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Philadelphia, the Most Walkable American city

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Philadelphia, the Most Walkable American city


Report: Philly is number one in walkability and new construction

Mixed-use developments are more walkable than the city itself


With some amazingly walkable new condos*, will Philly attract (more) retiring Boomers from NYC, Boston, and Washington? (they are all more expensive)

by Melissa Romero : Aug 16, 2016

shutterstock_435489640.0.jpg A new Redfin report ranks Philadelphia as the number one city for walkability and new construction. Courtesy of Shutterstock


Philly always gets credit for being a very walkable city, and it’s turning heads with the insane amount of new construction. So we aren’t entirely surprised by the news that it was recently ranked the number one city leading the way in walkable new construction.

Redfin’s latest report says 91 percent of new Philly homes built in 2016 have a walk score higher than the actual city score, which is 78.

Chicago came in second, with 89 percent of new homes having high walk scores.


The report states:

"Philly is on fire when it comes to walkable new construction," said Redfin agent Tom Lewis. [...]

A lot of these new homes are in extremely walkable areas that are getting more walkable by the day; places like Northern Liberties , Fishtown, Frankford, South Philly and Point Breeze are seeing a lot of new construction activity. Buyers who are getting priced out of New York and Washington D.C. are flocking to Philly and developers are rushing to meet the demand. A lot of the new construction buildings are also mixed-use, which in turn is increasing walkability throughout the city."

That’s all true, and another recent report found that a majority of the new construction is on the high-end, with these apartments averaging about $1,795 per month.



*Want to rent or buy a Condo in the walkable part of the City?

> Check this thread: http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index.php?showtopic=21547

That price point may sound steep to locals, but pretty affordable to New Yorkers and Washingtonians eyeing the city.

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Walking From Work to the Water will not be a problem - or take the tube (MFL)




Philly has a new "front lawn" coming, which will "open up" the city for walkers -- no labels



Pier 9


The tallest US building outside NYC & Chicago will be completed this year

Comcast Technology Center - see: Phila skyscraper thread




Comcast on the left of this map, and Pier 9 is on the right - the distance in between is walkable.

And will be easier next year when a park over the highway will be completed



Render of Pier 9


> MORE: http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index.php?showtopic=20036&page=6

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Callowhill is/ will be part of the "walkable heart" - that I depicted above


Construction permits have doubled and population is booming

by Melissa Romero Jun 22, 2017

915_Spring_Garden_2.0.jpg One of the many buildings in Callowhill on the cusp of redevelopment. Photo by Melissa Romero


In 2016, the number of construction permits pulled for the Callowhill neighborhood doubled year over year. The number of property sales nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015. All the while, Callowhill’s population boomed as more young working professionals moved into the neighborhood.


Callowhill at a Glance

  • $21: Average leasing price/square foot
  • 440: Properties sold in 2016
  • CMX3-4: High-density zoning classifications
  • 30%: Population growth between 2010-14

It doesn’t take more than a quick walk around the neighborhood to come to the conclusion that Callowhill is on the rise.

That’s the consensus of a new report by FixList and research analytics firm JLL, which deemed Callowhill, a once troubled neighborhood that served as inspiration for David Lynch’s film Eraserhead, as a fast-emerging market with plenty of room to grow, even with its already rapid transformation.

For all intents and purposes, Greater Callowhill is defined as the area between Vine, Spring Garden, North Broad, and North 2nd streets.

A couple of key details from their findings:

A majority of recently sold properties are zoned for high-density

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of properties that sold increased by nearly three-fold, from 150 to 440 properties, and many of them are zoned for high-density use. This is in response to the area’s new zoning overlay, which allows for more high-density construction in what has been typically an industrial-zoned neighborhood.

But there’s still plenty of developable land

Although property sales have tripled and issued construction permits have doubled year over year, the report found that there is still 400,000 square feet of undeveloped land in the Greater Callowhill area.

Why all the attention?

