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View Poll Results: Which formerly forlorn sections of the city will see the most transformative changes in the 2020s?
Lower North Philly 10 29.41%
Central North Philly 1 2.94%
Upper North Philly 1 2.94%
West Philly--South of Market 7 20.59%
West Philly--North of Market 3 8.82%
Southwest Philly 2 5.88%
Kensington 9 26.47%
Frankford 1 2.94%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-05-2019, 01:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
Very true. People are flocking to the city... to be in the city. Empty-nesters want walk-ability to the Avenue of the Arts, University of Penn lectures, museums, galleries. Millennials are coming here to meet up with friends at coffee shops and pubs, bike from neighborhood to neighborhood and generally live the vibe of a closely connected social scene. The fewer middle-aged couples and families are usually finding themselves looking here because of a new job in a firm right in CC. There isn't much drawl to go the far out-neighborhoods of the city for the privilege of paying city wage tax, especially when many close-in suburbs are the same distance to CC and have grown to the point that they now dwarf out city neighborhoods in regards to amenities and entertainment options. Now with this said, I disagree with you that East Falls is a true out-neighborhood like say Germantown.
East Falls isn't a true out neighborhood, agreed. It's quite close to Center City. But it's so cheap. I keep trying to understand why. It's got universities up there, it's right by the Schuylkill river and Kelly Drive, there's a bit of a main street. The rowhouses on the hillside, those working class rows from circa 1900-1920s seem to be largely neatly kept and maintained and roomy enough inside for a young couple or single. But they're so cheap! I've watched real estate in the area for the last few months and so I know there's been virtually no appreciation for the last 15 years either. It's weird to me. Even the posher part of East Falls up on the hills are relatively affordable for what you get.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kongfoocj View Post
by 2035, strawberry mansion will be almost completely gentrified. Broad will be gentrified and desirable up to erie. Kensington will be like fishtown or williamsburg. Market will be desirable past 63rd street and up to 69th street. Everything in south philly will be completely gentrified and desirable. The sports complex area will start seeing construction of large office/mixed use/residential projects.
2035?
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post

But Schuylkill Yards redevelopment could be a real change for the city. The assets are all there - Penn/Drexel, Market Street CBD, and Penn Station. Real estate around Schuylkill Yards could be a good long term investment, like Powelton Village. Put a bunch more towers along the Schuylkill it would easily become an iconic area, far more so than Penn's Landing or even Naval Yards in South Philadelphia.
Schuylkill Yards was a focal point of the Phila. Amazon HQ2 presentation. All of the positive points about it are still true.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post
East Falls isn't a true out neighborhood, agreed. It's quite close to Center City. But it's so cheap. I keep trying to understand why. It's got universities up there, it's right by the Schuylkill river and Kelly Drive, there's a bit of a main street. The rowhouses on the hillside, those working class rows from circa 1900-1920s seem to be largely neatly kept and maintained and roomy enough inside for a young couple or single. But they're so cheap! I've watched real estate in the area for the last few months and so I know there's been virtually no appreciation for the last 15 years either. It's weird to me. Even the posher part of East Falls up on the hills are relatively affordable for what you get.
You know, this always confused me as well. I worked for a while (many years ago) at Philadelphia University, so I saw East Falls regularly. Are taxes high? Is the housing stock in disrepair behind the walls? Most houses are stone construction, is there something about that that invites huge repair or heating bills? I honestly don't know, but the same phenomenon can be seen with Manayunk to a lesser extent.
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Old 11-05-2019, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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I voted West Philly south of Market, but I can see the case for Lower North as well: Brewerytown and South Kensington have already traveled a ways down the revitalization curve. But there's a fly in the North Philly ointment, and that's Temple University.

The trouble with Temple is that it misread - and continues to misread - the Penn Urban Revitalization Playbook. Its strategy for "shoring up" North Central Philly is to turn the neighborhoods to the west and east of campus into de facto extensions of the campus - by which I mean, home to more of its students. Students are a very weak reed for supporting neighborhood renewal, and the quality of the housing being built to house those students in Cecil B. Moore is even lower than the quickly-thrown-up stuff going up in places like Fishtown, South Kensington or Point Breeze.

