CenterCityTeam Category

Philadelphia News Briefs: 12/8/15

December 8th, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on Philadelphia News Briefs: 12/8/15

1.) Legoland is coming (close) to Philadelphia! The amusement park chain based around the perennially-popular building blocks will open its ninth American location at the Plymouth Meeting Mall. Merlin Entertainments, which owns the chain, says that “LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia” will break ground next year. It will be entirely indoors. The Discovery Center will include assorted play areas, a 4D cinema, Lego Master Model Builder classes and space for birthday parties and other special events. Merlin executive John Jakobsen said Plymouth Meeting Mall is an ideal location for the new Legoland as it is already a meeting place for families and tourists from around the region. Legoland Centers are aimed at kids between the ages of 3 and 10 years old, the familes of which can normally explore the entire facility in 2 to 3 hours.


Comcast had to give some concessions to Seattle to make things fair after giving a sweetheart deal to Philadelphia.

2.) The success of Philadelphia’s franchise agreement with cable giant Comcast has led the city of Seattle to cry foul and demand similar concessions. The Philadelphia City Council made Comcast really sweeten the deal to keep its 15-year franchise agreement, obtaining expanded low-cost internet, living wage guarantees and public tech school partnerships. Seattle, which is in the midst of negotiating a 10-year franchise deal, threatened to cancel its vote on Comcast’s new deal unless it received similar perks. Despite the two cities being about 3,000 miles apart, Comcast caved on many concessions. Seattle didn’t get everything they asked for, but they did get additional low-cost internet and free hook-ups for city government and nonprofits.

3.) The Community College of Philadelphia’s campus north of Center City will soon be the site of an experiment by law enforcement. Nonviolent offenders will be offered education at the College rather than time in jail or prison. The theory is that, with additional education, offenders can better their lives and won’t commit future crimes. District Attorney Seth Williams said that the program could reduce prison overcrowding and mass imprisonment of nonviolent offenders. The goal is to have the new program implemented in the spring.

Deaf ASL Speakers Sign With a Philadelphia “Accent”

December 7th, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on Deaf ASL Speakers Sign With a Philadelphia “Accent”

If either you or someone you love hails from Philadelphia, you know about the regional accent. It’s an intonation that turns “water” into “wooder” and “eagles” into “iggles.” Love it or hate it, the Philadelphia accent is a hallmark of living in the City of Brotherly Love. So pervasive is this accent, in fact, that even deaf people using American Sign Language have their own version of it.


American Sign Language looks different when it is spoken by someone from Philadelphia.

People who speak ASL are known for having their own dialects or “accents,” which have to do with the way that they sign words. Areas all around the United States have their own regional ASL dialects, but Philadelphia is known for having one of the (if not the absolute) strongest. Now, two researchers based out of the University of Pennsylvania are studying the Philly ASL “accent” for the first time and trying to figure out why it exists.

Meredith Tamminga and Jami Fisher are the professors conducting the research. They say that regional differences in American Sign Language are similar to how some Americans say “pop” and others say “soda” to mean the same thing. Fisher adds that many words in Philadelphian sign language are completely different from their standard analogues. The word for “hospital,” for example, is completely different in Philadelphian ASL, and the difference can be confusing to speakers from other areas.

One observation made by Tamminga and Fisher is that Philadelphia’s sign language is closer in many ways to French sign language than ASL. The first sign language teacher in America, Laurent Clerc, was a Frenchman. While ASL has moved on to have its own nuances and lexical variations, Philadelphian sign language has stayed more French.

Fisher and Tamminga will interview 12 Philadelphian sign language speakers from different generations and make painstaking analysis of the hand movements that make up their signs, a process that can take two hours for every minute of sign language recorded.

Pita Chain Bets Big on Philly for Expansion

December 3rd, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on Pita Chain Bets Big on Philly for Expansion

One of the best parts about living in Philadelphia is that there’s never a shortage of delicious food choices when you are hungry. Now, picky eaters in Philly will have one more option when they go to order their lunch. Naf Naf Grill is a fast-casual chain specializing in Middle Eastern fusion favorites – pita, shawarma, and falafel. The chain is based in Chicago and currently has all its locations in the Midwest. Now, the restaurant is banking on Philadelphia as the home base for its first East Coast locations.

naf naf

Philadelphia will become Naf Naf’s home base for East Coast operations.

