Luxury Hotel Plans For Former Family Court Building In Philadelphia

Three groups of developers have pitched plans for converting the 72-year-old Family Court building at 18th and Vine Streets into a luxury hotel, raising expectations for another big investment in an area undergoing major change.

In plans submitted to the city Wednesday, each group was aligned with a hotel operator. They are:

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, teaming up with Logan Square Holdings, a limited partnership that counts the Goldenberg Group of Philadelphia among its five investors.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, working with Philadelphia’s Dranoff Properties and HRI Properties of New Orleans.

Kimpton Hotels, aligned with P&A Associates of Philadelphia and the Peebles Corp. of New York City.



Walkabout: Upper Lawrenceville Looks To Revitalize Without Losing Grit

Locator map with the Upper Lawrenceville neigh...

Locator map with the Upper Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While so many neighborhoods are casting about to reinvent themselves as vibrant post-industrial places, denizens of Upper Lawrenceville want to tie a vibrant future to the industry that remains.

They began developing a new vision for the neighborhood, referred to by some residents as the 10th Ward, in a series of three meetings that Lawrenceville United and the Lawrenceville Corp. initiated last fall. With $15,000 from the Design Center, they hired Christine Mondor of evolve EA, a design firm in Friendship, to lead the sessions, with help from Chelsea Burket, a community strategist with Fourth Economy, a consulting firm on the North Shore.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians‘ hall on Carnegie Street was standing room only for each meeting. The process linked natives of the neighborhood, old and young, to relative newcomers, many of whom have found the last affordable part of Lawrenceville.

After a final meeting last week, they embarked with a new plan and strategies to enliven the neighborhood without sacrificing its authenticity.

Read more:

Lancaster City Seeks $5 Million Mayor’s Challenge Grant

Faced with a decaying neighborhood, Lancaster city officials have few options.

The city can add new trash receptacles, erect streetlights, replace park benches and make other investments in public spaces.

For private property, the city can cite the owners under the property maintenance code.

But for wholesale change, it usually must wait for a property to be so blighted that it can be condemned and seized.

Such actions usually are isolated and limited by funding constraints.

But now Lancaster is considering an approach that is both comprehensive and intensely focused.

Read more:–5M-Mayor-s-Challenge-Grant-.html#ixzz2AndTJGBp

Pittsburgh Housing Authority Makes Serious Financial Commitment To The Hill District

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The Pittsburgh Housing Authority has set aside $33.4 million towards the demolition of a dilapidated, crime-ridden project in the Hill District.  The PHA will raze 734 apartments and replace them with 440 new townhouse units.  Only 404 of the 734 units are now occupied at Addison Terrace. The project will take 10 years to complete and be done in phases.

This is a significant financial commitment by the City of Pittsburgh toward cleaning up and revitalizing the Hill District.

More Awesome Revitalization News From York!

A twenty-something duo has purchased a dilapidated silk mill in York.  They are turning the structure into high-end apartments for young professionals!  The building has been vacant for years and was dragging the neighborhood down (one crappy property will do that).

The two buddies purchased the building for $133,000 in 2009.  Now, the three-story, 15,000-square-foot building is home to five one-bedroom and ten two-bedroom apartments.  Both owners live in the building with their wives and a young attorney has also moved in.  Two more leases have been signed.

This is not the first project these two childhood friends have done together.  Prior to this large project they renovated and flipped seven houses.  They purchased the Felton general store, renovated it and used the equity to buy the silk mill.  In addition to doing the work themselves, both men have day jobs, then come home and work on the silk mill.  They are looking at this real estate as income for now and retirement.

Both men want to live in York and have used local services when possible.

An open house will be held on June 26th at 1 pm.  The apartments are located at 1410 Monroe St., West York.

Apartments rent for between $800 and $1000 a month.  The average size of the apartments is 1,000 square feet.   There are many amenities including a fitness center, off-street parking and a roof-top deck in is the works.  The apartments are conveniently located near the proposed Hanover extension of the York County rail trail.

For more information:

Call (717) 781-6360, e-mail, or visit

Pittsburgh North Side Neighborhood To Get Transformation

Locator map with the Central Northside neighbo...

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A blighted block in the Central North Side neighborhood will be undergoing a much-needed and long-awaited transformation by the end of the summer.  Twelve parcels around the Garden Theater will be turned into retail, office and residential space.  The investment in this project is expected be $17.5 million according to developer Wayne Zukin and his Allegheny City Development Group.  Mr. Zukin is from Philadelphia.

Zukin said his team is also seeking an expansion of the Mexican War Streets historic district in order to benefit from historic tax credits.  Buildings will be demolished and replaced or reused.  The former Masonic Hall, the Garden Theater and the Bradberry Apartment Building are some of the buildings to be transformed by the project.

The Central Northside Neighborhood Council and the Northside Learning Conference are working with the developer to make this project happen.  We applaud this effort to stabilize the neighborhood, which will benefit the entire North Side.


Spanish American Civic Association Helping Redevelop And Stabilize Lancaster’s SE Quadrant Neighborhood

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Lancaster’s Spanish American Civic Association (SACA) was formed in 1984 to focus on the purchase and rehabilitation of vacant and blighted homes in Lancaster’s southeast quadrant neighborhood.  This neighborhood is 63 percent rental properties.  Lancaster City is 33.2 percent Hispanic.

The SACA Development Corporation rehabilitates numerous vacant and blighted properties and returns them to the housing market every year.  The new or renovated housing units are affordably priced housing for low or moderate-income families. 

The SACA also provides many other services:  a senior center, meals, employment assistance, case management, HIV/AIDs./HepC counseling/testing, career development, training and adult education, youth programs, drug and alcohol education, student family liaison, behavioral health services, a drug and alcohol treatment facility, adolescent counseling and therapeutic services.

The SACA Development Corporation’s latest project is the near completion of 13 townhouses under their Homeownership Choice Program.  These homes are priced at $99,600.  Twenty-seven other homes were built or converted in two other phases prior to this third phase.  An East Petersburg, PA contractor won the bid so construction was done by a Lancaster County company. 

These are state of the art, energy-efficient homes with every conceivable convenience built in.  Because these homes are new construction in Lancaster City, the owners will benefit from a tax-abatement program and pay lower property taxes.  This third phase of transformation will reduce blight, reduce crime and stabilize the area with homeowners (stakeholders) versus tenants (transient residents).

The Homeownership Choice Program is available through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.  Money also came from the city, the county, the Federal Home Loan Bank in Pittsburgh, PA Department of Community and Economic Development and Neighborhood Assistance program for tax credits.  Lancaster based Fulton Bank was the construction lender. 

Redevelopment really does take a village!