Temple hasn't meaningfully engaged the neighbors at all as it executes its plans, and nowhere is that more painfully evident than on the football stadium. John Fry at least learned at Penn that you need to get the neighbors on board before, not after, you release the renderings and blueprints.

Nor has it offered any way for faculty and staff to "buy into" the neighborhood the way Penn did with its mortgage assistance and home-improvement loan program. Yorktown, the neighborhood to Temple's south, would be ideal for this, but it's a stable black middle-class neighborhood that needs no shoring up - and I'd wager they wouldn't want Temple barging in there. APM, the Puerto Rican community-empowerment organization, has as strong if not a stronger presence in the area to Temple's east, with Paseo Verde right next to Temple University Regional Rail station its flagship project, and Temple would do well to partner with it on rehabilitation to its east, but I see no evidence that anyone at Temple has even thought of this.

That leaves the neighborhood to Temple's west. Temple isn't partnering with anyone on running a school. It's not offering incentives for faculty and staff to buy and fix up homes. If things continue the way they have been going so far, Temple could successfully halt the Wave in its tracks as it approached Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

Of course, my ears are burning:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muinteoir View Post
I am surprised Germantown did not end up on the poll. Not all of it was ever "gone," but much of it has some real revitalization potential.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
Parts of Germantown, closer to Lincoln Drive, have always been fine. So, yes, I agree with you.
What I think, and many Germantowners hope, will happen here is not the kind of rapid transformation that's taking place in those other neighborhoods but a slower, more "organic" pattern of renewal generated largely from within. That's already happening thanks to the efforts of a few hundred graduates of Jumpstart Germantown, the pioneer of the developers'-boot-camp programs now operating in seven Philadelphia neighborhoods, including all of West Philly and all of North Philly west of Broad from Hunting Park south. On my way to the polls today, I noticed that one of the three-story rowhouses at the other end of the block I live on had gotten a full rehab - a sign that some Jumpstart alum sees opportunity here, just like the duo who rebuilt 10 nearly-collapsed houses around the corner from me on the 5500 block of Bloyd Street with seed money from Jumpstart Germantown.

Yes, the northwest quarter of Germantown - like East Falls - is in good shape and really doesn't need the kind of revitalization we're talking about here. But the rest of the neighborhood could use some shots in the arm, and most residents here know this.

Something many outsiders don't know, however, is that even in the worse-off parts, there are pockets of affluence or at least middle-class stability. Penn-Knox, the blocks facing Fernhill Park, and perhaps most surprisingly the 400 to 600 blocks of East Locust Avenue and East Church Lane - which lie in my very-low-income Census tract - all fit this description. (I featured three houses that went on the market in that last pocket over the summer. All three had sale prices in the neighborhood of $500k or up.)

As my landlord puts it, Germantown has strong bones. The perception among outsiders, however, may keep that too-rapid change from happening. Maybe I should stop talking the place up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNgFooCj View Post
Market will be desirable past 63rd street and up to 69th street.
Once you cross Cobbs Creek, you've left Philadelphia. Millbourne Borough isn't in that bad a shape. That part of Upper Darby could use some shoring up, though.

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Originally Posted by DXBtoFL View Post

I don't have much confidence in Penn's Landing. Don't ever see that site taking off as a luxurious destination. After all, why? It ain't no Baltimore Inner Harbor. Views are of a dumpy river and Camden. And it's a long way from the heart of moneyed Philadelphia - Rittenhouse Square.
Rittenhouse Square is the historic old-money neighborhood in Center City, but Society Hill out-earns it now. Chestnut Hill ranks second behind Society Hill.

