Housing Market Update

As many of you know we have spent a lot of time focusing our efforts on Torresdale Avenue, implementing store and streetscape improvements to draw positive attention and development to Tacony. The majority of our organization’s funding structure cannot be used for housing development. We have improved commercial buildings with apartments above (commonly called mixed-use buildings), and buildings on Torresdale Ave are mixed between commercial buildings and homes. Because of this focus some residents have asked us how these projects benefit the entire community.  The following snapshot provides a look into the housing market of Tacony beginning in 2010 when the economy began to recover from the housing crisis. Although there are many factors in play when we look at housing, many of which are outside of our local neighborhood development corporation’s control, this will tell us how conditions are changing outside of Torresdale Ave.

Many homes in Tacony show neighborhood pride.

Many homes in Tacony show neighborhood pride.

To do this analysis we looked at Tacony’s four main census areas to paint a picture of our housing market. When then examined rental rates, home value, building age and occupancy rates to showcase our strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Our data came from the U.S Census’s American Community Survey for the years 2010-2012. We then compared these years or used the 2012 estimate to give a snapshot of the current housing market in Tacony. This article analyzed data for the 19135 zip code to explore other challenges our housing market faces.

Growing Market

Housing in Tacony is improving in several key areas; residential rental rates have increased by $57, rising from $876 dollars in 2010 to $933 in 2012 . This is a modest increase in rent but it tells us people are starting to place a greater value on living in Tacony. Again we see positive trends with actual home owners with our owner occupied housing rate increasing nearly 2% over this time period.  Also encouraging is there are 9401 housing units in Tacony which is a slight increase from 9320 in 2010.  Coupled with this increase in rental rates, owner occupancy, and new homes we find the family size of owner occupied homes and renter occupied homes have both increased, 3% and 5% respectively.  This means new families are moving into our neighborhood. All of these facts point to a housing market that is starting to open its doors to new growth.

Rents in Tacony are growing.

Rents in Tacony are growing.

Challenges

Even with our recent gains Tacony’s housing market still faces some challenges. The most telling one is that our housing stock is old. Only three percent of our houses were built after 1970, while a third of our houses were built before 1939.  The old housing stock may present maintenance challenges for potential owners.  Older homes often require more money to provide proper upkeep for the structure.

But this is not a complete downside. Even though these older buildings may cost more money to repair, older buildings tend have better character and more curb appeal than modern cookie-cutter residential units. It’s why Tacony was recognized as a great opportunity for homeowners by “this Old House” magazine. These homes present a great historic preservation opportunity that can enhance our neighborhood.  Our older housing stock presents some upfront maintenance issues with cost but still is a valuable opportunity.

Historic homes can present maintenance challenges to homeowners.

Historic homes can present maintenance challenges to homeowners.

Homes Within Reach

Despite modestly increasing rents median household value has fluctuated around $119,000 over this three year period. This is a great opportunity. Decreasing vacancy means the market is getting stronger, but Tacony still is highly affordable for potential home owners.         

Median

Foreclosures and Bank-Owned Properties

Tacony was not immune from the foreclosure crisis triggered by the last recession.  This has left lasting impacts on Tacony’s housing market. 289 buildings are in some form of foreclosure in the 19135 zip code meaning it will take some time for these properties to complete the judicial proceedings and sale process. Our CDC has received many calls about vacant and foreclosed properties and have followed up with maintenance servicing companies to hold them accountable for maintaining these properties: ensuring the property is secured, grass is cut, and the buildings are not dangerous. We have partnered with the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Community Life Improvement Program, and Tacony Civic Association.

Housing in Tacony is stabilizing from massive market challenges related to the national recession. While we lag other areas of the city our housing market is improving and will continue to stabilize. We work closely with the Tacony Civic Association and other partners to welcome new residents and continue to grow our neighborhood.

by Christian Regosch

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Philadelphia Gas Works Replaces Gas Mains on Torresdale Ave

The Philadelphia Gas Works is replacing gas mains along a selected section Torresdale Ave. Traffic may be diverted at times around the 6700-6800 blocks of Torresdale Ave to accommodate the gas main replacement. Here is the project information and locations of the work planned by PGW.

Affected Areas:

  • 6700-6800 Torresdale
  • 6700 Van Dike Street
  • 6700-6800 Hegerman Street
  • 6800 Edmund Street
  • 4700-4800 Rawle Street

Project Dates:
Start: Sep 17, 2014
End: Dec 22, 2014
Work Hours: Work Hours: M-F, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for most of the project

This work replaces the utility’s aging gas main system.

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Join us for Tacony Small Business Saturday on November 29th

The Tacony CDC is thrilled to be a Small Business Saturday Champion and part of American Express’s National Small Business Saturday Campaign.  For our small business event the Tacony CDC, under the umbrella of ShopTacony, is organizing a community wide advertising campaign for our businesses that are participating in small business Saturday. Participating merchants will receive free advertisement in the Northeast Times, our social media platforms, as well as other promotional material.  In exchange for our services participating merchants will offer discounts on various products and services on this one day.

