East Chestnut’s Revival Could Get Huge Boost From Big Project

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The way John Columbo saw it, East Chestnut Street in Center City was a ghetto. From 8th to 13th, the once-beautiful and bustling street brimmed with empty storefronts with graffitied windows and bottom-feeder businesses like dollar stores and check-cashing joints. Drug dealers jockeyed with street hustlers for sidewalk space.

It was the perfect place, he and his business partner Mike Lewis decided six years ago, for their gourmet cupcake bakery, Philly Cupcake. “You look at what everybody else is doing and do the opposite – place luxury right in the center of the ghetto,” Columbo said of their business philosophy.

While a few other brave merchants followed their lead, the changes weren’t always positive and a rebirth remained elusive, Columbo said. A sex shop moved in a few doors away and filled its storefront windows with space-age vibrators and near-naked mannequins to tempt passers-by. Farther east, some cheered the closure of the old Funk-o-Mart electronics store, only to see another dollar store move in.

“They want this to be Woolworth’s, and we’re trying to be more Chanel,” Columbo said of the battle to revitalize Chestnut Street.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131020_East_Chestnut_s_revival_could_get_huge_boost_from_big_project.html#V6VUDBO8eBGus08i.99

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Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Rehabs Wood Street Facades

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years, the three nondescript buildings on Wood Street rarely drew a second glance, let alone a first. Now, after nearly $1 million in renovations, some folks can’t believe what they’re seeing.

“Some of them were trying to get photographs of what they looked like before because they didn’t believe they had walked by these buildings without noticing them,” architect Milton Ogot said of a few friends and colleagues and even some passersby.

In some cases, people “kind of assumed we took down the existing facade and replaced it with a new one.”

Once the plainest of Janes in a drab stretch of Wood between Fourth and Forbes avenues, the “three sisters” now stand out like diamonds on black velvet, thanks to the work of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/pittsburgh-history-landmarks-foundation-rehabs-wood-street-facades-706403/#ixzz2h00wpa9w

Historic Columbia, PA Market House Rededicated

A large crowd was on hand Thursday for the rededication of the Historic Columbia Market House, which recently underwent improvements to its roof, exterior and heating and electrical systems.
 
Speakers included Mayor Leo Lutz, Borough Manager Norm Meiskey, Borough Council President Mary Wickenheiser, Columbia Historic Market House Trust Chairman Dave Rupp, Turkey Hill Vice President John Cox and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Leaman.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/487213_Columbia-market-rededicated.html#ixzz1c5nVI23Q

Lancaster Mixed-Use Project Wrapping Up Phase One

Liberty North, a high-end, mixed-use project at 1060 North Charlotte Street in Lancaster is almost ready to have its first tenants move in.  The second-floor renovations are complete and 20 of 21 loft apartments are rented!  First-floor work starts this fall and will add more apartments and commercial space.

Apartments rent for $900 – $1800 a month and there are no shortage of takers; if the success rate on the second-floor is any indicator for the rest of the project.

Here is as link to the site for the project with all the information you could want and pictures: http://drogariscompanies.com/libertynorth

City of York Gets $5 Million Infrastructure Grant From PA

The City of York has received a $5 million grant that will allow the city to transform the existing City Hall, 50 West King St., into a modern police station.  The rest of the city administration, staff and mayor’s office will be moving into a new location at 101 S. George St., which the city purchased in March.

50 West King Street will get an $867,531 renovation to make the new police station modern and efficient.  Governor Corbett’s office is reviewing Ed Rendell’s 2010 grants to make sure they are good use of taxpayer money.  This has caused delays in the distribution of previously approved funds.

York City is working hard to reduce crime and create a more positive perception of the city.  A modern facility and better tools should help city police make more headway in the fight to curb crime.