I don't think anyone here is talking about these other neighborhoods becoming "luxurious" - just decent, and places a middle-class household would consider living. Old City is already there, and really doesn't belong in this conversation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
Very true. People are flocking to the city... to be in the city. Empty-nesters want walk-ability to the Avenue of the Arts, University of Penn lectures, museums, galleries. Millennials are coming here to meet up with friends at coffee shops and pubs, bike from neighborhood to neighborhood and generally live the vibe of a closely connected social scene. The fewer middle-aged couples and families are usually finding themselves looking here because of a new job in a firm right in CC. There isn't much drawl to go the far out-neighborhoods of the city for the privilege of paying city wage tax, especially when many close-in suburbs are the same distance to CC and have grown to the point that they now dwarf out city neighborhoods in regards to amenities and entertainment options. Now with this said, I disagree with you that East Falls is a true out-neighborhood like say Germantown.
Transit service between Center City and Northwest Philly above the Wissahickon is better than it is between Center City and East Falls. In Germantown, there are multiple options for getting to City Hall in 30 minutes: two Regional Rail lines and five bus routes that feed express stations on the Broad Street Line, plus a sixth that feeds it at Logan station. In East Falls, your choices are the Manayunk/Norristown Line or the slowpoke Route 61 bus.

Those transit hurdles make it more of an "outlying neighborhood" than it otherwise would be.

But again, East Falls isn't really in need of "renewal" or "revitalization."
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
I voted West Philly south of Market, but I can see the case for Lower North as well: Brewerytown and South Kensington have already traveled a ways down the revitalization curve. But there's a fly in the North Philly ointment, and that's Temple University.

The trouble with Temple is that it misread - and continues to misread - the Penn Urban Revitalization Playbook. Its strategy for "shoring up" North Central Philly is to turn the neighborhoods to the west and east of campus into de facto extensions of the campus - by which I mean, home to more of its students. Students are a very weak reed for supporting neighborhood renewal, and the quality of the housing being built to house those students in Cecil B. Moore is even lower than the quickly-thrown-up stuff going up in places like Fishtown, South Kensington or Point Breeze.

Temple hasn't meaningfully engaged the neighbors at all as it executes its plans, and nowhere is that more painfully evident than on the football stadium. John Fry at least learned at Penn that you need to get the neighbors on board before, not after, you release the renderings and blueprints.

Nor has it offered any way for faculty and staff to "buy into" the neighborhood the way Penn did with its mortgage assistance and home-improvement loan program. Yorktown, the neighborhood to Temple's south, would be ideal for this, but it's a stable black middle-class neighborhood that needs no shoring up - and I'd wager they wouldn't want Temple barging in there. APM, the Puerto Rican community-empowerment organization, has as strong if not a stronger presence in the area to Temple's east, with Paseo Verde right next to Temple University Regional Rail station its flagship project, and Temple would do well to partner with it on rehabilitation to its east, but I see no evidence that anyone at Temple has even thought of this.

That leaves the neighborhood to Temple's west. Temple isn't partnering with anyone on running a school. It's not offering incentives for faculty and staff to buy and fix up homes. If things continue the way they have been going so far, Temple could successfully halt the Wave in its tracks as it approached Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
You're kidding right? A fly in the ointment? Has Temple done everything right to help encourage maximum growth and revitalization? Absolutely not - in fact, much of the Temple BOD and administration share the same anti-change/do-it-how-it's-always-been-done sentiment that much of our city government embodies. However, to say that almost mind-blowing progress has not been made over the last decade in huge swaths of that section of North Philly is naive at best, and quite frankly, sounds agenda-driven.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
What I think, and many Germantowners hope, will happen here is not the kind of rapid transformation that's taking place in those other neighborhoods but a slower, more "organic" pattern of renewal generated largely from within. That's already happening thanks to the efforts of a few hundred graduates of Jumpstart Germantown, the pioneer of the developers'-boot-camp programs now operating in seven Philadelphia neighborhoods, including all of West Philly and all of North Philly west of Broad from Hunting Park south. On my way to the polls today, I noticed that one of the three-story rowhouses at the other end of the block I live on had gotten a full rehab - a sign that some Jumpstart alum sees opportunity here, just like the duo who rebuilt 10 nearly-collapsed houses around the corner from me on the 5500 block of Bloyd Street with seed money from Jumpstart Germantown.