These findings are no surprise to developer Craig Grossman, whose company Arts and Crafts Holdings has been buying up Callowhill properties and restoring them since 2015. At last count, Grossman says his team has acquired a dozen properties up and down 10th Street, a collection referred to as the Spring Arts District.

“We really started here in 2015, and I think a lot of our reasoning for investing here was instinctual,” Grossman said in an interview with Curbed Philly. “I think we were looking at the topography of the city, and we could see there was all of this energy taking place in this concentric circle.”


Callowhill-2b_zps40babdcp.png : SEPTA Routes :


Affordable rents

There’s also the fact that as Center City’s leasing rates climb higher, tenants find Callowhill’s comparatively affordable rates much more reasonable. The average price per square foot here is $21. The highest office rents in Center City are about $31 per square foot, according to Center City District’s latest report.

“If you can offer an interesting product close to public transportation, close to entertainment, and walkable to the Central Business District at a price that almost feels like we’re on sale over here, it becomes a very compelling argument,” said Grossman. “I think that’s opening up a lot of eyes and leading to attracting folks up here.”

What’s next?

Callowhill’s growth is far from over, the FixList/JLL report concluded: “We anticipate continued, ongoing interest in both residential and office development in this fast-emerging neighborhood,” the researchers wrote.


At the time, Northern Liberties to the east was already booming, he continued. Chinatown was expanding North, North Broad’s renaissance was underway, and the redevelopment of the Rail Park, which cuts right through Callowhill, was imminent.




“It became very clear to us that this was an area that had been passed over for decades,” Grossman said. “We felt like if we could fill it in, or at least do our part in igniting change here, you could begin to knit together the other neighborhoods.”


The millennial boom

The boom of Callowhill is especially apparent in its changing demographics. The FixList/JLL report notes that the neighborhood’s total population skyrocketed between 2010 and 2014 by 30 percent—that’s 10 times faster than Philly’s population growth as a whole. Furthermore, millennials and young working professionals make up a good chunk of that growth.

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Callow East : Location, walkable, density - Connecting City Center with North Liberties


A number of big-time tenants are planning to set up shop in the Greater Callowhill area, including Target and Yards Brewery at 6th and Spring Garden. Meanwhile, an entire neighborhood within a neighborhood, marketed as Callow East, holds plenty of potential for development, too.


Grossman says it’s about time. He harkens back to his first walk around the neighborhood a few years ago: “It’s rich with history and for one reason or another, it’s been overlooked.”




Planning Commission officials spent the summer working out the details of a new zoning overlay for East Callowhill, in hopes of transforming the narrow area separating Old City and Northern Liberties from an industrial desert into a walkable neighborhood with new apartments and commercial projects.

The legislation, which was recommended by the Commission on Tuesday, rezones the area bounded by 2nd, 6th, Spring Garden and Callowhill streets—31 parcels in all—to CMX-3, a medium-density commercial category that matches the zoning of the Central Delaware. The area is currently zoned I-2 for industrial development.

Under the terms of the bill, projects on the north side of the overlay would have a base height limit of 65 feet, but could climb as high as 144 feet if developers claim any of a variety of bonuses for things like stormwater management, open space, through-block connections, and mixed-income housing. Projects on the south side of the overlay, facing Interstate 76, would be limited to 100 feet, but could rise to 340 feet with bonuses.

    • east-callowhill-overlay-planning-commiss
      East Callowhill Overlay | Planning Commission, Sept. 2015
    • east-callowhill-overlay-planning-commiss
      East Callowhill Overlay | Planning Commission, Sept. 2015

Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a preliminary version of the overlay in June. Squilla said at the time that the bill was intended to bring more density to the area.


