal.


> http://www.colliers.com/en-us/philadelphia/about/media/recenttransactions/former_west_philadelphia_high_school



Selling gentrification to neighbors of the old West Philadelphia High School building
l_west-philly-high_1200x675.jpgThe West Philadelphia High School building is located at 4700 Walnut Street. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

Commentary by Waleed Shahid

After nearly two years of back and forth, the Philadelphia School District and City Council are all but ready to sell the former site of West Philadelphia High School, closed in 2011. The buyer is Brooklyn-based developer Andrew Bank of Strong Place Partners.

Bank hopes to create a mixed-use loft apartment complex at the site on the corner of 47th and Walnut streets, serving an estimated 250 residents with an average price of $800-850 per one-bedroom apartment.

On May 30, City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell convened a forum at Lea Elementary School for community members living in the area bounded by 45th and 50th streets and Market and Spruce streets to address Bank with their concerns about the building and additional changes to the neighborhood's zoning policies.


The 'G' word

As Bank stated that young residents at the beginning of their careers, associated with nearby Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, would be the target demographic for the residence, the forum sparked a conversation about gentrification in the West Philadelphia neighborhood at the edge of University City's expanding borders.


"Gentrification in Philadelphia is really problematic," said one long-time resident of the neighborhood, who wished to remain anonymous. "It seems like a natural process. I don't really know what can be done about it."


Some community members welcomed the new apartments into the neighborhood, claiming that the influx of residents studying and working at the universities would help lower crime.

"With more foot traffic in the neighborhood, I think crime will go down," said Alfonso, a 26-year resident of the neighborhood. "Plus, the building's an eyesore as it is right now. No one's cleaned up the trash or the shrubbery since they closed the school and the area is poorly lit."

"I look at Baltimore Avenue now and I see so many different kinds of people," said Shawn McGeth. "Everyone's living in harmony. But I don't want to see people being pushed out of their homes because of affordability. I wish there was some kind of sliding rent scale for the new apartments."


> http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/essayworks/69367-selling-gentrification-to-neighbors-of-the-old-west-philadelphia-high-school-building

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COMMENTS received by email (on the school project, above)



  • Purchased by Heights Advisors Feb 2015 (before the recent pop in the Philly market)
  • 5.1M Initial Purchase ($11.53 per Sq Ft). This was probably as a down payment subject to many conditions for completion such as re-zoning, permits, etc. Esp since this is considered a historical building, so they will likely be constrained as to how heavy the rehab is.
  • 24M Debt for completion and rehab. Therefore projected project cost of $65.80 per sq ft (assuming that they do not add further square footage)
  • Financing costs on the debt LIBOR + 3.75% (did not say which LIBOR, so as of today, 1-Month would total 4.19%, and if 3-Month would total 4.38%, and 6-Month woud total 4.66%)
  • I like the site as it's a full CD-Class site with lots of potential. There are existing apartment buildings next to it and still some available vacant land nearby. The replacement West Philly High School is only 2 blocks away towards Market.
  • One of the few concerns is whether and how to incorporate parking.

- per Leslie Chow

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More vacant property than can be filled in Lower North Philadelphia

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 > that's 3 years ago : are attitudes changing now??
By Kellie Patrick Gates
( 6 Comments, at link)

The in-the-works comprehensive district plan will likely call for some formerly residential or commercial areas to be cleared and turned over to other uses, such as farming.

City planners have begun work on a blueprint for the future of Lower North Philadelphia – a collection of neighborhoods with so much vacant property, the district-level comprehensive plan won't try to fill it all.

Some blocks in North Philadelphia, North Central, Norris Square, Olde Kensington, South Kensington, West Kensington, Yorktown, Ludlow, Brewerytown, Green Hills, Cecil B Moore, Sharswood and Strawberry Mansion have so few people living in them that it may make more sense for the city to buy out the few remaining residents and use the land for something else, such as farming, said planner and district plan manager David Fecteau.

Some parks and recreation spaces are in such poor shape, the best choice may be closing them and focusing resources on those that remain open, or on new facilities that take the place of several shuttered old ones.