Naf Naf Grill will have seventeen locations open by the end of this month, all located in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. There have been no stores on the East Coast – not up until this point. Not only will Naf Naf open a handful of stores in Philadelphia (including an outpost in King of Prussia), but the area will also serve as the restaurant’s East Coast home base. Justin Halpenny, cofounder and senior vice president of development, had nothing but good things to say about the city, calling it a “great beachhead toward the East Coast” and praising its trendiness. Philadelphia’s demographics also line up with those identified by Naf Naf as likely customers, said Halpenny.

Halpenny said that expanding into Philadelphia would ease the process of later opening stores in New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Virginia, and Boston. He cited plans to open 10 stores by the end of 2016, and 25 stores within two years. He explained that all stores are corporately owned. Naf Naf made the decision not to franchise so as to preserve “that culture and the passion toward that food.”

As someone who loves some falafel, I for one am excited about the news!

Reports Vary on Philadelphia Apartment Market

December 2nd, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on Reports Vary on Philadelphia Apartment Market

How is Philadelphia’s apartment market doing? It’s an important question, not just because of rentals’ status in the overall state of Philadelphia housing, but also because of the high number of new multifamily building projects either recently-completed or coming down the pipeline. Is the market growing oversaturated? Sources seem to agree that the answer is “no, but proceed with caution.”

philly apartments

With so many new apartments, can Philadelphia’s rental market absorb the new units?

Center City District and Delta Associates are in agreement that Philadelphia can handle all the projects in the works and that the city isn’t “built out” so to speak. Another report seems to disagree. Axiometrics, a firm that tracks the multifamily and student housing markets, deemed the Philadelphia apartment market to be “volatile” in the last quarter. Rent growth dropped by 3.5 percent in October as compared with September. September’s rents were an increase from August, but August was a decrease from July. Which is all to say that rents are fluctuating up and down from month to month and that the apartment market might not be stable. October’s average rent was $1,252 a month.

Supporting Axiometrics’ suggestion of volatility are reports that landlords are having to increase concessions to get tenants in the door. These concessions include move-in specials like free rent, special deals on select units, and usually at least one month free. This could mean that the market is softening.

Delta Associates disagrees. They state that average job growth and a rise in Philadelphia’s popularity both mean that the city can support new apartment units and will be able to continue to do so in the near future. They cite data showing that vacancies have dropped from 3.6 percent to 2.0 percent this year and that average rent is higher than this time last year.

Mural of Pope Francis Seeks World Record

December 1st, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on Mural of Pope Francis Seeks World Record

When Pope Francis visited the City of Brotherly Love in September, there was much celebrating. The visit was commemorated in a number of ways, some of them artistic. Who can forget the grotto of knots dedicated to the Virgin Mary, after all? The pope celebrated his visit to Philly with an address in front of Independence Hall and a public mass held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Before he left, he also painted the final brushstroke and signed his name on a mural that is seeking a world record. As Archbishop Charles Caput put it when presenting the mural to Pope Francis, Philadelphia is a city of murals. Now, it has one more – a very impressive one.


The mural is seen on the sides of St. Malachy School.

The mural, entitled The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century, was designed by muralist Cesar Viveros. It was sponsored by Wells Fargo. The mural was created on 153 color-coded cloth panels. The final product is 4,200 square feet and multiple stories high. The finished work will cover three sides of the Saint Malachy school building located at 11th and Thompson Streets. Over 2,700 people – including Francis himself – contributed to the painting of the mural.

Guinness is reviewing the mural’s submission for the title of Most Contributions to a Painting by Numbers.

Whether or not it wins the world record, the mural is a lasting testament to the power of the pope’s visit. Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, said it well: “Partnering with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program on this unique initiative to commemorate the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and Pope Francis’ visit has been an incredible experience.” The mural is a long-term reminder of the power of that experience.

Just Sold: 1635 Fitzwater St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

December 1st, 2015 Frank L. DeFazio Comments Off on Just Sold: 1635 Fitzwater St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

1635 Fitzwater

Just Sold by JACKIE CIARELLI and the CenterCityTeam!