Yes, the northwest quarter of Germantown - like East Falls - is in good shape and really doesn't need the kind of revitalization we're talking about here. But the rest of the neighborhood could use some shots in the arm, and most residents here know this.

Something many outsiders don't know, however, is that even in the worse-off parts, there are pockets of affluence or at least middle-class stability. Penn-Knox, the blocks facing Fernhill Park, and perhaps most surprisingly the 400 to 600 blocks of East Locust Avenue and East Church Lane - which lie in my very-low-income Census tract - all fit this description. (I featured three houses that went on the market in that last pocket over the summer. All three had sale prices in the neighborhood of $500k or up.)

As my landlord puts it, Germantown has strong bones. The perception among outsiders, however, may keep that too-rapid change from happening. Maybe I should stop talking the place up.
I've been through Germantown many times, and I agree, it's got tremendous historical value and some amazing houses from it's heyday. However, to say that an organic movement is afoot that will substantially alter the current landscape, in my opinion, is beyond optimistic. Yes, there are strong middle class pockets, but they're not housing speculators or wealthy industrialists. They might, at best, stabilize small areas of the neighborhoods for a time, but they're not going to expand that middle class footprint. For every one rehabbed house that goes on market (and actually sells), I would bet at least two others are condemned. As you know, Germantown is BIG. I don't see a scenario where current residents are going to turn the tide, and unfortunately, it's probably one recession or downswing away from hitting a pretty bad place.

This leaves new blood to be the driving force. And, for all of your strong defense of Germantown (which I applaud, by the way), I've never heard you voice exactly WHY anyone that is fairly well-to-do or at least solidly middle class would chose the area over the many options they have. It's, on average, closer to a 35-40 minute commute to CC, and that's after one gets to the actual station - meaning door-to-door for most is an hour or so. There is nothing of employment substance around the town or in the neighboring north philly neighborhoods, the schools are well-below average, and crime is still a very real concern. I wish it the best, as I wish all of Philadelphia the best, but I personally do not see many advantages for Germantown.
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post


Rittenhouse Square is the historic old-money neighborhood in Center City, but Society Hill out-earns it now. Chestnut Hill ranks second behind Society Hill.
The most expensive properties are in Rittenhouse. Society Hill looks more affluent on paper because the demographics has fewer "lower" income people while Rittenhouse still has plenty of students and young adults in converted rowhouse apartments. But par for par, housing is more expensive in the Rittenhouse/Fitler Square area, both apartments and rowhouses, than in Society Hill. While Society Hill is no slouch, there's more high value properties (2+ million especially) in Rittenhouse/Fitler. I've also picked up from realtors that Society Hill is increasingly ageing, its demographics skewing upwards with younger people more interested in other areas.

Relying on average income is always misleading. Grad Hospital is technically the highest earning neighborhood in the city but it's certainly not as rich as the affluent residents of Rittenhouse or Society Hill.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
You're kidding right? A fly in the ointment? Has Temple done everything right to help encourage maximum growth and revitalization? Absolutely not - in fact, much of the Temple BOD and administration share the same anti-change/do-it-how-it's-always-been-done sentiment that much of our city government embodies. However, to say that almost mind-blowing progress has not been made over the last decade in huge swaths of that section of North Philly is naive at best, and quite frankly, sounds agenda-driven.
"Fly in the ointment" because Temple doesn't and won't have the power to stop the Wave from washing into Strawberry Mansion from Brewerytown and Sharswood, but its plans will blunt its force in the neighborhood immediately to the west of campus, now called Cecil B. Moore by some after the street that runs along its southern edge.

I'm still a little skeptical of the Philadelphia Housing Authority's role in Sharswood - I broke the story of the agency's bait-and-switch on redevelopment after it tore down most of the Norman Blumberg Apartments; while it was supposed to be mapping out Sharswood's future with Sharswood residents, it actually had its own plans all drawn up, and they weren't what the residents envisioned. (And that vision actually had less, not more, affordable housing in it than the PHA's plan did; read Brewerytown/Sharswood Community Civic Association President Warren McMichael's quote in the story.) But I will give them points for actually getting stuff built, something more in keeping with the rowhouse character of the place; they apparently are cognizant of their less-than-stellar past reputation.

