The Pearl Arts and Crafts building at 417 South Street will be transformed into 85 art studios and a rooftop restaurant with a sculpture garden called The South Street Arts Center. The owner wants to open the building by 2014, and the designs and plans are not final. Rent for studios will start at $250/month and go up as high as $1,500/month. Included in rent will be gallery/wall space in the planned first floor art gallery and retail space.
The Italian food emporium founded in New York City by Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Joe Bastianich has been targeting Philadelphia. Joe Bastianich offered a confirmation in an interview with Chicago Reader, saying that an Eataly Philly is probably a year away. Renowned city chef Marc Vetri has said that the first floor of the old Strawbridge & Clothier store at Eighth and Market was on the table.
In its place will rise a twelve-story building with 110 apartments and commercial space on the first floor. In addition, the basement will be used by the Freire Charter School, located next door. The new apartments will join the hundreds of additional units that have appeared in this area in recent years, with the recent construction of 2116 Chestnut a block to the west and the renovation of the former AAA building a block north.
The U.S. National Home Price Index rose 3.2% in the third quarter of 2013 and 11.2% over the last four quarters. In September 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites gained 0.7% month-over-month and 13.3% year-over-year. While 13 of 20 cities posted higher year-over-year growth rates, 19 cities had lower monthly returns in September than August.
(S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index)
According to the latest report from CoreLogic, foreclosure rates are further shrinking. Foreclosure inventory and completed foreclosures are down 33% and 39% respectively, nationally from a year earlier. As of September 2013, the foreclosure inventory comprised 2.3% of all homes with a mortgage versus 3.2% measured a year prior.
These numbers represent positive signs that the housing market continues to improve, although they stand to benefit sellers more than buyers. “As foreclosures decline, prices will begin to increase. A home will be more expensive because there will be less inventory, especially inexpensive inventory,” says John Graham, broker.
Buyers and sellers should look at more than just the foreclosure rate to get a feel for their local housing market. “Prospective buyers and sellers need a more comprehensive, detailed analysis to infer much about the specific region they work or live in,” says Cameron Findlay, chief economist for Discover Home Loans, “Given the recent home appreciation in most markets, this reduces the negative equity impact, which has allowed for more potential foreclosure candidates to work out their mortgages.”
One way to animate public space while the planning process designed to reanimate and redevelop the waterfront is the new Waterfront Winterfest, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s month-long winter celebration that will turn Penn’s Landing and the RiverRink into a holiday village on the river. It will include a 500-person warming tent fabricated from recycled shipping containers that will be surrounded by a garden oasis of pine trees and fire pits near the rink, and food from Philly chef George Sabatino. The festivities will run from this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, through New Year’s Eve. It will also include the Art Star Craft Bazaar and a light show.
All of this programming is a glimpse at how the DRWC is working to reanimate Penn’s Landing and the entire Philadelphia waterfront, and attempting to engage as many residents as possible. They hope to transform the Philadelphia waterfront into a lively public space connected to the city and its people that doubles as a sustainable storm water management facility. Its plans and projects will be a will be transformative for the waterfront in the years to come, turning a currently underwhelming aspect of the City into a tremendous asset.
(Old City District)
Developer US Construction will build between Eighth, Carpenter, and Montrose Streets on the land occupied by several vacant industrial buildings including the plant, and the canopied loading dock on Eighth Street. The project was designed by JKR Partners and approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in August.
The closest the South Philly 7-Up facility came to historic recognition was a 1995 nomination to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to erect a marker outside the plant. The nomination, was rejected because PHMC “doesn’t endorse products.”
The loss of the bottling plant this week is part of an ongoing transformation of the 800 block of Montrose Street. In 2011, US Construction began erecting houses on the long-empty lot across from the plant, and in 2012, they also tore down the former Fante-Leone Swimming Pool, notable for its classical façade at the corner of Darien and Montrose, to make way for more homes.
Freddie Mac recently released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November, showing that the major shift for the coming year will be a transition from a refinance-dominated mortgage market to the first purchase-dominated market the industry has seen since 2000.
Interest rates are expected to rise gradually throughout 2014 with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ending the year near 5% with affordability still strong in most markets. Projecting housing starts to rise to a 1.15 million pace in 2014, which should help to create around 700,000 new jobs and quicken the pace of economic growth. Gains in home sales will be limited by continuing tight inventory in many markets, but anticipate sales to rise about 5-6% in 2014 from 2013 levels.
Expect home values to continue rising but at a more moderate pace, around 5-6% annualized, and expect multifamily property investments to continue to be relatively attractive as we enter 2014, based on the Freddie Mac Multifamily Investment Index.
“With the close of 2013 will also come a major transition in the housing finance industry,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “For the first time since 2000, we’re going to see the mortgage market dominated by purchase activity as the refinance share drops below 50%, and with mortgage rates rising, we’re also going to see the home-sales gains as well as the impressive house price growth begin to moderate to more sustainable levels.”
The holiday season is a busy time, but if you can make time to house-hunt and you have already been pre-approved so you know how much home you can afford, then this could be a very good experience. Like many businesses, the holiday season can cause things to slow down. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t find eager sellers hoping you’ll make an offer on their homes. When real estate slows down, that means mortgages slow down, so this might be a good time to get a mortgage. There’s a chance your loan will move through the process faster, and even though this doesn’t mean you will have lax guidelines, it means that if there are fewer loans to process, yours could possibly move along faster.
Some say that you have fewer options because inventory drops during the holiday season. Sellers with their homes on the market during the end-of-the-year months are typically serious sellers, because there’s likely a sense of urgency on the seller’s side. Also, home prices might be lower in December than in other months - industry reporting services often show home appreciation slows in the fourth quarter, making homes more affordable.
Since it is a busy time of year, you may find that there aren’t many buyers shopping for homes, which is exactly why this may be a good time to house-hunt. Fewer buyers could mean a great opportunity for you to make an offer and negotiate a favorable price.
The 40-story design comes from Kohn Pedersen Fox and that hotel brand SLS will anchor the tower. Two vacant buildings owned by Gamble-affiliated parties would presumably need to be demolished to make way for the project. 301-309 South Broad Street, home of the offices and studio of Philadelphia International Records, has been closed since a fire destroyed most of its interior in February 2010, and 311 South Broad Street, which Gamble’s Assorted Music Partnership purchased in 1997, opened in 1910 as Superior Laboratories, and was later a popular nightclub. The building’s southern wall provided the backdrop to the PHS Pop Up Garden this past summer.
The two properties are separated by tiny Cypress Street, which goes through from Broad Street to Juniper and on to 13th, and would possibly need to be struck from the grid to accommodate such a large development. In order for that to happen, City Council would need to write a bill authorizing that change, which the Streets Department and Planning Commission would need to review and approve first.
Despite their age and location on South Broad Street, neither 301-309 nor 311 holds historic designation. Both indeed fall within the Broad Street Historic District, on the US National Register of Historic Places since 1984, but that’s an honorific distinction and contains no measures to prevent demolition.
An SLS would be Dranoff Properties’ first official foray into hotels, although they partnered with New Orleans’ HRI Properties to propose a new, 267-room Starwood Hotel at 18th & Vine when the Family Court relocates to the building under construction across from Love Park.
Kohn Pedersen Fox, one of the world’s preeminent architecture firms, is no stranger to Philadelphia. A rundown of KPF’s contributions to the local landscape include Mellon Bank Center, One and Two Logan Square (and the adjacent Four Seasons Hotel), 6 and 8 Penn Center, the US Airways International Terminal, Wharton’s Huntsman Hall, the erstwhile American Commerce Center, and several others.