Archive | September, 2013

Own a business or property in West Philly? Host a bike share station

September 30, 2013

Philly Bikeshare mapAs West Philly Local reported earlier this year, a new form of public transportation in Philly – a bike share program – is scheduled to launch in 2014. The program will bring hundreds of bikes to the city for everyone to share (between 1,000 and 1,500 bikes will be included in Zone 1; see map). Currently, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities is looking for property and business owners interested in hosting or sponsoring a bike share station. The City of Philadelphia requests letters of interest from interested business and property owners and institutions. The deadline to express this non-binding interest is Monday, Oct 7.

Here’s some more info if you want to be part of this exciting new program:

The City is looking for two types of partners:

Station hosts: Property owners willing to locate bike sharing stations on or near their property will be among the first round of sites considered for the system launch. Bike share stations require a minimum space of approximately 7 feet by 35 feet (235 sq. ft.)

Station sponsors: Businesses, property owners and institutions who would like to assure their participation in bike sharing from the outset are invited to become Station Sponsors. Sponsors will be at the top of the list for location siting, given the opportunity to host one or more stations at or near their location, and given the opportunity to underwrite their station(s).

Please note that your letter of interest will be used for planning purposes only. It does not commit the City of Philadelphia or interested businesses, property owners and institutions to any further obligations. You can view the full document with information about what is involved here.

To express your interest or if you have questions, address them to:

Aaron Ritz
Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs Planner
Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities
1401 JFK Blvd, Suite 1430, 19102
Phone: 215-686-9000

The City has a website with information about Philly’s bike share program, set to launch around this time next year.

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Weekend crimes: electronics stolen in home invasion on 44th Street; car break-in near 48th and Baltimore

September 30, 2013

A couple of crime reports from the weekend:

• A man and a woman were victims of a home invasion on the 200 block of South 44th Street on Saturday evening, Sept 28. Four intruders, two men and two women entered an apartment on the first floor after, locked the victims in the bedroom and ransacked the house, stealing electronic items, including a laptop, iPads and cell phones. One of the victims opened the door when the intruders knocked, NBC Philadelphia reports. The suspects fled through the back door and no injuries were reported.

This home invasion is not a random event, according to Joe Murray of Southwest Police Detectives. “Everyone involved is known to each other,” he told West Philly Local. No other details are available at this time, but Murray said that this crime is not related to the recent home invasion on the 200 block of 50th Street, which, police had said, also wasn’t a random act.

• A West Philly Local reader reports that his car parked in the 48th/49th and Baltimore Ave/Warrington Ave area was broken into on Friday night. “It appears to be someone just looking for money or something quick to sell. Fortunately for us we don’t keep anything in the car of value,” the reader wrote in an email. If you live on that block or in vicinity and your car has also been recently broken into, please let us know or post a comment below.

This neighbor also would like to send a reminder to other residents “to lock up and make sure nothing is visible to a would be stealer.”

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Foster cat missing, last seen at 47th and Woodland. Update: Found!

September 28, 2013



UPDATE (10/9/2013): Eva has been found and returned to her foster home.

Eva has been missing since last Wednesday, Sept 18 when she slipped out the door of her new foster home shortly after arriving. She does not know where she lives since she had only been in her new home for a few days. She was last seen at 47th and Woodland, but could have traveled anywhere from there. She would have a shaved down stomach from her recent spay.

Kind individuals have put up $125 in reward money for her safe return. Email: if you think you have seen Eva. She is microchipped and very, very friendly. She also has a wee kitten who misses her mama terribly.

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Correction: human chain against gun violence starts at 10:30am on Saturday

September 28, 2013

A man in his 20s is in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania this morning after being shot in the neck near 53rd and Chestnut Streets, a block from where thousands of residents will form a human chain on Saturday in opposition to gun violence.

StopGunViolenceWhile the number of homicides in the city have dropped considerably this year, the drumbeat of shootings rolls on. Some 1,800 shootings have been reported in the city so far this year, according to police statistics. There have been more than 2,000 gunpoint robberies so far this year. That’s why the group Hands Across Philadelphia (Facebook page) is organizing a human chain along 52nd Street on Saturday to bring awareness to the gun violence epidemic.