Don’t miss this contemporary, 4 years young awesome town home with 2 CAR PARKING and 6 years left on tax abatement! Enter through the front door into the dramatic 2 story entry foyer which features a full bedroom suite with full bath on this level. The main level has an amazing open and light filled dining room, kitchen & living room which leads out to a large deck convenient for barbecues on a summers evening while looking out on a view of Center City skyline. The kitchen is upgraded with extra cabinetry/pantry space, Electrolux appliances & a center island/breakfast bar. Living room has gas fireplace with custom back splash & glass sliding doors completed by a conveniently placed powder room. Second floor leads to a sunny master suite with plenty of custom closet space & sliding glass doors to a Juliet balcony featuring yet another view of the city and a luxuriously appointed master bathroom with over sized shower, whirlpool tub, & double vanity. An additional suite is situated on this floor with bay window reflecting brilliant sunlight. Climb stairs to a breath taking roof deck with unparalleled views of the center city skyline. The lower level is finished with cork floors & serves as a media/game room, gym or office. Additional features include 3rd floor laundry, custom floating oak staircase & dual zoned HVAC. House has just been freshly painted. Walk several blocks to Rittenhouse Square and Center City.

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Frank L. DeFazio
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS
530 Walnut Street, Suite 260
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.521.1623  Direct
610.636.4364 Cellular
888.308.1148  Fax

PA License # RS299840

Click Here to get your home’s value instantly!

Click Here for 100% free access to search for homes on the MLS!

Over 48 Million in 2014 sales!


2015, 2014 “America’s Best Real Estate Agents” a prestigious national award by Real Trends, Trulia and Zillow recognized in the Wall Street Journal

2015, 2014 PREA 100 – Top 100 Real Estate Agents at BHHS Fox & Roach Nationally

2015, 2014 Best of Trulia Top Agent Award
Chairman’s Circle Diamond – Top ½% of Fox & Roach Agents – 2013, 2014, 2015
Philadelphia Magazine top real estate agent – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


Just Listed: 1541 Montrose St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

November 30th, 2015 Frank L. DeFazio Comments Off on Just Listed: 1541 Montrose St, Philadelphia, PA 19146


Just Listed:  $385,000

Prepare to fall in love with this bright and airy home in the heart of Graduate Hospital. Located on a quiet street, this home was totally renovated in 2007 and features abundant natural light, an open floor plan ideal for entertaining, and hardwood floors throughout. Enter into the wide open living room/dining room with a working gas fireplace. The modern kitchen boasts granite countertops,  a breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, a pantry, ample cabinet space and access to large patio perfect for grilling and al fresco dining. A convenient powder room is tucked away beside the kitchen. The second floor contains 2 bedrooms and a beautiful marble bathroom with jacuzzi tub. Through the rear bedroom, you can access a deck ideal for an evening cocktail. The fully finished basement is a cozy retreat with wall to wall carpet. Just a stone’s throw from Rittenhouse Square, it is conveniently located near public transportation, I-76, cafes, parks, shops, and all the excitement Center City has to offer.

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Frank L. DeFazio, Esq.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS

530 Walnut Street, Suite 260

Philadelphia, PA 19106

215.521.1623  Direct

610.636.4364 Cellular

888.308.1148  Fax

PA License # RS299840

Click Here to get your home’s value instantly!

Click Here for 100% free access to search for homes on the MLS!

Over 48 Million in 2014 sales!


2015, 2014 “America’s Best Real Estate Agents” a prestigious national award by Real Trends, Trulia and Zillow recognized in the Wall Street Journal

2015, 2014 PREA 100 – Top 100 Real Estate Agents at BHHS Fox & Roach Nationally

2015, 2014 Best of Trulia Top Agent Award


Chairman’s Circle Diamond – Top ½% of Fox & Roach Agents – 2013, 2014, 2015

Philadelphia Magazine top real estate agent – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


“Creed” Soars in Philadelphia

November 30th, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on “Creed” Soars in Philadelphia

What did you get up to during the long holiday weekend, Philadelphia? Hopefully you ate a lot of turkey, caught up with family and friends, and did some Black Friday shopping for your holiday gifts. A lot of you also took time out of your busy schedules to go and see “Creed,” the latest film in the “Rocky” series! The film swept in an outstanding $42.6 million at the box office over the four-day weekend. Much of that income came from Philadelphia, where the film was over-indexing by 72 percent!