Penn learned a painful lesson from its experience with the University City Science Center and University City High School; the former wiped out an entire working-class black community, and its promises to be involved in the operation of the latter turned to dust the day its doors opened in 1972. That latter is why Spruce Hill residents insisted Penn's name go on Sadie T.M. Alexander School when Penn made its second foray into neighborhood stabilzation and revitalization. And in that second foray, Penn solicited feedback from existing Spruce Hill residents about what the neighborhood needed. John Fry absorbed the lessons he learned there well and is applying all of them as the school he now runs seeks to do for Powelton Village and part of the area Penn laid waste what Penn did for Spruce Hill. I see none of this emanating from Temple.

One of those Spruce Hill residents, by the way, is now a Germantowner. I knew him when I worked in Penn's communications office and he headed the Spruce Hill Community Association. He's as much of a neighborhood activist here as he was there, and we're together again in a project to revive community journalism in the neighborhood. Both of us are African-American and middle-class; he lives on Germantown's more middle-class west side while I live on its poorer east side.

Quote:
I've been through Germantown many times, and I agree, it's got tremendous historical value and some amazing houses from it's heyday. However, to say that an organic movement is afoot that will substantially alter the current landscape, in my opinion, is beyond optimistic. Yes, there are strong middle class pockets, but they're not housing speculators or wealthy industrialists. They might, at best, stabilize small areas of the neighborhoods for a time, but they're not going to expand that middle class footprint. For every one rehabbed house that goes on market (and actually sells), I would bet at least two others are condemned. As you know, Germantown is BIG. I don't see a scenario where current residents are going to turn the tide, and unfortunately, it's probably one recession or downswing away from hitting a pretty bad place.

This leaves new blood to be the driving force. And, for all of your strong defense of Germantown (which I applaud, by the way), I've never heard you voice exactly WHY anyone that is fairly well-to-do or at least solidly middle class would chose the area over the many options they have. It's, on average, closer to a 35-40 minute commute to CC, and that's after one gets to the actual station - meaning door-to-door for most is an hour or so. There is nothing of employment substance around the town or in the neighboring north philly neighborhoods, the schools are well-below average, and crime is still a very real concern. I wish it the best, as I wish all of Philadelphia the best, but I personally do not see many advantages for Germantown.
I've been accused of donning rose-colored glasses in describing what's happening in Germantown now, especially in that overview of the current state of affairs I wrote in Next City summer before last. I do agree with you that Germantown's revitalization is more fragile than it is in the other neighborhoods, and it is precisely because

--it's taking place with lots of little people doing it rather than a few big developers
--it's occurring piecemeal, "one house at a time," as Jumpstart Germantown's motto says
--it's having a hard time gaining traction in the central business district, whose decline is actually steeper than the residential district's; Uncle Bobbie's and the Espresso Bar can't bring the area around all by themselves

The first two facts are why I'd describe what's happening here as a "slow-motion" revitalization. Except at Wayne Junction, which Ken Weinstein is now pouring beaucoup money into, it's not large-scale or on a short time horizon. The neighborhood's fragmented leadership doesn't help things any either, as it dilutes the effectiveness of such advocacy as it can muster before City Hall. (We've been promised a reconstruction of Maplewood Mall, a charming little shopping street that's geared towards pedestrians but has gotten shabby since a 1970s makeover, for a few years now. It was supposed to get under way this summer. A ceremonial groundbreaking last week was canceled because of the heavy storms that were passing through that day. I hope that's not an omen.)

One recession could indeed bring this all to a halt. But the reason I'm more optimistic than that is this: One big developer sidelined by the recession brings all activity to a grinding halt. Not all of the hundreds of little ones will be. Those that have grown strong enough might even be able to keep some small projects going, assuming they can get financing.