> More : http://planphilly.com/articles/2015/09/16/officials-hope-zoning-overlay-will-connect-old-city-northern-liberties

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"seemingly impossible projects are now underway"
June 12, 2017 | by Nathaniel Popkin

Penn’s Landing, INHP in context. | Image: DRWC


Someday, it seems all but certain now, the Broad Street Subway will be extended to the Navy Yard (only a century ago shipbuilding workers demanded it); the rail yard at 30th Street Station will be developed (proposed in the 1950s); next train and bus information will be available to SEPTA riders (as it is for most transit riders around the world); the Phillies will win three games in a row (well…)


No, I meant it: persistence is catching up to vision in 2017 Philadelphia. Long-imagined and seemingly impossible projects are underway, from the construction of the Viaduct Rail Park to the restoration of the Metropolitan Opera House. And now, Penn’s Landing.


On Friday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and Janet Haas, the board chair of the William Penn Foundation, along with officials of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, announced that all but $10 million in funding had been committed for a $225 million plan to reconnect the central waterfront at Penn’s Landing to the street grid of Old City and Society Hill. While the plan falls short of the dream of removing I-95 from the center of Philadelphia, it effectively gives the city an eight-block-long central linear park that will extend from 6th Street to the Delaware River. And it explicitly sets aside the block between Chestnut and Market Streets along the waterfront for a high density neighborhood the new Penn’s Landing park will need to be successful. Advocates of the project estimate, conservatively, an additional $1.6 billion in tax revenue from the private real estate development that should follow the $225 million public investment.

Construction seems likely to begin in 2020.


The project will include an extension of the South Street pedestrian bridge over Columbus Boulevard; a two-mile long protected bicycle path; and reconstruction of the Delaware River tidal basin and marina at Spruce Street, now the home of the popular Spruce Street Harbor Park.



Penn’s Landing at night. | Image: DRWC


But the heart of the plan is a four-acre cap over I-95 and Columbus Boulevard between Walnut and Chestnut Streets that will include gardens, a cafe, a spray park/ice skating rink, and the Irish famine and Scottish immigration memorial sculptures and total replacement of the eight-acre, stone terrace Penn’s Landing with a wide waterfront lawn. Hargreaves Associates, a landscape architecture firm, which completed similar projects in Louisville, Chattanooga, and San Diego, has furnished the deceptively simple design.


The cap over I-95 and Columbus Boulevard is the key connector between the city and the riverfront. Much has been said over the years about the necessity of this single intervention that will, at least in this one critical spot, stitch the city back to its origin and its historic life-blood, the Delaware River. But I’m equally hopeful that the new park will invigorate and realign (in the urban imagination at least) the experience of Independence National Historical Park. Beyond the long-ago closed path through the arches of Independence Hall, the INHP has never quite fit into the daily rhythms of Philadelphians. Because of that, most of the small gardens and pastoral lawns are empty despite a substantial increase in tourists to the park’s major historical sites and the landscape in key areas is poorly maintained (the jewel of American heritage is obscured by tall weeds).


The new Penn’s Landing may correct even this Philadelphia white elephant, but particularly if planners and INHP officials collaborate. With improved crossings at 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd Streets, the everyday Philadelphians might discover the delight of a central park, much of which has been sitting there awaiting them for more than fifty years.


Penn’s Landing. | Images: DRWC

| News | Delaware River, landscape architecture, Penn's Landing

> http://hiddencityphila.org/2017/06/with-new-penns-landing-plan-a-central-park/

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Properties for sale in "walkable" Callowhill area - Opportunity to control a new neighborhood, but probably NOT cheap

Feb 21, 2017 - For sale: a major stake in what may be central Philadelphia's next big property hotspot ...
... of Ninth Street along Callowhill and Spring Garden Streets, includes a ...

Feb 21, 2017

- Eight properties totaling 7.75 acres are for sale in an area between Old ...

Street; 430 N. 4thStreet; 412-426 N. 2ndStreet; 600 Spring Garden Street ...

In 2015, the East Callowhill zoning was changed to CMX3, allowing for ...


Opportunity for a well-financed developer to remake this former Industrial area - into a new residential area


For the 2.6-acre parcel that accommodates the building at 444 N. Third St., Rubin commissioned architect Baker to design a residential project that takes near-maximum advantage of a late-2015 zoning change permitting big mixed-use projects in the previously industrial-only district.