“The situation is there's a slowly growing population and a lot of unused land,” Fecteau said. The hardest part of the planners' work “is going to be convincing people what the reality is,” he said.

Condensing the area where people live and consolidating some services doesn't mean life will be gloomy in the future, though. The idea behind concentrating residential, recreation and commercial areas is to concentrate investment.

“Overall, it's going to be smaller than it ever was, but we want to see it improve,” Fecteau said. “Smaller, but better.”

Lower North Philadelphia has some huge assets: Temple University; 19 bus routes, four El stops and two regional rail stops; proximity to Center City, proximity to Fairmount Park and other parks and recreation centers and libraries.

But it has huge challenges: While showing slight growth in recent years around Temple, the population has plummeted since its peak in the 1950s. Current median household income is $16,459. When adjusted for inflation, that represents a 10 percent drop in income since 1980.

“We have a situation where 47 percent of the population is in poverty,” Fecteau said. “Overall, there's been an increase of jobs that require lower skills and pay less, and a decrease in jobs that require higher skills and pay more.”

Some commercial and industrial parts of the district remain healthy, while others are mostly empty, Fecteau said. American Street is an example of both. A lot of businesses that once thrived there are gone, but "We're trying to hold onto sections" that remain vibrant.

It's the decline in population that precipitated the abundance of vacant buildings and land. In Lower North Philadelphia, 13 percent of properties are vacant. There are about 4,000 vacant buildings, 80 percent of which were once residential or partly residential. There are 10,600 vacant lots, 40 percent of which are owned by the city or city-related agencies.

“What we have is a lot fewer people living in the same area,” Fecteau said.

Lower North Philadelphia also has 45 “ghost parks,” parcels of land, mostly the size of housing lots, that were once parks, or slated to be parks, but now are abandoned, and, like other vacant property, often home to dumping and other problems.
> http://planphilly.com/articles/2013/07/17/more-vacant-property-than-can-be-filled-in-lower-north-philadelphia

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Anti-Gentrification Graffiti Pops Up in West Philly


The taggers hit Clarkville at 43rd and Baltimore, a neighborhood that’s transformed in the last 15 years.

By Jared Brey / May 27, 2016

image: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FotorCreated.jpg


Photos courtesy of West Philly Local

A restaurant called Clarkville at 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philly was tagged early Thursday morning with an anonymous note: “Gentri Go Home.” (They misspelled “gentry,” but you get the idea.)

The restaurant’s owner, Brendan Hartranft, told West Philly Local that he wished the painters knew what the place was all about. On Friday, Hartranft’s wife and business partner, Leigh Maida, told Philly Mag that they try to make their restaurants accessible to everyone. “I’m not Stephen Starr,” Maida said. “I’m not The Man. I’m in debt.”

So, Maida said, it was a morale boost that Clarkville had a busy night last night after she personally spent time buffing paint off the walls. Neighbors apparently came out in droves with words of support.

“It’s sad to me that some people don’t get it, but it’s encouraging to know that a lot of people do,” Maida said.

Of course, it’s true that the neighborhood around 43rd and Baltimore is pretty well gentrified. Clarkville itself used to be Best House, a bastion of cheap forties and pizza for years. A Pew study released last week found that two nearby neighborhoods in West Philly had experienced gentrification in the last 15 years, and that’s using a pretty rigorous definition. It’s one of only a few areas that has gentrified in Philadelphia, according to Pew, while much more of the city is stuck in deep poverty.

Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/05/27/gentrification-graffiti-clarkeville/#wJcP8xfMSFpIoBmu.99
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Do Neighborhoods Spread?



Gentrification Spreads Outward

A recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts made headlines by showing that gentrification was much rarer than we might imagine. By Pew’s definition, only 15 of Philadelphia’s 372 census tracts gentrified between 2000 and 2014. The city’s racial trends tell the same story. Figure 1 shows the ethnoracial composition of the city’s households according to the Decennial Census.[1] From 2000 to 2010, the city changed from 47.9% White to 42.6%, from 40.3% Black to 41.0%, 3.6% Asian to 5.2%, and 6.4% Hispanic to 9.3%. The overall story of the city is not one of increasing Whiteness.


