Real Estate

Fresh off an election win, Councilwoman-elect Jamie Gauthier talks zoning and affordable housing to Spruce Hill residents

November 13, 2019

Photo by West Philly Local

Newly elected City Councilwoman Jamie Gauthier says one of her top priorities when she takes office in January is addressing the development “frenzy” in West Philadelphia by pressing for more affordable housing.

“I think we should look at zoning with an eye toward equitability and affordability,” she told the Spruce Hill Community Association during its annual meeting at the Penn Alexander School on Tuesday.

Gauthier, who grew up in Kingsessing, will represent a district that has some of the most expensive real estate and the deepest poverty in Philadelphia. Development and issues related to zoning have become flashpoints in recent years.  Continue Reading

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New proposal calls for converting church near 46th and Spruce into apartments

June 5, 2019

Architect Brian Phillips from architecture firm ISA presents proposal to convert church near 46th and Spruce into apartments (Photo by West Philly Local).

Developers presented a plan to the Garden Court Community Association (GCCA) last night that would convert the Good Shepherd Community Church near 46th and Spruce into apartments and add another smaller building on the property.

The proposal, made to a standing-room-only crowd, was met with mixed reviews. Preservationists welcomed the adaptive reuse, while many neighbors near the property at 314-316 S. 46th St. opposed the plan.

“We simply can’t absorb any more high-density housing in this area,” said Eric Santoro.  Continue Reading

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A look at the 278-unit apartment building coming to former church site at 43rd and Chestnut

May 21, 2019

Plans for the 7-story apartment building coming to the former site of the Christ Memorial Church at 43rd and Chestnut came before the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee on Monday as part of the civic design review process, the final community-focused step before building begins.

Residents could suggest things like facade materials and types of street trees, but it’s unlikely the plans will change much.  Continue Reading

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Zoning and development round-up: Ahimsa House, Mill Creek Tavern, 4400 block of Chestnut

April 23, 2019

Here are some details on projects and properties that have been discussed at recent zoning meetings in Cedar Park and Spruce Hill.

• Ahimsa House (5007 Cedar Ave.)

                                Ahimsa House

The Cedar Park Neighbors zoning committee will support a variance request from the owner of the Ahimsa House at 5007 Cedar Ave. that would allow the privately owned residence that is used for various community activities to continue to operate. The decision made at its April 16 meeting follows a lengthy zoning committee hearing concerning the property last month.

The variance would rezone the property as a three-unit, multi-family dwelling. The zoning committee’s support includes stipulations that the property owner continues to live at the residence and that the zoning would be rescinded if the building was sold or operated as a non-owner occupied building. Other stipulations include that the variance be renewed after three years and that the owner follows fire and food safety codes.  Continue Reading

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Apartment building aimed at students planned for former Christ Memorial Church site at 43rd and Chestnut

April 2, 2019

Demolition of 19th century Christ Memorial Church underway (October, 2018).

The demolished 19th century Christ Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church building on the northeast corner of 43rd and Chestnut Streets has recently been resold (for a second time) to a new developer, according to reports. Alterra Property Group, the same developer who is currently erecting a 6-story prefab apartment building on the 4100 block of Chestnut, purchased the property for $17 million in February, according to a recent report by, and is planning to build another apartment building aimed at “graduate students, retained graduates, and young professionals” on the site.  Continue Reading

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Ahimsa House – the community space at 5007 Cedar Ave. – seeks zoning to keep going

March 20, 2019

Ahimsa House and community garden (Photo West Philly Local).

Everybody at the Cedar Park Neighbors zoning meeting on Tuesday night lauded the mission of the Ahimsa House, the volunteer run community space on the first floor of a three-story house at 5007 Cedar Ave. The question is, how to make the whole thing “legal”?

The Ahimsa House (“ahimsa” is a Sanskrit word meaning “non-violence”) dates back to 2011, when Meg Ferrigno bought the Cedar Avenue property through the Penn home ownership program. The three-story property had been a triplex and Ferrigno was advised to have it re-zoned as a duplex to qualify. A mix-up at the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) resulted in a single family designation.  Continue Reading

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