On Ridge Avenue Progress Would Go By The Initials PHA

Editor’s note:  This could be a game changer if it can be pulled off.  Hoping it is a success.

From Bruce Webb’s chair, pulled to the entryway of his record and cassette store on Ridge Avenue, the decay is inescapable. Across the street, a faded sign for Irv’s Meat Market & Delicatessen boasts, “Home of the Giant Hoagie.” Next door, Ahn’s Fresh Fish & Produce is for sale.

Both stores are vacant, and have been for years.

One recent day, Webb saw two younger men photographing the crumbled Irv’s storefront. Speculators, Webb dubbed them.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Webb, 81, said. “Change is coming.”

The source of that proposed change to a once-vibrant business corridor that stretched from Girard College to Cecil B. Moore Avenue is an unlikely one: the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150603_On_Ridge_Avenue_progress_would_go_by_the_initials_PHA.html#GVbsus8XvyomgfYd.99

Bethlehem Approves 30-Unit Apartment Complex Off Elizabeth Avenue

The Bethlehem Planning Commission on Thursday approved construction of 30 apartments on two vacant parking lots off East Elizabeth Avenue.

Peron Development hopes to start construction on the three-story apartment building at Chelsea Avenue and East Greenwich Street within 90 days, company Director of Development Rob de Beer said.

Peron also is about to start on the construction of 110 apartments on East Third Street on the South Side.

“There’s that much significant interest for living in Bethlehem and we want to meet that demand,” de Beer said.

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Mormon Apartment Tower, Meetinghouse Complex Passes Design Review

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After reviewing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ plans for an apartment tower, townhouses, retail space, and a meetinghouse at 1601 Vine St., the city Planning Commission’s Design Review Committee advised the church to open a garden to the public, work with the Streets Department to improve traffic flow on adjacent Wood Street, and use a higher-grade material than blacktop in a public courtyard.

The committee then closed its review, with little information on the large amount of public art the church is required to provide.

CDR committee members, who met earlier this week, weren’t totally thrilled about that last bit.

“Whatever we decide here becomes the way future developers come before us,” said committee member Cecil Baker. “This is part of the public realm. When jobs get this large, it’s a very important part. This is a major, major opportunity, the likes of which come rarely.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Mormon_apartment_tower_meetinghouse_complex_passes_design_review.html#GqLhlWDwGYvu5sA2.99

Architect Plans $5 Million, 7-Story Condominium Project In Downtown Lancaster

Three decades after building Steeplehouse Square, architect John de Vitry again is building condominiums in downtown Lancaster.

Magnolia Place, a seven-story building he wants to build at North Duke and East Chestnut streets, would be the first entirely new downtown residential project since Steeplehouse opened in 1982.

The 13-unit building would replace the building on the northeast corner of the intersection, which was built as a gas station and later served as a law office.

De Vitry and his partners hope to begin construction of the $5 million-plus project in October, with occupancy of the units by September 2014.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/860653_Architect-plans–5-million–7-story-condominium-project-in-downtown-Lancaster-.html#ixzz2W7xdrWlt

Motor City Lessons For Reading

City officials were shocked, saddened, thankful and relieved by their three-day bus trip to Detroit that began Nov. 13.

The fast-paced tour, paid for entirely by two local foundations, was to see what progress the Motor City has made in its own painful recovery, and what efforts there might work in Reading.

As Detroit’s Big Three automakers declined, tax revenues dropped and more than half its 1.8 million residents moved out. The city had to cut services such as fire suppression and police from large sections of the city.

But now, with help from foundations and businesses, it’s making numerous coordinated moves to rebuild.

Reasd more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=432745