The Rocky statue still draws attention. This weekend, “Creed” drew plenty as well.

Philadelphia’s love affair with Rocky is a strong one. The city boasts a statue of the fictional boxer, which was created for “Rocky III” and donated to Philadelphia by Sylvester Stallone himself. Today, the Art Museum steps are still famous for the training runs Rocky takes when he bounds up them during the first film. And, of course, the film series – including “Creed” – have all been shot at least in part in Philadelphia, bringing plenty of hometown flair to the silver screen.

When the list of the top-ten grossing movie theaters for a particular movie are announced, they are generally dominated by theaters in New York and Los Angeles. For “Creed,” two of the five best-performing theaters in the country were right in the Philadelphia area: AMC Neshaminy and the AMC Cherry Hill. A third Philly theater, Regal Riverview Plaza, appeared on the top ten list.

It is not unusual for films to do well in the cities where they are set, say experts. Variety points out that “Spotlight” and “Black Mass,” two recent films set in Boston, both grossed highly there.

Just Sold: 714 S Hicks St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

November 25th, 2015 Frank L. DeFazio Comments Off on Just Sold: 714 S Hicks St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

714 S Hicks St

Just Sold: $507,500

Another Solomon Pascal, completely new spectacular gut-rehab from top to bottom in the hottest neighborhood in the city, Graduate Hospital!! This spacious home features 3 bedrooms, 2 and 1/2 handsome, designer bathrooms and gorgeous, gleaming hardwood flooring thru out. Amenities include all new windows, plumbing, electrical, roof, central air and more! Enter into a spacious living room followed by a formal dining room with custom wood work and moldings and a Gorgeous ultra, chef’s kitchen with granite countertops, 42″ solid wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a breakfast bar island and a modern glass back splash. There is also a powder room on this floor and a rear entrance to a huge, fenced in yard. The second floor boasts 2 large bedrooms with closets galore, a beautiful ceramic tile bath with double sinks and designer tile + a closet with stackable washer/dryer. The third floor contains the master suite with a walk in closet, massive, sumptuous bathroom and double french doors leading to a front deck with city views. The basement is clean with storage space and utilities. The owners/ developers are seasoned and have thought of everything, they offer a builders warranty, a ten year tax abatement!


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Philadelphia News Briefs: 11/25/15

November 25th, 2015 Shannon O'Donnell Comments Off on Philadelphia News Briefs: 11/25/15

1.) The newest attraction in Center City offers panoramic, sky-high views of Philadelphia spread out all around you. One Liberty Observation Deck sweeps visitors 883 feet off the ground, 57 floors above Market Street and 16th. What can you see from that far up? Early visitors report seeing Wilmington and Trenton, as well as the cooling towers at Limerick, which are 37 miles away. General Manager Evan Evans says that the birds-eye view is especially spectacular at sunset and at nighttime, when the city is all lit up. He says you really begin to appreciate “the architecture, how the city was drawn out, what the Parkway looks like at night.” The Observation Deck is set to open on Saturday. It will be open every day of the year from 10 AM until 10 PM. Tickets are $14 for kids 11 and under and $19 for adults.


A bust of Benjamin Franklin adorns the One Liberty Observation Deck. Photo: Ian Bush/KYW

2.) Black Friday and the start of the Christmas shopping season are upon us, but indicators seem to show that Philadelphians won’t be hitting their wallets quite so hard this holiday season. National numbers show spending increasing by 12.5 percent this holiday season, but Philly is bucking the trend. Bill Park, retail specialist at Deloitte, reports: “National consumers are going to spend, on average, $1,462, compared to Philadelphia folks at $1249.” That’s about $200 less. Deloitte, which does a holiday spending survey every year, found that Philadelphians especially love a bargain, which might contribute to the lower numbers.

3.) The Biotechnology Industry Organization annual international convention will return to Philadelphia in 2019, bringing with it thousands of scientists and researchers. The BIO convention was held in Philly earlier this year. The return visit is thanks to the work of The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, which Christopher P. Molineaux, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, said made an outstanding case for the event returning to Philly. The BIO convention was previously held in Philadelphia in 1996 and 2005.