However, gentrification is the story of some neighborhoods. Figure 2 maps the race and ethnicity of University City in West Philadelphia. Blocks are colored as a weighted average of their household races, so that 100% White blocks would be blue, 100% Black blocks green, 100% Asian blocks red and 100% Hispanic blocks orange. A block that was 50% White and 50% Hispanic would be a blue-orange mix, appearing brown. First, notice the extreme segregation; blocks are often all-White or all-Black. The boundary that emerges between the two regions is sharp and well-defined; within the distance of one or two blocks, the households change from all-Black to all-White.

Second, notice that the way gentrification occurred is that the boundary moved. Demographics changed only on blocks just along the boundary—we don’t see population change in the middle of the large all-White or all-Black cluster—and on those blocks it changed sharply. Zoomed out, it’s clear that the White cluster to the right has expanded westward, taking over blocks from the Black cluster.


Graduate Hospital, in south Center City, shows the same pattern. In 2000, there was a well-defined boundary between a White and Black cluster that lay just below South Street. As the neighborhood gentrified, it did so by that line moving south to Washington Avenue, with sharp changes in the blocks that the boundary passed over.


The Fairmount neighborhood, another noted center of gentrification, also had a boundary that moved. In 2000, the Black cluster extended south of Girard Avenue, by 2010 the boundary had moved north to reach that business strip. A walk through the neighborhood will exhibit that the boundary has now passed even farther to the north.


> http://www.econsultsolutions.com/do-neighborhoods-spread/

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30th Street Station: Growing Philly's Future

Expanding Center City across the River to University, will brighten Philly's future

(I just bought my third house - it will be in West Philly, a short trolley ride from the 30th Street Station)


Planning For the Future of 30th Street Station
June 20, 2016

To paraphrase Hannibal Smith, we love it when a plan comes together.

In this case, we're referring to the 30th Street Station District Plan, released last week. This plan, as you might imagine, details a vision for 30th Street Station and its surrounding neighborhood over the coming decades. If everything set out in the plan actually comes to pass, this area is poised to experience an incredible transformation, the likes of which Philadelphia has never seen before.
Conceptual drawing from the plan

Starting with the station itself, it's expected that ridership will more than double in the next twenty-five yearsr. With that in mind, the plan calls for a number of improvements, including the reopening of the North Concourse for increased Amtrak service, the activation of the East Septa Mezzanine to increase Regional Rail service, improvement of the retail offerings in the station, and reopening the underground passageway that connects the station to the Market Frankford Line. A new bus terminal on Arch Street will thankfully make better sense of the chaotic bus to rail connections at 30th Street Station. Around the station, look for an expanded and improved Porch and a "West Bank" river trail that will hopefully get a new name by the time it actually happens.

> http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/planning-for-the-future-of-30th-street-station

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People need to see the bigger picture ... and through TRANSPORT (the trolley)


The new developments (and new jobs!) at 30th St station, will be connected to neighborhood developments in West Philly like this one:




What was once at 51st and Baltimore


The 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Area Plan
... includes the area in Philadelphia bounded by Catharine Street on the north, the Septa Regional Rail right of way and Willows Avenue on the south, 50th Street on the east, and 53rd Street on the west. This area lies along the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor.

Nearby points of interest include: Cedar and Malcolm X Parks, Cobbs Creek Shopping Center, and the 52nd Street Commercial Corridor. This plan has been created to guide redevelopment and rehabilitation of a deteriorated section of Baltimore

Avenue between 50th and 53rd Streets and the primarily residential blocks that surround it. The major impetus for this plan is the adoption of the University Southwest District Plan by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission on June 11th 2013. In this district plan are several goals and objectives for the study area. The majority of implementable improvements focus on continuing the revitalization of Baltimore Avenue west past 50th Street, eliminating excess road space to provide a better pedestrian experience, and changes in zoning to reflect the current community’s needs and vision for its future.



