East Falls Local

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Category: development

Let’s Hear It for the Falls

With Gina Snyder’s resignation, her position as East Falls Development Corporation’s executive director is up for grabs. Our own Jon Kennedy throws his hat in the ring — and shares a love letter to the neighborhood he’s hoping to serve. 

If you’re familiar with the neighborhood, you know Jon Kennedy — he’s one of the friendliest faces around East Falls. We first met him pulling drafts at Murphy’s (of course we did) but he lives here and hangs here and is a great guy to know in so many ways

His beer column’s a reader favorite, and we don’t know anyone who cares more about these 1.5 square miles we call home. When Jon showed us his application materials for the EFDC gig, we liked his essay so much we’re sharing it here with some of our favorite pics from 2017 so far. (Thanks, Jon!)

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Perspectives on Penn Street

How does modern construction mesh with local historic architecture? One corner of East Falls is finding out now… 

UPDATE 3-15-17: So far, most commenters on our Facebook page and the EFL site are none too happy. There’s even been some jabs from commenters on Philly websites, like Naked Philly

From the street level of W Penn St the rowhomes do appear to be under the 38′ height limit, and I believe the height limit only has to be maintained on the primary facing street even if the side street slopes down. However, based on that Near Neighbor report I hate how they specifically asked for flat roofs and that upper-level setback, as if that is what makes for good complimentary architecture. Sloped roofs could have mimicked the forms on the neighboring rowhouses as a subtle nod while still maintaining a contemporary character.”

Not so fast, says Carolyn S. a neighbor on Penn Street and member of the near neighbors committee that negotiated with Jonas and Falso —

First, the height of the complex is, in fact less than 38′, and the front facades line up with the Tudors. Second, the majority of people thought the ‘fake mansard’ sloped roof shown in the original submittal was terrible (especially considering the substitution of new roofing materials for slate).  A majority also liked the 3rd floor setback, feeling that it created a better balance to the two story Tudors (the sloping “roof” being at 2nd, not 3rd story height). The majority of neighbors wanted these homes to say 2017….not 1927.”

Another neighbor agreed: “A sloped roof would basically create another ‘façade’ of the house and more facing area to the street. From street level on Penn St. the 3rd floor is not very apparent, the setback and flat roof helps a lot with that. I think the best way for them to be successful going forward is for them to stick to a dark color palette that doesn’t compete with the unique Tudor rowhomes.”

Despite the negative comments, it hasn’t stopped buyers – as of this writing the two end units were already sold…for $641K and $649K. A third was under contract.

Redeemer Church Update
Construction by Jonas’ crew in the Redeemer Church building continues at a quick pace but there has been one snag recently, according to John G. from the Facebook page “East Falls Rant You’re A$$ Off” – “They tried removing the big stained glass windows from the church, but they can’t because they were framed in metal beams built into the very walls of the building! So, most will remain. A few will be donated to the Falls Free Library to auction off in a fundraiser.” Thanks John!

UPDATE 3-8-17: NakedPhilly.com recapped new construction at Redeemer. We also hear at least one of the townhouses may be under contract already…

UPDATE 2-25-17:  Recently-released MLS listings reveal asking prices from $599,900 to $649,000 for these 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath modern townhomes on Penn Street. (Thanks, Heather Petrone-Shook for this scoop we all wanted to know.)

Other details include great room entrances, walk-in closets, upper floor laundry, and eat-in kitchens. One side of both end homes feature large windows that create a “glass house” feel. Roof decks are engineered for jacuzzis, of course.

Construction actually appears to be slightly bigger than agreed-upon by the community: faces were supposed to be flush with existing homes, but instead it looks like they jut out about a foot and a half…? Could they be taller, too…?  Hmmmm…

We’re following some neighborhood rumblings, frankly, should be interesting to see how this shakes out. Meanwhile, renderings, floorplans, etc:

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What Goes Up, What Comes Down

As East Falls loses the abandoned Japanese Restaurant building on Kelly Drive, nearby RAH watches luxury condos go up by Laurel Hill. 

Two big projects underway add to the hundreds of new luxury units coming to our area thanks to a recent surge in investors and interest. Missed the details? No worries, we’ll recap here with links to further reading.

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East Falls, Into the StratISphere

East Falls shines as a technology hub thanks to our resident industry trailblazer. We catch up with Felicite Moorman for some insights into tech, East Falls, and what’s next for that Little Red Cafe on Midvale.

We’ve been gunning for Felicite since we invited ourselves to write a blog about her family while they settled into the area & embarked on a spectacularly ambitious home restoration. While Hohenadel House’s history and architecture were amazing, Felicite herself turned out to be a far more compelling a subject.

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Dog Park’s a “Done Deal” at NewCourtland

The new owners of the old “EPPI” property aims to include off-leash play space in upcoming renovations. (A community garden, too!)

 

East Falls Community Council president Bill Epstein was bursting with “exciting news” Monday night — that a dog park and community garden were “a done deal” with NewCourtland, owners of the old “EPPI” property at Scott’s Lane and the railroad crossing.

Further, Council’s submitted sketch plans from the last time a dog park was considered for East Falls.

Community Council hasn’t held a public dog park meeting since February 2015. Behind the scenes, though, they’ve pulled some strings for us all. GOOD JOB, GUYS! East Falls has been clamoring for a dog park for years, thank you for listening.

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Street Smarts

Our business corridor’s sharper these days, thanks to a tireless band of process wonks & local leaders who refused to give up on safety fixes & more curb parking at a busy stretch of Ridge. 

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What a gorgeous day for a ribbon cutting! We made time to meet up with Sharon Jaffe, chair of the board of EFDC and quite a Who’s Who of East Falls’ business and leadership. Maybe it was the weather, but this gathering seemed remarkably joyful for a civic formality.

Inn Yard Park was ablaze with Fall color so we took a bunch of pictures and even attempted an “Abbey Road” photo shoot on Ridge Avenue in rush hour. I guess folks get a little cocky when they feel they’ve achieved the impossible.

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Turning Japanese on Kelly Drive

After a setback at Civic Design Review last Wednesday, what’s next for the development of the old Japanese banquet hall site on Kelly Drive?

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UPDATE: PlanPhilly’s recap of Nov 30th’s Civic Design Review.

The next step in the development of the vacant Japanese banquet hall will have to wait a little longer as the Civic Design Review (CDR) board voted last Wednesday to bring back Gary Jonas and his HOW Properties team for another review of their plan.

The CDR cited missed opportunities and lack of connection to the river as disappointments in the design renderings and suggested several improvements they hoped would be incorporated in the next round of renderings.

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