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Philly Tidbits

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HughE Around Town: Banana Republic Exits CC Location, What’s Next; Wedding Reveal; Wanda Sykes Spotted

I kinda had dinner with @iamwandasykes Wanda Sykes and Alex Sykes @iamalexsykes @spicefinchphilly on Friday night.
At first I wasn’t going to sneak a photo as Alex Sykes and I follow each other on Instagram and it’s kinda like breaking the “4th wall knowing each other”, but like that snake parable story, I stayed true to my “paparazzo” self and grabbed a sneak shot.
After I finished dinner, I did say a quick hi to them both before I left, and I didn’t ask for a photo. Just a quick hey, it’s me, and it’s you and I love your Instagram posts. I totally told them about my trip to Florida, as they just got back as well. They asked how mom was doing. Hey mom!!
TONIGHT: Wanda is participating in ABC’s “Roll Up Your Sleeves” on Sunday, April 18 at 7PM. Thanks Wanda!! You all must follow their Instagram, they are so loving, and so hysterical. During dinner they ate across from each other, but when they had dessert they sat next to each other, which is when I got this shot from where I was sitting at the bar.
Hey bud!! Spring has sprung, the blooming trees have blanketed the landscape and people are emerging from their hibernation, safely with their masks on. So much happening around town as well and I’m excited to share it with you. Then get out and enjoy the beautiful day and each other.

The big story this week is the Banana Republic at 1401 Walnut Street is closing on June 9th, and the big going out of business sale. After I posted this on Social Media a few readers found out that the landlord decided not to renew the long time clothing store, could it have something to do with their parent company GAP not paying rent in 2020 at many of their Simon Mall locations around the country, which they settled with undisclosed details a few months later. But this location is not a mall, and it is not connected to Simon.

Thanks so much to Jay Farrell who left a message on my FB page with the updated info about the property.
The Zoning Permit. Looks like a bank could take over half the space, and a clothing store takes the otherside.

The Good News: The Banana Republic Factory Store (discount) remains open 1911 Chestnut St. and since the retailer was pushed out of the space, I wouldn’t be surprised if Banana Republic doesn’t resurface somewhere on Walnut St.

Another Story I posted earlier this week on my Instagram
Yeah finally announced!!! @federaldonuts is opening on the Parkway. As you know I got a tour in February of the new Pearl Properties apartment building The Terrace on 18th Street, and was filled in on this tidbit as well as more to come. (The fast-casual doughnut shop will occupy 1,500+ square feet on the ground floor of The Terrace. The Terrace location will have the most seating of any Federal Donuts location, including an expansive raised outdoor patio)
Pearl Properties and Federal Donuts are excited to announce that a brand-new location for Federal Donuts is coming to The Terrace on 18th at 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Philadelphia’s iconic donut and fried chicken specialists will open their tenth location at the newest residence on Parkway.

Bummer Fairmounters Fine Wines is closing on Fairmount Avenue, and unfortunately you have to head about a 1/2 mile south to get your spirits at the new Fine Wines store at The Granary (1901 Callowhill St,) near the Target store. Neighbors on Next Door are hoping the post office next door will expand, or maybe they’ll take down the ugly building and build a more attractive one with retail. One could only hope.

Like spotting an unicorn, I saw a bride reveal her dress to her groom on Saturday at Fairmount Park. It was magical, people in the park were as excited as I was. PS Some of you folk who subscribe to PhillyChitChat and receive this post in your email will have to click on the Instagram link to see the video. The rest of you should be able to just hit play (BTW you later folks, could you subscribe to the blog in the upper left hand corner. Turns out the Feed burner subscription I used over a decade ago is about to be non existent. I could transfer the 15ks of your emails to the new subscription by hand, or you could just re subscribe which would be so much easier. Remember to verify your email after plugging it in to the subscription box. Thanks!!

The photographer (on left) Allie Wynands, tells me that yesterday was just a small service for an intimate group of guests, which took place at the Gazebo. Photos were taken, and a legal marriage took place. BUT the big wedding, with many more guests and celebration will be taking place next year in April, after the Covid19 pandemic is over, down the shore. Check out Allie’s Instagram page tomorrow for more photos from today’s ceremony.

Charity Speaking:
The Andalusia Foundation’s Virtual Wine Auction fundraising event, which is set to begin tonight at 6 p.m. and closes on Saturday, April 24 at 10 p.m. This silent auction features some incredibly rare and extraordinary wine lots, wine-related items and a special dinner or lunch at Andalusia’s Cottage. Anyone interested in participating can do so from any location thanks to the auction’s virtual format this year!

To preview the auction lots and participate in the online, visit:

WineAuction2021.givesmart.com or text WineAuction2021 to 76278

All proceeds benefit The Andalusia Foundation’s mission to preserve, maintain and interpret this National Historic Landmark for the public to enjoy today and for generations to come. They have beautiful gardens, and great bird watching.

During a virtual membership meeting and ceremony, The Saturday Club, one of the oldest women’s non-profit organizations in both Pennsylvania and nationwide, awarded grant funding to three local organizations with aligned missions. Annual philanthropy grants were presented to Cradle of HopeFamilies Forward Philadelphia and Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center. The funds, which were raised by the club through virtual and in-person community fundraisers throughout 2020 and 2021, will be used to establish and enhance programs while providing key assistance to each organization. 