A planning staff survey of the neighborhood surrounding 51st and Baltimore Avenue reveals a legacy* industrial and residential neighborhood. While much of the area’s architecturally significant structures have deteriorated or been demolished, there still exist a number of architecturally significant homes, specifically near Cedar Park on the eastern boundary
. . .
The overall goal of the 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Plan is to provide a framework for current and future redevelopment proposals. Clear planning policies for land use, zoning, and capital program investment will permit the full commercial and institutional development potential of the study area to be realized.


The plan has three specific objectives:
- to eliminate the blighting influences of vacancy and undesirable land use along Baltimore Avenue and the surrounding residential blocks by encouraging reinvestment and redevelopment.
- to support the rezoning of legacy industrial and commercial parcels along Baltimore Avenue, and the surrounding blocks to uses better suited to the changing needs of the community.
- to improve the pedestrian experience along Baltimore Avenue by beautifying and enhancing the public realm.

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VIX Emporium (5009 Baltimore, West Philly), Ink the Print




Our products have been in this little gem for a year now. VIX Emporium is in a really pretty part of West Philly right on Baltimore Ave. It's located in Cedar Park, which is part of University City section of West Philadelphia. The name "VIX" is actually the roman numeral for their address, 5009. Clever. The owner, Emily, is super sweet and her shop is perfectly curated with local artists and other indie makers.


> http://www.press2focus.com/blog/2016/06/ink-the-print-in-vix-emporium-west-philly.html


Another apartment building is University Plaza, formerly the Ivan, at 47th and Baltimore.




> MORE: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=131936

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  • 4 weeks later...

Re: Philly 2035 Plan is helping to transform Philadelphia - It's huge!


Some Readers may not yet be aware of the Philadelphia 2035 Plan.

They may want to browse though the Plan a bit, and it may help them get exited about the investment prospects in the Philadelphia


Here's a very brief quote:

"To put things into perspective in just how massive the 30th Street Station District’s draft plan is: Burnham Place would be 14 acres; Millennium Park is 24 acres; Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in New York City’s history, is 26. The draft plan for 30th Street Station would cover somewhere between 50 and 70 of the 88 acres of rail infrastructure north of the station."




/ 2 /

"Millennium Park cost $495 million. Burnham Place is estimated at $1.5 billion, and Hudson Yards a staggering $20 billion, with nearly $1 billion coming from NYC taxpayers. Schuylkill Yards, which does not involve any capping, projects $3.5 billion in construction costs. Like Burnham Place and Hudson Yards, 30th Street Station’s cap would be paid for mainly by private investors, who would cover its costs in exchange for rights to build huge skyscrapers on top.

In order to make financial sense, the expected rents from commercial and residential tenants in the buildings above the yards would need to be extremely high. That wouldn’t just require higher property values in the surrounding area — it would require significantly higher rents across all of the greater Center City and University City area, otherwise firms would locate slightly further away for significantly cheaper.

In a previous interview with PlanPhilly, Drexel President John Fry described developing Schuylkill Yards as a first step in proving to investors that covering the rail yard makes financial sense."


> More: http://planphilly.com/articles/2016/03/15/30th-street-station-district-draft-plan-reopen-septa-tunnel-by-2020-cap-rail-yards-by-2050

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Study: Philly’s gentrifying neighborhoods are resegregating


By Melissa Romero Aug 4, 2016

After spending six years studying the gentrification of Philadelphia neighborhoods, a West Philadelphian has discovered a rare trend: Neighborhoods are not necessarily gentrifying in the way people think they are—they’re resegregating.




> source: http://philly.curbed.com/2016/5/17/11689768/philadelphia-home-values-record-high

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Gentrification' may be re-segregating American communities
  • Aug. 7, 2016


Recent research by the Pew Charitable Trusts confirms that the type of gentrification or neighborhood change described in Tannen’s work is actually rare. That study found that just 15 of Philadelphia’s 372 census tracts had gentrified over the same ten-year period. A Federal Reserve study, also focused on Philadelphia, indicated that displacement caused by gentrification is even rarer, and that non-gentrifying neighborhoods often lost existing residents even more rapidly than gentrifying areas.

