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Old 06-02-2011, 11:13 PM
 
36 posts, read 60,602 times
Reputation: 20

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Have read many threads, all pointing out good and bad areas. But I need "Brutal honesty"!!!! Wife has a great opportunity at UPenn. Want to be crystal clear before making our decision. Looking at Penn Alexander as starting point. Have two children both would attend.

The question... Would you consider a move to Penn Alexander catchment area?

"Brutal honesty" Please..... Anything would be appreciated. Housing costs, Crime, Family environment, Parks, Commute to Upenn, Parking, anything else I may have forgotten.

Want to consider anything and everything. Thanks
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:17 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
16,019 posts, read 5,063,458 times
Reputation: 9629
I live in the Penn Alexander Catchment area (just look at my user name!)

This neighborhood was a bit rough a dozen years ago when I first bought my 3 story c.1890 Victorian 6 bedroom "twin" (semi-detached townhouse). I got in just under the wire before the prices of these homes skyrocketed in price.

The neighborhood - Spruce Hill in University City - is lovely and it is the process of gentrification. We homeowners are taking the bars off our windows (I know I have) and our porches are embellished now ceramic pots of flowering plants and patio furniture. Every type of Victorian residential architecture is present: Italianate, Queen Anne, French Second Empire, Netherlandish Revival, Colonial Revival, Arts & Crafts, etc.

Homes here are now way overpriced in my opinion and you'll have to pay double of what a similar home in any other Philly neighborhood. Attached c.1900 rowhomes on the 4200 block of Osage are going for nearly a half million dollars! A rowhouse! A 2 bedroom condo apartment at the 4300 Pine Apartments runs about $350,000 ... for an apartment in an old building (admittedly beautifully renovated with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances). Victorian "twins" like mine are going for anywhere from $375K all the way up to $650K depending on size and condition.

We have the beautifully renovated Clark Park, some good local restaurants, convenient trolleys and bus lines to Center City, a much safer neighborhood thanks to the efforts of UCD (University City District), the Arts League, Yoga Studios, cafes and coffee shops, and lots of bookstores.

On the other hand we have college kids throwing their rubbish on the sidewalks and panhandlers all over the commercial area near 40th and Walnut. Parking - not as bad as Center City - but not that easy either. People leave their GPS systems in their cars and those cars get broken into. Ambulances with their sirens going because of all the hospitals nearby.

Hows that for "brutal honesty"?
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:23 PM
 
36 posts, read 60,602 times
Reputation: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
I live in the Penn Alexander Catchment area (just look at my user name!)

This neighborhood was a bit rough a dozen years ago when I first bought my 3 story c.1890 Victorian 6 bedroom "twin" (semi-detached townhouse). I got in just under the wire before the prices of these homes skyrocketed in price.

The neighborhood - Spruce Hill in University City - is lovely and it is the process of gentrification. We homeowners are taking the bars off our windows (I know I have) and our porches are embellished now ceramic pots of flowering plants and patio furniture. Every type of Victorian residential architecture is present: Italianate, Queen Anne, French Second Empire, Netherlandish Revival, Colonial Revival, Arts & Crafts, etc.

Homes here are now way overpriced in my opinion and you'll have to pay double of what a similar home in any other Philly neighborhood. Attached c.1900 rowhomes on the 4200 block of Osage are going for nearly a half million dollars! A rowhouse! A 2 bedroom condo apartment at the 4300 Pine Apartments runs about $350,000 ... for an apartment in an old building (admittedly beautifully renovated with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances). Victorian "twins" like mine are going for anywhere from $375K all the way up to $650K depending on size and condition.

We have the beautifully renovated Clark Park, some good local restaurants, convenient trolleys and bus lines to Center City, a much safer neighborhood thanks to the efforts of UCD (University City District), the Arts League, Yoga Studios, cafes and coffee shops, and lots of bookstores.

On the other hand we have college kids throwing their rubbish on the sidewalks and panhandlers all over the commercial area near 40th and Walnut. Parking - not as bad as Center City - but not that easy either. People leave their GPS systems in their cars and those cars get broken into. Ambulances with their sirens going because of all the hospitals nearby.