The plan, calling for 24- and 27-story residential towers over ground-floor retail and three largely concealed levels of parking, passed through the city’s design-review process in October, meaning that a new owner could begin work on the project after obtaining building permits.



For sale: a major stake in what may be central Philadelphia’s next big real-estate hot spot.


Property investor Mark Rubin is selling a portfolio of aged industrial and office buildings covering 7.75 acres — an area bigger than Rittenhouse Square — north of eastern Center City, situated between the booming neighborhoods of Old City and Northern Liberties.


The eight-property assemblage, which sprawls east of Ninth Street along Callowhill and Spring Garden Streets, includes a large tract that already has zoning permissions for a pair of residential high-rises designed by architect Cecil Baker and a historic former bank building that was home to one of restaurateur Stephen Starr’s earlier ventures.

Whoever snaps up these properties will lead development in a section of the city that’s ripe for revitalization, said Michael Barmash, who is marketing them as a senior managing director at Colliers International in Philadelphia.

“You have a hole between Northern Liberties and Old City,” Barmash said in an interview. “This is an opportunity to control a neighborhood.”


MAP : Click on the markers on the map for more information. (SOURCE: Colliers Intl.)


Rubin’s properties, which Barmash said could fetch as much as $80 million, are hitting the market amid a gradual uptick in activity in and around what is now a district dominated by parking lots, industrial buildings, and strip-center retail.


At Fifth and Spring Garden Streets, Bryn Mawr-based investment company Alliance Partners HSP LLC is converting Destination Maternity Corp.’s former headquarters warehouse into a retail, light-industrial and office complex to be anchored by Yards Brewing Co.

Clustered around Ninth and 10th Streets, just to the west of Rubin’s properties, development group Arts & Crafts Holdings has been buying up aged commercial properties for conversion into workshops for craftspeople and loft-style offices.


Another prominent area property that has come up for sale is the 188,000-square-foot former industrial building near Seventh and Callowhill Streets that is home to the Electric Factory concert venue, the Philadelphia Business Journal has reported.

“It’s really a seller’s market in disposing of many of these assets,” said Michael Silverman, a managing director at Integra Realty Resources in Philadelphia, who estimated that property values have more than doubled in the area over the last 10 to 15 years. “The market is certainly frothy.”



I am sure that Mr Rubin is no fool.

He sees a HOT market, and a chance to sell the portfolio he has assembled at a good price.

I reckon he will exit now with a big profit - the buyer will spend many years, at least 3-5 years developing the properties,

and then be selling completed units into what may not be as "hot" a market as we see today.


Meantime, Rubin will be cashed up, with a chance to acquire new bargains cheaply, if the forecast market dip, or market crash does come.

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Here's a COMPLETED Property in Callowhill : "The Granary"


1901 Callowhill St : 310,676 Sq. Ft.

Built: 2013 / Lot Size: 0.93 Acres
Status: Not For Sale (presently) / Source: Public Records



Taxable Value (2017)

Land ........ $2,214,032 / 0.93 acres (43,560 x0.3= 40,511 sqft) = $54.65 per sqft - seems too low!
Additions $42,849,268 / 310,676 sqft = $138 per sqft
Total === $45,063,300

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COMPARE : a traditional "walkable area": Rittenhouse Sq, - a high-end neighborhood




5 Beds / 6 Baths
4,483 Sq. Ft. : $290 / Sq. Ft. (note: "some bowing in the front facade")
Built: 1917
Lot Size: 2,153 Sq. Ft.

Rarely offered six unit apartment building in the heart of Rittenhouse Square with one car parking.

This significant property has a bi-level 2bedroom, two studio's, and three 1 bedroom apartments. 10 foot ceilings with many of the original architectural details remaining. Electric is separately metered and shared gas. Coin operated laundry in the basement. Seller is aware of some bowing in the front facade; property is being sold-as is.

2006 Pine Street is also offer for sale by the same seller.

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