Tannen says he thinks his findings are evidence that people are self-segregating, and it’s unclear what policy solutions could address that problem. Cities could start by being more mindful about the kinds of economic development projects they pursue along obvious racial borders, he says, due to their sensitivity to extreme racial change.

Ultimately, how cities can best tackle issues as thorny as segregation or displacement will not be solved by a single study. But Tannen’s research does at least answer, in part, why gentrification can feel like a big deal to residents even while it is also relatively uncommon.

“My work speaks to why that disconnect exists. Why can it feel to residents of cities that gentrification is real and it is extreme, even as the Pew study is correct in showing that the city as a whole is less white? How can those both be true?” he asks. “The boundary movements are an important part of that story—that gentrification is extreme to very small parts of the city. And where it happens, it happens very sharply.”


> http://www.businessinsider.com/gentrification-is-shifting-racial-boundaries-2016-8

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A new appreciation for one of Philly's older neighborhoods


Updated: November 13, 2016


A long time ago, a feature called "Living In" ran each week in the Real Estate section.

The March 1, 1992, installment was about Germantown, which it described as "an original," where "residents take pride in their historic dwellings, their diversity, and their sense of community."

How has Germantown changed in the almost quarter-century since then?

While the neighborhood's real estate market is better these days, "I would say that the nature of Germantown has not changed that much," says Ruth Feldman, of McCarthy Associates/Weichert Realtors.

"The beautiful old houses in the Tulpehocken historic neighborhood are still very much desired by a certain group of buyers who appreciate those homes and their relative affordability as compared to Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill," Feldman says.

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I'm liking those Transport Links!


Property near MFL and Broad St.Line stations - could get a Big Boost


Philly Council members propose plan to boost development near transit stops


Updated: February 23, 2017

City Council members have proposed legislation aimed at encouraging development along Philadelphia's public-transportation corridors by giving developers breaks on height limits and parking requirements when they build near transit stops.



The TOD Overlay in the code proved unpopular in the extreme.

In fact, it’s never once been used, although there are seven currently called for in completed district plans. That’s why councilmembers Blondell Reynolds Brown and William Greenlee introduced a bill this week to reform the TOD Overlay, aiming to simplify the code and offer stronger incentives. The bill is not meant to earmark any specific stations for the TOD overlay, but will provide an easy-to-use framework that district council people can utilize.

> more: http://planphilly.com/articles/2017/02/24/council-proposes-zoning-changes-to-drive-transit-oriented-development


The measure, introduced by Blondell Reynolds Brown and William Greenlee during Thursday's City Council session, aims to boost population numbers along transit lines in an effort to fight vehicle congestion and aid the environment by increasing ridership, the members said.

"Development around transit hubs makes sense," Reynolds Brown said after the bill's introduction. "It's a win-win."


The legislation would simplify and streamline an existing ordinance aimed at encouraging so-called transit-oriented development that Reynolds Brown characterized as "not user-friendly," pointing out that it has not been taken advantage of for five years.

The new proposal allows for the establishment of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay Districts within 500 feet of selected transit stations, within which developers would be permitted to build higher structures with less parking than is otherwise permitted by area zoning.


Philadelphia already offers such extra height allowances, known as "density bonuses," to developers who include features such as mixed-income housing, public space, and environmentally friendly designs in their plans.

The new measure also would prohibit paid parking lots inside TOD Overlay Districts, and in some cases would require new buildings there to have active ground-floor uses, such as retail, among other provisions.

. . .

The most natural locations for such zones would be around stations along the Broad Street Line and underground portions of the Market-Frankford Line, which offer the most ground-level space to develop, said Erick Guerra, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, who focuses on transportation and land-use issues.

But he said the prescribed size of the districts would limit the scale of anything built there.