The chain will include many members from Mothers in Charge, moms whose children have died in acts of gun violence. The idea is to bring everyone in the community together regardless of race, ethnicity or income to highlight a crisis that impacts everyone in the community.

The event begins at noon 10:30 a.m. and the chain will run along 52nd Street between Woodland and Parkside avenues.

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Real Estate Updates (Part I)

September 27, 2013


The Sedgley Apartments. Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local.

UPDATE 9/27/13, 2:30 P.M. We heard back from David Hess this afternoon, who let us know that the owners of Dunkin’ Donuts plan to open to shop in late October, pending there are no delays in construction.

West Philly Local wrote about many real estate developments taking place in the neighborhood–some of which are welcomed, some of which are criticized. In an effort to keep you up-to-date on a few of these projects, we’ve complied Part I of a list of building updates. Part II is coming soon.

  • In April, we reported that Renaissance Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center at 4712 Chester Avenue will undergo some renovations, including the demolition of two vacant, dilapidated houses adjacent to the property. When we stopped by the site this week, we saw that the buildings have been mostly torn down, with the foundation of the structures still standing three-quarters of the way. Two people were also scavenging the mountains of bricks and debris that littered the fenced-in lot. Nursing Home Administrator Camella Kane, who spoke with us originally, said the center had “nothing to report at this time,” even when pressed for further information.
  • In June, we let you know that Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to 41st Street and Chester Avenue, opening up shop in the group floor of the multi-tenant building at 4100 Chester Avenue this fall. Well, observation makes it seem as if everything is still on track, with a sign for the fast-food coffee joint having gone up late this summer. As for the interior, wall beams have been erected and construction seems on the steady. We couldn’t get a confirmation of progress from David Hess, owner and manager of the multi-unit property, by the time of publication.
  • As for the Sedgley Apartments, the historic building undergoing renovations, renovation work should be finished in a few months, said Noah Ostroff, principal at 400 S. 45th Street LLC, which owns the Sedgley. According to Ostroff, the team is making “good progress” and the apartments—which he said will be affordable and competitively priced—should be available for rent come early January. “We believe [the Sedgley] is going to be one of the more luxurious rental buildings in the area,” Ostroff told West Philly Local.

Annamarya Scaccia

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40th Street Methodist Episcopal Church to become retail space in Spring 2014

September 26, 2013

After six years of uncertainty and false starts, it seems that the 40th Street Methodist Episcopal Church will finally undergo demolition to make way for 7,000-square-feet of retail space—or so the Daily Pennsylvanian reports.


Photo by Annamarya Scaccia/West Philly Local.

According to the DP, construction on the former house of worship, which stood at 125 S. 40th Street for 136 years, is expected to be complete by April 2014, but the developers, P&A Associates, have yet to release a specific work timeline. A search on Philadelphia License & Inspections site, though, does return multiple hits for the church address, one being a new construction permit that was issued in June to architectural firm Albert Taus & Associates and contractor Joe Freidman Construction Corp. If finished by next spring, the humble Romanesque-style two-story church—a gaping shell of its prior appeal—will become home to Dunkin Donuts, Whirled Peace Frozen Yogurt, Zesto Pizza and a fourth yet-to-be-identified commercial space.

Designed by leading mid-nineteenth century architects Samuel Sloan and Addison Hutton, the 40th Street Methodist Episcopal Church was home to three congregations before it was sold to P&A for $2 million in 2007. The previous owners, St. Joseph’s Baptist Congregation, worshipped in the village sanctuary for 50 years until it moved to a larger space six years ago, according to Hidden City Philadelphia. Prior to St. Joseph’s, it served First Church of the Covenanters from 1908 to 1954, which took over the church from Centennial Methodist Episcopal—the budding congregation that originally purchased the land in 1860 and erected Methodist Episcopal in 1871. Continue Reading

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