Hows that for "brutal honesty"?

Honesty appreciated.... Would you say it is children friendly? And do you have any idea about rental property? Thanks again
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
91 posts, read 229,800 times
Reputation: 34
Keep in mind that living in the catchment is no guarantee your child will get in, particularly for Kindergarten.

See, eg, Put out over city school's success - Philly.com
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:23 AM
 
149 posts, read 193,258 times
Reputation: 69
University City is a great area. It's safe, vibrant, walkable, and has great public transportation. However, there is far more demand for spots at Penn Alexander than there are available spots. If you're okay with a Catholic school, there are Saint Francis de Sales School and Our Mother of Sorrows/Saint Ignatius School. Both schools, especially De Sales, are close to U City. OMS/St. I (Mill Creek-OMS, Belmont-St. I). I live in Overbrook and I've been in Belmont and Mill Creek many times during the day and have never had any problems whatsoever, but they are economically depressed neighborhoods. Don't know much about the neighborhood where De Sales is. Grays Ferry in South Philly is close to University City so you may consider that area as well. I've heard GF is gentrifying.

Story about Penn Alexander: Put out over city school's success - Philly.com
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:33 PM
 
124 posts, read 163,215 times
Reputation: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsChelle View Post
University City is a great area. It's safe, vibrant, walkable, and has great public transportation. However, there is far more demand for spots at Penn Alexander than there are available spots. If you're okay with a Catholic school, there are Saint Francis de Sales School and Our Mother of Sorrows/Saint Ignatius School. Both schools, especially De Sales, are close to U City. OMS/St. I (Mill Creek-OMS, Belmont-St. I). I live in Overbrook and I've been in Belmont and Mill Creek many times during the day and have never had any problems whatsoever, but they are economically depressed neighborhoods. Don't know much about the neighborhood where De Sales is. Grays Ferry in South Philly is close to University City so you may consider that area as well. I've heard GF is gentrifying.

Story about Penn Alexander: Put out over city school's success - Philly.com
At this moment if you have school age children Gray's Ferry might not be a good choice, there are rental properties in the area just over the 30th street bridge from University city University city is a cool area , you might want ask what school alternatives there are to Penn Alexander
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:30 PM
 
36 posts, read 60,602 times
Reputation: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mltimes View Post
Keep in mind that living in the catchment is no guarantee your child will get in, particularly for Kindergarten.

See, eg, Put out over city school's success - Philly.com

How does that work? If we do move in the catchment area, how is it determined that we will or will not get a spot at Penn Alexander? Would like to know the process beforehand...
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:38 PM
 
1,623 posts, read 4,338,764 times
Reputation: 394
As a parent of small children I would move somewhere else - either further downtown or to the burbs. UC still is surrounded by bad areas and there is crime. Car crimes is bad enough but I'd be more worried about my wife especially on her commute. None of that area is safe for a lone woman super early morning or after dark.

My opinion is that a good part of the city better suits childfree folk. But if youre going to do it, move to the best neighborhood you can afford.

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel...tics-BR-1.html

Last edited by orrmobl; 06-07-2011 at 07:53 PM..
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:15 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
16,019 posts, read 5,063,458 times
Reputation: 9629
Quote:
Originally Posted by lost4now View Post
How does that work? If we do move in the catchment area, how is it determined that we will or will not get a spot at Penn Alexander? Would like to know the process beforehand...
According to my neighbors, if you live in the Catchment area, you need some determination to get your kid (s) in Sadie Alexander. There is no lottery, and if one child is already in that is no absolute guarantee the other one will automatically get in.

On registration day, camp out in front of the school and try to be one of the first in line, even if it means bringing a folding chair and a book to read at ... 5 AM!!! On second thought, get there before anyone else at 3 AM and bring someone to support you and your "claim"!!! No kidding!!! Fully understand the process of getting your kid in, and follow it with relentless determination.

Good luck!
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:53 PM
 
1,696 posts, read 3,190,733 times
Reputation: 1203
Brutal honesty? You would be crazy to expose your children to living in University City. Stay away - live in the suburbs.
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