"Five hundred feet isn't very far, so it's a pretty targeted program," Guerra said.


> http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/commercial/Philly-Council-members-propose-plan-to-boost-development-near-transit-stops.html


Old article: February 7, 2014


Transit-oriented development opportunity at 59th and Market

Less than 200 feet from the 60th Street station on the Market-Frankford line is a vacant parcel filled with cars and a fenced-off former service station, but soon enough it could…



Less than 200 feet from the 60th Street station on the Market-Frankford line is a vacant parcel filled with cars and a fenced-off former service station, but soon enough it could be a multi-story mixed-use development.

As PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates reported last January, the Planning Commission released a study of West Market Street that encourages concentrating mixed-use development near the five El stops that were redone between 1999-2009. During that decade of construction, this stretch of Market Street was hit hard by disruptions to pedestrian and car traffic, businesses suffered, and vacancy climbed. Now it’s time to fill in the gaps and help bolster what remains.

Among the first action items to emerge from that plan is the "New West Transit-Oriented Development" (New West TOD) at 59th and Market streets. This week the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) released a Request for Proposals for the 1.5-acre property at 59th and Market owned by the City and SEPTA.

The RFP describes the vision for the site as a “mid-rise, mixed use development concept with commercial space affording both office and retail uses. Multiple stories of workforce housing should be considered, as well as the provision of shared open spaces for building residents and workers.”

Developers may consider a public plaza along Market Street and are encouraged to include sustainable design features. Curiously on-site parking may also be considered by developers, but the RFP warns that parking "should be limited given the transit-oriented advantages of the parcel." On-site parking is objectionable to transit-oriented development purists, given that it undermines this key advantage.


> http://planphilly.com/eyesonthestreet/2014/02/07/transit-oriented-development-opportunity-at-59th-and-market

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This development May speed the gentrification of West Philly, along trolley lines, especially Baltimore Avenue


BTW, Trump went to Wharton, and must know the University West area well.

He has also spoken about his desire to improve jobs and urban life - I reckon that Philly, and especially West Philly, may be a big beneficiary of his creativity and desire to rebuild and improve the working and living environment.


Plans for new West Philadelphia transit 'garden' offer lessons in the Age of Trump

February 9, 2017


Three weeks into the new administration, there is still a cone of silence around President Trump’s infrastructure plan. Will he reward the rural states that supported his candidacy by funneling money to heartland highways? Or will he modernize big-city transit systems, bridges, and airports in the densest part of the country, home base of the reviled coastal elites?



Build near transit stops?.


The area around the 40th Street Trolley Portal is being improved with a landscaped seating area and a two-story Trolley Car Diner café designed by Group G for developer Ken Weinstein

A recently leaked list of 50 priority projects suggests, somewhat hopefully, that the answer is a little of both..


Whatever projects his administration chooses, Trump still faces the tricky matter of paying for the promised trillion-dollar plan. He has repeatedly said half the money will come from private investors. But transportation experts are doubtful investors will want to get involved, because only select infrastructure projects, like operating toll roads or bridges, generate revenue. Most projects described as infrastructure improvements are really deferred maintenance, with little potential to turn a profit.

. . .

Funding for the $4 million overhaul, fancifully renamed Trolley Portal Gardens, was cobbled together from a mix of state, private, and foundation sources. No federal money is being used. And it costs SEPTA nothing. The University City District, which created the Porch at 30th Street Station in 2011, came up with the idea and is handling all the planning.

Improving a single station isn’t as transformative as adding a new rail or bus line, but the changes should still be dramatic for the Spruce Hill and Woodland Terrace neighborhoods, which remain residential bastions in an area thick with student housing.


Those neighborhoods of elegant Victorian homes grew up around the trolleys, and are even known as streetcar suburbs. But the trolley portal at 40th and Baltimore is oddly divorced from the tree-lined streets that surround it. Little more than a paved expanse with bare-bones waiting areas, it is called the portal because that is where the street-level trolleys go underground, sliding in and out of the tunnel that runs between West Philadelphia and Center City.


