Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Lower Northeast is planning ahead

Not only did one of Philadelphia's most diverse sections grow in population from 1990-2010 (by a total of 10%), it's expected to keep growing.

So how do you plan ahead for growth in an already dense urban neighborhood? Focus on commercial corridors/areas and develop around them.

There are 3 general areas of focus: 1) Castor Ave, 2) Frankford Ave, and 3) Frankford Transportation Center. Read on to learn more about how local residents want to shape their future neighborhood.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Mann is getting an upgrade

In all of my years in/around Philadelphia, and with all of the concerts/outdoor events I have gone to, I have never been to The Mann.

To be honest, I'm surprised myself that I have yet to see a show there. People have given me mixed results; some good, some bad.

Aside from outside opinions, I now have a reason to go and see a show there:
  • Skyline Stage & Lawn
  • Lawn expansion
  • New video screens
  • Upgraded audio system
In other words, an already fine outdoor concert venue is about to get even finer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Anchor project coming to the Italian Market

The Italian Marketplace | Picture courtesy of NakedPhilly.com

Why is this significant?

For a city like Philadelphia, where most of its neighborhoods are built around local commercial corridors (or Main Streets), this is a big deal; and it's a super big deal for the revitalization of the Italian Market.

Back in March, I wrote a post titled "Why does the world's cheesesteak mecca not support local businesses?" Some of you may have read it and just shrugged it off, but I'm positive that others read it and somewhat agreed. Hey, maybe even the business owners along the IM read it.

Philadelphia's Italian Market has been classified as "America's Oldest Outdoor Market." That's a pretty bold statement considering almost every major city in the US has some kind of historic (or modern) outdoor marketplace where you can pick up food, goods, etc.

Now, it's really starting to look like this commercial corridor is seeing the bigger picture. "How do we improve the entire Italian Market, and not just our individual businesses?" Well, you can start by developing an suitable anchor project at the IM's most prominent intersection (9th & Washington).

This project is definitely a big step in the right direction (all aesthetics aside).

Friday, July 20, 2012

New skateboard park, next to the Philadelphia Art Museum, is close to being built

Paine's Park, a project that has been in the works for about 10 years now, is just about ready to move forward with actual development.

The effort is there, the money is there, now all we need is for construction workers to be there.

This will be another great addition to the ever-evolving Ben Franklin Parkway!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Net-zero comes to No Libs

Foundry Court | Northern Liberties, Philadelphia

I'm not talking about the inexpensive, broadband Internet giant. I'm talking about sustainable, residential development; or "green" development to those who do not follow this already trendy topic.

A lot of buyers, sellers, investors, and renters always ask me where the next up-and-coming area of Philadelphia is. One such place in Northern Liberties, just north of Center City.

Why No Libs?

Because this is a neighborhood that has changed drastically to reflect the current demographic trend of Center City Philadelphia, without being directly located in Center City Philadelphia. Some locals may argue that it has changed for the worse, but others will tell you that it's getting better and cooler everyday. Believe me, the real estate values back up that statement; higher demand, higher prices.

Since this neighborhood is already synonymous with upscale, sleek, new construction projects (residential, commercial, and mixed-use), it makes sense to focus on a hot trend like sustainable/green development and take it one step further into the world of net-zero.

What does net-zero mean?

According to the article on Flying Kite, net-zero means "Using a number of features, including solar power generation, a net-zero home feeds power back to the grid on sunny days and draws minimal energy at night or when its cloudy, resulting in a net energy cost of zero."

Interesting, right?

But if it's so easy, why don't all builders consider this option, Tim? #1 answer is cost. This development will be offering only 5 townhomes at a base price of $799,000. Now you see why not everyone can do this, especially on a larger scale.

I know that No Libs is a pricey area already, but $800K will get you a lot in Philadelphia; including Center City.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brandywine Realty is planning for new development in and around Philadelphia

From city flats to suburban garden apartments, Brandywine is thinking ahead.

Center City, University City, and Plymouth Meeting are just some of the areas Brandywine has targeted for its next projects. High-rise, low-rise, and mixed-use all seem to be in the mix.

Office rentals in the Philadelphia region are still considered weak, but the good news is that you can get space in/around Philadelphia for half the cost of New York and/or Boston.

So where is the demand for Brandywine's upcoming Philadelphia projects? According to their market research, Center City caters to students, service workers, and recent graduates who are sales, tech, and creative professionals, along with empty-nesters moving into the city from the suburbs. In other words, there is currently a healthy mix of diversity driving demand for downtown development.

More news to come on each individual project.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Another apartment high-rise for Philadelphia on the Delaware River Waterfront?

Proposed high-rise for Philly's Delaware River Waterfront

Maybe, maybe not.

First, the proposed building exceeds the height limit set by the newly adopted waterfront master plan. The current limit is 100 feet for this parcel, and this building is looking to go as high as 200 feet.

Second, there is the issue of who will be responsible for repairing/developing Pier 40. The developer wants to "donate" it to the city, but that would still come at a cost ($3M just to take it down). My guess is that this will not happen.

Third, the city wants the developer to not only take ownership of and repair Pier 40, but they want it to be a well thought out plan that would benefit the public. Again, not sure if the developer will go for this, even if they get the height exception approved.

There are a lot of "what ifs," but the good news is that developers are anxious to build along this stretch of riverfront land.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More rental high-rises are being built in Center City and University City

Rendering of Cira Center South

You have all heard me preach before that rental projects are here to stay ... for the foreseeable future, that is.

As such, here is more proof that new rentals are in high demand in Philadelphia. 1919 Market St is about to get started, and it looks like Cira Center South is finally going to get built as well.

Very positive news for our local economy and the strength of Philadelphia's downtown market!