Friday, September 13, 2013

South Philly is the place to be ... for real.

Avenue of the Arts - South Broad St | Philadelphia

Bold title ... I know.

**Please Note: For the South Philadelphians who already love where they live, I mean absolutely no disrespect. Think of my title as more of an educational tool for those who are not familiar with your awesome neighborhoods.**

I am a firm believer in the current South Philly Phenomenon, which is something I just coined (feel free to share it, as needed). From Bella Vista to Queen Village, Passyunk to Pennsport, and Grays Ferry to Point Breeze; you're all on the hot seat!

South Philly is a big part of Philadelphia, especially when compared to Center City (on the map, just above it). Take a look at the map below to see how large South Philadelphia really is:

Kind of a terrible map, but it had SP already highlighted; couldn't resist.

Not only is SP a big chunk of the city, but it's probably one of the city's densest sections as well. The standard SP home is a row, but you can also find twins. 2 stories is the norm, but there are plenty of 3 story homes as well.

Now, back to my title. Why do I think South Philly is the place to be? Here are a few reasons why:

1. Location, Location, Location: The #1 rule in real estate holds especially true in South Philadelphia, and SP may just have the most convenient location in all of Philadelphia proper. SP is currently in the middle of Philadelphia's top 3 employment zones: Center City, University City, and The Navy Yard. It's also super-close to Philadelphia's top 2 entertainment zones: Center City and University City (sorry NW Philadelphia, you know I love you). South Philly is close to all major highways (I-76, I-95, and I-676), and it's also close to Public Transportation (the Broad Street Line cuts right through SP's 4 zip codes, and there are buses abound). Whether you are in 19145, 19146, 19147, or 19148, you are close to all that Philadelphia has to offer.

2. South Philly was built for the long-haul: In 1682, Philadelphia became the first US city to have a master, gridiron plan where highways/streets were planned first before real estate lots were sold. William Penn wanted to have wide streets (appropriate for the time, of course), public spaces (what's up Rittenhouse Square, City Hall, et al), and he wanted the city to be in between the Schuylkill and the Delaware (for healthy living, and for transportation/commerce); smart dude. Even though SP was not incorporated into the City of Philadelphia until 1854, it was still built like a dense, urban neighborhood; the same is true today. But instead of SP's dense neighborhoods and narrow streets being a negative thing, they now promote walkability, bikeability, use of public transit, and tight-knit blocks. In essence, what was once a horse/car centric section of Philadelphia has since turned into an urban paradise.

3. The homes were built solid, they're easy to maintain, and affordable to most: 3 great reasons to buy a home in South Philly. In some neighborhoods, you can get a fully rehabbed 2-3 bedroom home for $100K. Not bad for being able to walk/bike to almost all of you daily errands. Oh, and you can probably walk to public transit, walk to work, and then walk to a restaurant/bar; nice. SP homes typically range in size from 1,000 - 1,500 sq ft. Now there are some that are even less than 1,000 sq ft, and there are some over 2,000 sq ft. All in all, they promote easy living (and smart/sustainable living too). The row homes attached to your left and right share heating/cooling elements when the weather is tough, the roofs are very easy to fix, and the yards are easy to maintain. Easy living all the way around, and affordable too.

4. Some of the best skyline views: Although South Philly was built on a denser scale than most of the city, it was also built on a lower scale as well. There aren't too many tall buildings in SP, which make way for incredible skyline views (day or night) from almost any one of its many neighborhoods. Since the yards are typically small, a great way to spruce up your home's curb appeal (and overall urban functionality) is to add a roof deck. They're great for outdoor space, entertaining, stargazing, relaxing, or even gardening. Container gardening is becoming the norm in Philadelphia's hip, dense neighborhoods.

5. Any sport you want to see is just down the road: There's a reason why South Philadelphia is home to some of Philly's best sports fans, and it's because all of Philadelphia's sports teams are just minutes away from their back yards. South Philly is a sports mecca, and it's passed down from generation to generation where it becomes a way of life. Plus, you have all of the Italian delis supporting it as well; one big happy sports family! What better way to spend a spring/summer night (or a Sunday afternoon in the fall) then to have your flat screen TV, a fridge full of beer, and a hoagie (with a bag of chips, of course) from a South Philly deli (I recommend Sarcone's, Chickie's, or Paesano's; but hey, that's me). And don't forget about the newly built Xfinity Live!, where you can dine out and enjoy a game.

Oh, and one last thing that's making South Philly the place to be. Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts is on fire right now, and it's slowly turning South Broad St into Philadelphia's most famous boulevard.

Not only is Dranoff on his 3rd residential anchor project, but there are other large-scale developments popping up left and right.

And there you have it. That's why I personally think South Philly is the place to be.

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