> More: http://www.philly.com/philly/home/west-philadelphia-transit-portal-40th-Street-saffron-park.html


The district has also contracted with a developer, Ken Weinstein, for the cafe building. He is paying for the structure and has hired Group G to design it. Appropriately enough, Weinstein plans to open there a branch of his Mount Airy Trolley Car Diner.

The University City District developed the Porch in phases. As it became a popular spot for commuters and people just passing through, the managers stepped up the amenities, adding food trucks and midday concerts, as well as swings and more planters. The Trolley Portal Gardens will be a full-fledged park and will be constructed all at once.

. . .

By making these stations more attractive and welcoming, the hope is that more people will use transit. That, in turn, could boost SEPTA's case for more money and new service, if the Trump administration’s promise of new infrastructure funding ever becomes a reality.


> http://www.philly.com/philly/home/west-philadelphia-transit-portal-40th-Street-saffron-park.html

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The Changing Streets of Cedar Park

In a country deeply segregated by race, this uniquely integrated part of West Philadelphia stands out. But that might soon change.

By Jake Blumgart |

March 11, 2017



CEDAR PARK Map = Area that lies between 45th and 50th streets, and Pine Street and Kingsessing Avenue



Photo courtesy of JJ Tiziou | www.jjtiziou.net


Monica Allison moved to West Philadelphia’s Cedar Park in 1997, buying a gorgeous red brick Victorian town house for $67,000. She’d been renting closer to the University of Pennsylvania, but her neighbors repeatedly called the police on her teenage son when he was home alone, just hanging out around the house. Allison, who is African-American, had to rush home from her job as an insurance underwriter time and again to find him handcuffed on the couch.

Even today, as the country’s increasing diversity makes racial isolation less common, Cedar Park is a rarity because of its longstanding mixture of black and white households. When Allison moved there, it had been roughly evenly comprised of black and white households since at least 1970, although the white population continued to slowly decline. That remained true even as the neighborhoods to the west, north and south of Cedar Park became more than 95 percent black. But by the end of the 1990s, Cedar Park’s white population plummeted to 27.9 percent as crime spiked and several high-profile murders racked the neighborhood.

(For simplicity’s sake, we’re calling the area that lies between 45th and 50th streets, and Pine Street and Kingsessing Avenue, Cedar Park, although the exact boundaries are variable.)

Today, the neighborhood is rapidly changing once again. Cedar Park is one of the hottest areas in the city, and housing values are spiking dramatically. As of 2010, the neighborhood is majority-white for the first time since 1970, a stunning reversal from the 2000 census that showed the percentage of white residents at an all-time low. In 2014, Allison sold her house for $150,000. After an investor purchased and rehabbed the property, it sold for $445,000 last year.

This kind of a racial U-turn is extremely unusual in the United States....

. . .

image: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/university-city-dining-days.jpg

TODAY, CEDAR PARK IS 52 PERCENT WHITE, 38 percent black, 4 percent those who identify as two or more races, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent Latino. The neighborhood’s commercial corridor, Baltimore Avenue, looks entirely different than it did 15 years ago. Most vacancies are filled, but many of the businesses that primarily catered to black residents are gone. Between 2000 and 2010, the neighborhood also lost more than 1,000 residents.

“I don’t feel like the diversity has caused people to move out,” says Allison, who is 53 and now runs a day care near the city border in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philly. “The diversity is a reason to stay, but unfortunately finances come with that diversity, so you kind of have to make a choice.” She says that rising property taxes, in addition to her mortgage and the big house’s need for repairs, were part of her decision to move away.

. . .

A recent study of Chicago neighborhoods found that those most likely to gentrify had at least a robust minority of white households, a floor of 35 percent.

Cedar Park only dropped below that floor briefly. At the same time, a dramatic nationwide decline in crime, which began in the mid-1990s, made itself felt. In Cedar Park and its eastern neighbors, the university’s extensive security operation—which stops at 50th Street—bolstered an already robust police presence to drive crime down even further.

. . .