Save The Date:
The Philadelphia Film Society Presents

FEATURING A POST-SCREENING Q&A WITH MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, PARKER POSEY & RICHARD LINKLATER
Stars Matthew McConaughey and Parker Posey will join Linklater and host Jack Black – recorded via Zoom – for a look back at a film that captured the look and the sounds of an entire generation.

DAZED AND CONFUSED + VIRTUAL CAST REUNION
RICHARD LINKLATER | USA | 1993 | 103 MIN | R
April 20 | 8:15 PM | PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard TICKETS

8TH ANNUAL OSCARS PARTY & SCREENING
Sunday, April 25, 2021
At Cira Green | Philadelphia’s Park in the Sky | 129 South 30th Street

VIP Ticket with 6:30 PM VIP Reception | $200 (PFS Members $175)
General Admission with 7:00 PM Entry | $60 (PFS Members $50)
VIP Virtual Red-Carpet Party, Oscars Trivia Contest, & Gourmet Oscars Watch Box, 7:00 PM | $150 Donation
GA Virtual Red-Carpet Party & Oscars Trivia Contest, 7:00 PM |  $50 Donation
All proceeds from this annual fundraiser support the Philadelphia Film Society’s mission of creating opportunities for diverse communities to experience film through initiatives that inspire, educate, challenge and entertain.

HBO Photos

Speaking of films, the Kate Winslet HBO series filmed in our area last year debuts tonight Mare of Easttown. I was able to stay on top of the filming, but didn’t make it out to the set but about 2 times because of time constraints, as well as locations inside homes, and the studio. Where were the Mare of Easttown filming locations >> mostly in parts of Chester and Delaware counties, in towns including Coatesville, Marcus Hook and Downingtown. But they also filmed at Girard College in Fairmount, as well as Wissahickon Valley Park.

The 800 block of North 2100 Street is blooming right now. ChitChat with you tomorrow. I love doing these around town with Hughe posts. I know I always say I plan to do more, but I definitely will. I’m scouring your SM, reading press releases and will be filling you in here. Fill free to send me info as well and I will try and mention it here.
Thanks for your support, and thanks for saying hi when we’re out and about.

Remember if you receive an email where you have to click on a link to get to the blog, re subscribe at the top left with your email as the other service ends in July. Thanks HughE

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1700 Block of Walnut Street Buildings Demolished

The 1700 block of Walnut Street May 2020

As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the country’s shutdown, and the opening of the country, I noticed businesses, the City and people are planning to move forward as soon as it’s safely possible. I took a walk around town earlier this week and noticed so much life, actively and a sense of relief that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Google Screen Shot of the buildings that housed McDonald’s, Vans/Ferbers and Doc Martens

On May 30 these historic designated buildings at 1706, 1708 and 1710 Walnut Street were destroyed by arsonists.

The fire burned through the night into the next day, gutting the McDonald’s Vans/Ferbers and Doc Martens, where the fire originated.
Stopping short of decimating the Wells Fargo on the first floor and CODA night club on the 2nd floor.

Last summer I wrote about hearing a rumor where these three buildings, and maybe the Wells Fargo building at 1712 would be razed (it was not). Then these dumpsters showed up in the fall and it seemed imminent. Yesterday I walked by and saw that indeed the buildings were razed, everything but the first floor facades, which makes me so happy they saved these historic details of the federal style buildings, which were built in the 1800s.

UPDATE: Howard B Haas: At 4 PM yesterday, the facades were gone from the 2 western buildings, rubble. I expect the McDonalds facade will be gone today.

The lots are owned by three different people. I wonder if they’ll get together and build a high rise, or rebuild a low rise as it was previously.

Looking forward … (After writing this while looking up the history of the properties I found this
great article by Inga Saffron, Philly Inquirer you should read as well.)

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EM Race Vine Venture, LLC, Breaks Ground For Apartments Next to Cathedral

Shot from the new 18th on Terrace apartment building in February 2021

In 2016 I first wrote the story about the the plan for building housing units as it was presented to my condo building which is also on the Parkway (here).

In 2019, the Archdiocese selected EM Race Vine Venture, LLC as the master developer for the redevelopment of the Cathedral Block. In September 2019, the parties entered into a Master Development Agreement. On November 23, 2020, the Archdiocese entered into a 99-year ground lease agreement with the Master Developer. (Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)
(Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

CATHEDRAL PLACE – PHASE 1

The roughly four-acre block located in center city between 17th and 18th streets and between Race and Vine streets overlooks the city’s main locus of arts and culture, Logan Circle and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which hosted visits by St. John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Francis in 2015.

The building will be twenty-three stories containing 273 apartment units, 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail, and include 18 underground parking spaces.

CATHEDRAL PLACE – PHASE 1 at 17th and Race Streets (Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

Financial terms of the agreement on the Cathedral Block Project with master developer EM Race Vine Venture were not disclosed in an announcement Nov. 23. (Catholic Philly) EM Race Vine Venture was incorporated in Delaware in August 2019 and selected as the lead partner for the project on Sept. 27 of that year.
Chicago-based firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz has been selected as the lead architect for phase one of the project.

(Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)
For more in-depth info and renderings head here

According to KYWNews “Proceeds from the project will be directed to the compensation fund for victims of clergy abuse.”