Why Shop Small Infographic

What’s being offered?

On Saturday November 29th nearly a dozen businesses are participating in this event, including Bulls Eye Darts, Wellen’s Hosiery, Sportsmaster Bait and Tackle, and Denofa’s Italian Deli. Discounts range from 20% percent off gifts and clothes at FM Mart to $1 CD, Books, DVDs, and PS2 games at Philly Media. For a full list of participating businesses and discounts please visit the event’s ShopTacony page. If you choose to Shop small at one of the participating businesses you may receive a bag full of shop small memorabilia.

Banner_OurNeighborhood

How you can save.

Each store is already offering select discounts on products and services, meaning you save right out of the gate.  But as mentioned earlier this is a part of American Expresses National Shop Small campaign. This means when you shop at a participating business that takes American Express you will receive a ten dollar rebate (up to 30 dollars) for each purchase over 10 ten dollars.  So buy ten pounds of Denofa’s deli products, 20 items at Philly media, get your computer cleaned up at Computer guy and get back 30 dollars. We look forward to seeing you on Torresdale Avenue on November 29th.

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Join Us for a Merchant Breakfast Meet Up: Tuesday, Nov 18th at 9AM at Anthony’s Cafe Espresso

If you are a Tacony merchant or business please join us for a Merchant Breakfast Meet Up Tuesday, Nov 18th at 9AM at Anthony’s Cafe Espresso. Free Coffee and Pastries will be served and we will discuss ways to better work together. Please call or e-mail Alex Balloon, manager at alex@taconycdc.org or 215-501-7799 to reserve your space. The event will take place at Anthony’s Cafe Espresso 4741 Princeton Ave Philadelphia, PA 19135

Tacony Logo

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Tacony Businesses and CDC Win Awards

Last week the Tacony CDC was thrilled that two area stores were recognized by the City’s Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge 2014 for best practices in storefront design. Wellen’s Hosiery won best awning design and FM Mart won the “Simple Storefront” award at the 2014 Storefront Challenge Awards. Both businesses utilized the Commerce Department’s Storefront Improvement Program to financially support these façade improvements. The Tacony CDC assisted both stores with the application, design, and construction process to help achieve maximum impact for dollars spent. These stores are 2 of 15 we’ve helped redesign since 2012 and we hope to improve an additional 11 stores by next fall.

Wellens signature awnings received the "Awesome Awnings" award.

Wellens signature awnings received the “Awesome Awnings” award.

The biggest surprise came when our own Corridor Manager, Alex Balloon, received the Corridor Catalyst award. This award is given to an individual that represents best design and business practices in corridor revitalization. We could not be happier that Alex’s hard work has been recognized by Philadelphia’s redevelopment community.

The project restored the historic signage, added better windows, and a distinctive awning to welcome customers. Better merchandise display was an essential part of the improvement plan.

The project restored the historic signage, added better windows, and a distinctive awning to welcome customers. Better merchandise display was an essential part of the improvement plan.

Check out Wellens, FM Mart, and all the other awesome winners from the 2014 Storefront challenge by reading this article from PlanPhilly.com.

Alex Balloon was honored by the Storefront Challenge with the "Corridor Catalyst" award.

Alex Balloon was honored by the Storefront Challenge with the “Corridor Catalyst” award.

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Tour of the Waste Management Material Recovery Facility (MRF) Here in Tacony

The heyday of the Disston Saw Works here in Tacony has long passed, but there are still local manufacturers here in our neighborhood. We were lucky to tour one at the Philadelphia Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by Waste Management. It’s a local facility located at 5109 Bleigh Ave. The MRF opened in 2010 as a large-scale single stream recycling facility designed to process mixed recyclables. This facility will help Waste Management achieve its corporate long-term goal of processing 20 million tons of recyclables by the year 2020. By moving to a single stream model, Waste Management increases recycling participation by making it easier for households and businesses to recycle. Single-stream recycling allows customers to place all their recyclables (paper, plastic, metals) into one bin and later Waste Management sorts them at the MRF. You can join us on a virtual tour (with better cinematography) here.

Inside the MRF

The MRF processes an amazing 20,000 tons of recyclables a month, is LEED-silver certified, and constructed on a brownfield site at a cost of $20 million. The site employs a number of individuals who live in and around the Tacony neighborhood.

Here’s a diagram of the how the MRF works.

Touring the MRF was an exciting experience. The whizzing conveyor belts, vacuums, machines, and employees made the process seem seamless.