You ask why any middle-class or well-off person would choose Germantown as a place to live. I'd suggest you put that question to the five percent of neighborhood households with annual incomes of $125k or more. (What other low-income Philadelphia neighborhood do you know of with that many affluent residents?) Or to the mostly but not entirely African-American middle-class types who buy those $500K houses in my own Census tract.

I think I can give you one reason, and it's the same reason the Mt. Airy real estate agent I've known for nearly 20 years gave when I asked her what drew people to that neighborhood: "more house, more trees and more quiet." (I quoted her in my print-issue Mt. Airy neighborhood guide, and she goes on at greater length here.) Crime aside - and the kind that wakes people up at night is largely confined to pockets of the neighborhood - you could use this phrase to describe what you'll find in the better-off parts of Germantown, including the Tulpehocken Station Historic District in that more affluent northwest quadrant. Length of commute in these cases is not a deterrent; it's the more "suburban" character of much of this part of Northwest Philadelphia that leads people to move up this way, and they consider the Regional Rail commute a price worth paying. (And ISTR at least one Mt. Airy resident who used to post here who said that the BSL to Erie and 23 bus from there was actually faster for him.) A good chunk of this city's relatively small supply of freestanding single-family residences is located in Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. If you want that but don't want to live in the actual 'burbs, a place like this will have a good bit of appeal. I might even say that outside perceptions of the neighborhood are holding it back more than actual conditions within it are.

I could probably think of a few other reasons why, but I have some more writing to do.

Last edited by MarketStEl; 11-06-2019 at 02:04 PM..
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
I voted West Philly south of Market, but I can see the case for Lower North as well: Brewerytown and South Kensington have already traveled a ways down the revitalization curve. But there's a fly in the North Philly ointment, and that's Temple University.

The trouble with Temple is that it misread - and continues to misread - the Penn Urban Revitalization Playbook. Its strategy for "shoring up" North Central Philly is to turn the neighborhoods to the west and east of campus into de facto extensions of the campus - by which I mean, home to more of its students. Students are a very weak reed for supporting neighborhood renewal, and the quality of the housing being built to house those students in Cecil B. Moore is even lower than the quickly-thrown-up stuff going up in places like Fishtown, South Kensington or Point Breeze.

Temple hasn't meaningfully engaged the neighbors at all as it executes its plans, and nowhere is that more painfully evident than on the football stadium. John Fry at least learned at Penn that you need to get the neighbors on board before, not after, you release the renderings and blueprints.

Nor has it offered any way for faculty and staff to "buy into" the neighborhood the way Penn did with its mortgage assistance and home-improvement loan program. Yorktown, the neighborhood to Temple's south, would be ideal for this, but it's a stable black middle-class neighborhood that needs no shoring up - and I'd wager they wouldn't want Temple barging in there. APM, the Puerto Rican community-empowerment organization, has as strong if not a stronger presence in the area to Temple's east, with Paseo Verde right next to Temple University Regional Rail station its flagship project, and Temple would do well to partner with it on rehabilitation to its east, but I see no evidence that anyone at Temple has even thought of this.

That leaves the neighborhood to Temple's west. Temple isn't partnering with anyone on running a school. It's not offering incentives for faculty and staff to buy and fix up homes. If things continue the way they have been going so far, Temple could successfully halt the Wave in its tracks as it approached Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

Of course, my ears are burning:

There would have been no John Fry without former Penn president, Judith Rodin, who is conspicuously absent from what you wrote above. Rodin, obviously, included in her initial agenda a rivival of the place where she grew up and went to school.
It seems so sensible now. And it worked. But let's leave out the woman who was responsible along with the Penn Trustees. She was Fry's boss.
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by kyb01 View Post
There would have been no John Fry without former Penn president, Judith Rodin, who is conspicuously absent from what you wrote above. Rodin, obviously, included in her initial agenda a rivival of the place where she grew up and went to school.
It seems so sensible now. And it worked. But let's leave out the woman who was responsible along with the Penn Trustees. She was Fry's boss.
Wet noodle accepted. You're right that Fry wouldn't have happened without Rodin. It's just that Rodin went on to other things, like promoting the region, while Fry continued to play the redevelopment game.
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