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Neighborhood Guide: Spring Garden

This historic and ever evolving neighborhood is ready for its close-up.​

Don’t try to pigeonhole Spring Garden; it’s too varied. It’s neither preciously quaint, like some of the City’s historic neighborhoods, nor aggressively edgy. Spring Garden is rather the reflection of waves of growth and change throughout the years, with corner bars abutting Victorian mansions, and quiet residential streets scant blocks from bustling commercial thoroughfares.

Realtor Mark Bojanowski, Director of the Investment Division of Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty, describes it as “a mix of old and new, large and small,” and says “many of the streets are very attractive in the way that only exists in old cities like Philadelphia, with the layering that takes place over hundreds of years.”

Like many Philadelphia neighborhoods, Spring Garden’s boundaries here are a bit hazy, though perhaps best described as Vine Street to the south, Fairmount Avenue to the north, Pennsylvania Avenue to the west and Broad Street to the east.

As real estate trends in the neighborhood demonstrate, Spring Garden continues to evolve. Bojanowski and his team members, Dennis Carlisle and James Elliott, cite “everything from the rehabilitation of smaller homes, to new housing that runs from carriage houses to substantial modern classics” as evidence of the neighborhood’s vitality. High-end new construction is a particular growth area, they report, such as the million-dollar-plus homes recently built along the 1500 and 1600 blocks of North Street and the western edge of Spring Garden. The area also boasts mid-rise and high-rise buildings, such as Museum Towers, where Tower Two is under construction. “While there is still more to develop in this neighborhood,” they say, “the inventory is shrinking,” driving new development into the Francisville neighborhood north of Fairmount Avenue.

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Locals appreciate Spring Garden’s livability. Lindsay Weiner, a bartender at neighborhood favorite Kelliann’s corner bar, raves about its convenience. “It’s an easy walk to Center City, and the Broad Street (subway) line is right up the street,” making the trek to and from the Sports Complex on what she dubs “The Kelliann’s Express” quick and simple. She also appreciates the access to arts and open space, citing the neighborhood’s proximity to the Art Museum and Kelly Drive.

Bojanowski points out that, “besides being walkable to Center City, there is plenty of infrastructure for the residents...including fine restaurants...along with simpler good venues.” A recent addition is Bar Hygge, named for the Danish concept of “coziness and comfortable conviviality,” a trait it shares with the Spring Garden neighborhood itself.

Bar Hygge co-owner Stew Keener says what drew him and his partners to Spring Garden was the community. “There’s an active community development corporation and civic association, who loved the concept for Bar Hygge and were very supportive. That sense of residents’ involvement is also apparent in the magnificent community garden, which has a two-year waitlist.”

Perhaps most of all, Keener and his partners - who live nearby - liked the idea of making a commitment to their own neighborhood, and pioneering its evolution. “Spring Garden is ripe for growth,” he says. “It’s becoming a lifestyle neighborhood.”

ON THE MARKET

For sale

1518 Mt. Vernon St., #2

$449,000

2 bedrooms, 2 baths

This light-filled townhouse condo is perfect for entertaining. It features a two-level living room with a fireplace, built-in bookshelves and wet bar, and a formal dining room with high ceilings. Gourmets will appreciate the huge eat in kitchen, well-appointed with maple cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, granite counters and large pantry closets. Take the stairs to the lovely roof deck enjoy skyline views from the pergola.

Contact: Mark Bojanowksi, Director, Investment Division, Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty

(215) 735-2225, mbjo@kurfiss.com

For rent

1642-44 Fairmount Avenue

Starting at $3,000 /month

2 beds 2 baths

Want to live in a landmark? The AF Bornot Dye Works Lofts was originally constructed in 1901 as the corporate headquarters for the AF Bornot Brothers Dye Works Company. Luxuriously refurbished, these apartments retain original architectural details - such as 11-foot-plus ceilings - while offering every modern amenity. Kitchens boast stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops, and generously-sized baths have jacuzzi tubs and separate showers. Convenience is key here: the building offers secure parking, and an onsite gym and hot yoga studio; and a bank, home goods store and (coming soon) coffee shop are located on the ground floor.

Contact: afbornotlofts.com

LOCAL HANGS

Alla Spina

Styling itself as “Philly’s own Italian Gastropub,” Alla Spina (literally “from the tap” in Italian) offers 20 local and Italian brews on draft, side by side with signature dishes such as pig head bruschetta and North Philly sausage cheesesteak. The homey lounge is just the spot to kick back on a leather couch and escape the winter chill, or belly up to the bar and catch the game. Come summer though, sidewalk seating offers an ideal vantage for people watching.

1410 Mt.Vernon St.

allaspinaphilly.com

Bar Hygge

Bar Hygge (pronounced HUU-guh) channels the Danish concept of warmth and conviviality through a blend of industrial and shabby-chic decor, coupled with obsession-worthy comfort food. Hygge Boards allow you to sample a selection of light bites, like “crispy Brussels with maple glaze and toasted pecans” or “smoked brisket with Carolina barbeque sauce and horseradish rye slaw.” And beer lovers with appreciate brewer and co-owner Tom Baker’s house-made brews, such as Ethereal Imperial Nitro Double Stout and House of Bitterness IPA.

1720 Fairmount Ave.

barhygge.com

WHAT IT COSTS

$699,000 median sale price for a single-family home

$1,725 per month median rental price for a two-bedroom apartment

$310,000 median sale price for a two-bedroom condo

New in the Neighborhood:

In October, the neighborhood welcomed the new 62,000 square foot Whole Foods flagship, a veritable temple to the fresh, organic and locally-sourced. In addition to the gourmet groceries Whole Foods is known for, you can also dine in one of four in-store luncheonettes run by locally based restaurants, such as Cheu Noodle Bar and Dizengoff. And if the idea of shopping without a good stiff drink overwhelms you, not to worry; Whole Foods features a pub, coffee bar and roving cocktail cart.

2101 Pennsylvania Ave.

wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/phillycentercity

 
 
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