Community Partner

We want to take time again to thank our Tax Credit and Community Partner Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc. Without their support we would be unable to provide our services such as new storefronts, corridor cleaning, small business support, new security initiatives, and other special projects. In addition to their tax partnership with the Tacony CDC Waste Management hosts job fairs and community events through the Tacony and Holmesburg Civic Associations, and supports the Delaware River City Corporation. Join them for a spring cleanup in Pennypack Park.

We also want to give Patty Barthel a special thank-you for an amazing tour of the Philadelphia MRF. For more information visit wm.com

Some Recycling Tips

Here are some great resources that help you be a better recycler.

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Businesses Working Together: Small Projects Make Big Gains

By: Christian Regosch

A big part of community development is getting businesses to collaborate with each other to meet similar needs. Most of our resources are local and local economic development is strongest when we can get businesses working together. We recently helped facilitate a joint project between two of our strongest businesses Jack’s Place Hoagie Shop and Computer Guy.

Computer Guy specializes in all things computers, including hardware, software, and all forms of electronic and social media.  Recently Computer Guy expanded their service offerings to include video boards, viral videos and commercials. At the same time Jack’s Place recently upgraded their interior with a bold new paint scheme and TV monitor in order to showcase their products to patrons while they wait. Unfortunately a video board to showcase these products could cost a business more than $1000 to create and maintain so this idea was cost prohibitive project for Jack’s Place.

Seeing this chance for community collaboration we encouraged Computer Guy to work with Jack’s Place to frame out and create them a custom video board.  Computer Guy delivered Jack’s Place a completed video board at no cost. This project was a win for both parties involved, Jack’s Place will generate more revenue and Computer Guy built up their portfolio.  For our role Jack’s Place has agreed to let the CDC put promotional material about our services on the video board.

Check out the new Video Board at Jack's Place

Check out the new Video Board at Jack’s Place

We would like to thank board member and owner of Computer Guy Scott Degirolamo for providing this service to Jack’s Place.  Computer Guy is located at 6911 Torresdale Avenue and provides professional computer solutions to residential, commercial, and industrial clients.  Please stop into Jack’s Place to check out the new video board and try one of their delicious sandwiches or platters, located at 7167 Hegerman Street.

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Join Us at Fallfest: September 27, 2014 at 10am – 2pm at 6700 Torresdale Ave

Councilman Bobby Henon is organizing FallFest here in Tacony which will take place on September 27th. We expect to have live music, balloon artists, and face painting, free health screenings, food trucks, a farmer’s market and more. Last year’s event was a huge success.

The Tacony CDC will be exhibiting at a table along with other community organizations. This year will include a special opportunity to meet the new police officers assigned to the 15th District. Please call Councilman Henon’s office at 215-683-9220 if you are interested in exhibiting your organization or business.

Be sure to check out the Farmer’s Market that will be a part of this year’s event.

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Americorps Service Members Spruce Up Tacony Library

Americorps service members helped clean up the Tacony Library and plant flowers. AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects over 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health, and homeland security. Please join us in thanking Americorps members for their valuable service to our community.

Americorps Members Trim Bushes and Plant Flowers to Show Neighborhood Pride.

Americorps Members Trim Bushes and Plant Flowers to Show Neighborhood Pride.

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Anthony’s Café Espresso Celebrates a Great Opening Weekend

by: Christian Regosch

After months of anticipation Anthony’s Café Espresso finally opened its doors to the public this past Friday. The lively and festive grand opening featured free samples of coffee and cake, outdoor dining, music, and pastries available for purchase inside the store. Nearly 30 people attended the early afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony including State Representative candidate Mike Driscoll, La Colombe Coffee CEO and TV personality Todd Carmichael, Justine Bolkus of the Office of Business Services, Father Farrell, and Tacony CDC manager Alex Balloon. Before the ribbon cutting ceremony Father Farrell bless the business and its customers, after which Anthony Cancilliere and other key individuals cut the ribbon to officially open the café. Throughout the course of the day residents and visitors from as far away as Fox Chase came to receive a free sample of coffee, relax inside the new store, and mingle. Owner Anthony Cancilliere and his family were on hand, running the event and putting a smile on everyone’s face.

Cutting

Anthony Cacilliere and family, Todd Carmichael, Alex Balloon, Father Farrell, Justine Blokus and Mike Driscoll cutting the ribbon

The excitement spilled over into the weekend. Saturday the café saw a steady flow of traffic throughout the course of the day with people taking in its ambience by relaxing and reading the paper with a nice cup of coffee. On Sunday the café enjoyed extra visibility from the Italian Day Festival being held at Our Lady of Consolation just down the street. Numerous festival attendees stopped in to the café to see what it offers and many loved the Italian flare and food the café provides.

Cafe

Customers enjoying the Café this past Saturday, photo credit Connie Delury via Facebook

Anthony’s Café Espresso will be open every day this week and will offer fresh brewed coffee, sandwiches, baked goods, and a peaceful atmosphere. For more information about Anthony’s Café Espresso routinely check out their website and Facebook page.

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