In many ways, the neighborhood was primed for a spike in white population. This corner of West Philadelphia is stocked with beautiful gingerbread-like Victorian houses, an abundance of leafy trees, and trolley lines that whisk commuters to Center City in 25 minutes.


> Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/03/11/cedar-park-gentrification-west-philadelphia/#H6lLJjUqwIkLpRPw.99


> see new thread on Cedar Park :

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More Community-Building in Brewerytown, Starting at $425K

Sandy Smith |

March 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm | 1 Comment



Brewers Mill Townhomes | Renderings: Cadre Design via Agent PHL

Last week, we showcased the one-home-at-a-time approach to transforming a rundown block with our Hard Hat Tour of 1423 N. Myrtlewood St. in Brewerytown.

This week, we have an example of the package-deal approach: the Brewers Mill Townhomes project on the 1400 block of North 28th Street, a block and a half to the east.

This development from Argo Property Group is also an infill project, consisting at the outset of nine brand-new townhomes designed by Cadre Design of Manayunk. The homes are scattered throughout a block of a street that, like Myrtlewood, currently consists of some occupied homes, some vacant ones and some empty lots. Read more »

Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/category/new-projects/#zLkUBUH8Yd0mk3JX.99
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Big Shot in Arm Proposed for North Philly

Sandy Smith |

March 20, 2017 | 2 Comments



A view of the proposed North Station District development’s first phase. | Rendering: Spagnolo Group Architecture


A group of New York real estate investors has been working quietly behind the scenes to assemble land for a project that would be truly transformative for North Philadelphia.

As of last Saturday, their project has come out of the shadows.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported March 18th that an investment syndicate led by HFZ Capital Group plans to build two new mixed-use buildings and renovate a third on land it has acquired around North Philadelphia Amtrak station. Read more »

Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/category/new-projects/#zLkUBUH8Yd0mk3JX.99




May 4, 2016 | Vantage

Development and displacement go hand-in-hand, but every situation is unique and gentrification isn't always an entirely accurate assessment. Contributor David Hilbert takes a look at the North Philadelphia neighborhood surrounding Temple University where new construction for student housing is putting pressure on long time residents

> more

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(This plan could be an even bigger shot-in-arm for property near Amtrac stations, esp. in North Philly):


Renewed hopes for 220 mph bullet train from Philly to Baltimore ...

Dec 16, 2016 -

Renewed hopes for 220 mph bullet train from Philly to Baltimore ...

The proposed Northeast Corridor line for the Northeast Maglev train.


A wide-ranging federal proposal to expand the role of railway transportation in the northeast United States could potentially bring a new Amtrak stop to Philadelphia International Airport, crank up the speed of trains and increase the volume of intercity rides along the Northeast Corridor.


Documents released Friday by the Federal Railway Adminstration (FRA) outline a comprehensive plan to improve the efficiency and reliability of the rail system through an investment plan focused on building capacity in the region's economic nerve centers along the corridor, from Washington, D.C. to to Boston.

FRA_Proposal_Map.width-800.pngSource/Federal Rail Administration.

Map of potential projects under FRA's Preferred Alternative Plan.


Formed over a four-year period, the long-term proposal incorporates the feedback of more than 3,200 individuals, agencies and organizations. The full scope of the $120 billion plan, if implemented, would unfold over a 30-year-period, providing more service options and convenience for commuters within and between cities.


For Philadelphians, it could mean speedier and more accessible trips to places like New York City and Baltimore, reviving the eventual prospect of last year's much-hyped bullet train proposal that would whisk locals to the nation's capital and New York in 30 and 25 minutes, respectively, using the Northeast Maglev Train.




Currently, Amtrak's high-speed Acela trains make the Philly-to-D.C. trip in an hour and 40 minutes and Philly-to-NYC in an hour and 10 minutes. The map above, released last year by Maglev as Maryland received $27.8 million for bullet train research, already envisioned a designated stop at Philadelphia International Airport


> more: http://www.phillyvoice.com/renewed-hopes-220-mph-bullet-train-philly-baltimore/

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