Heart of NoLibs 2-Family 329K


Northern Liberties street scene

283847941NoLibs? WTF is NoLibs? You might well ask. It’s a silly acronym (is there any other kind?) for Northern Liberties, one of the most happening neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Think of it as the Williamsburg of Philly — established enough to be a secure real estate investment, yet still with development potential aplenty.

Just north of Center City — an easy walk or bike ride — the neighborhood is old and historic, with 3-and 4-story row houses in a variety of styles. It dates back to William Penn’s 1680 plan for the city, when the area was carved up into 80-acre plots (“liberty lands”) to be given away as incentive to those who bought 5,000-acre parcels elsewhere in the colony of Pennsylvania.

I own two buildings in Philly and covet more. When I get listings emailed to me, I look at them. Usually I’m not moved to act, or even blog. But this one, left, is a corner building in a prime spot and apparently decent shape. The ask (down recently from 350K) is in line with current market conditions, and the possibility of renting both units and being immediately in the black makes it seem worth a closer look.


data=Ay5GWBeob_WIPLDYoIWcfVXxvZu9XwJ55OX7Ag,vdn7d-fpjAqTDBft27wBVuuLm3uD_HXVRyJO3BEEF8EgwOeamOmJ187hWjVKu-p76vUhawZrKt4vPrhjn_1RMOJ3_WaZVFqIFcrFmF0_There are two apartments: a 700-square-foot one-bedroom on the ground floor, with outdoor space in back, and an upper duplex with a loft-like living space, above, two attic bedrooms, and a deck.

It’s clear that a cardinal rule of real estate sales has been broken here: the listing photos suck. Bad for the seller; not necessarily so for prospective buyers. I’ll be down in Philly next weekend and will take a few of my own. In the meantime, for more lousy-but-better-than-nothing images, go here.

And for an appointment to view this or other Philadelphia properties, I can wholeheartedly recommend Ken Krauter, the broker I used when I bought my house in Old Kensington, one neighborhood over, in 2007: ken.krauter@ziprealty.com, 215/450-0605.

5 thoughts on “Heart of NoLibs 2-Family 329K

  1. I’m reading Jane Jacobs right now on Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square and Franklin Square. She uses Philadelphia’s squares to make some points about parks “The Uses of Neighborhood Parks.” She wrote in 1961. Her the points still ring true to me. I wonder if Philadelphia’s squares – actually their neighborhoods – are doing today.

  2. Incredibly, all five of Philadelphia’s original squares — those laid out by William Penn in the late 17th century on a grid map of the then-brand new city — still exist, mostly in their original forms. Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square are very attractive parks at the centers of upscale neighborhoods; City Hall Square (originally Centre Square) is still there, with the majestic Second Empire-style City Hall, built between 1871 and 1901, on it; Logan Square was remodeled into a circle in the 1920s, now a hub of the museum district. I think only Franklin Square, in the northeast corner of the city, is pretty unrecognizable, a traffic-congested area where the Ben Franklin Bridge and several major roadways intersect. Any Philadelphians out there know more?

  3. Did you read “Life and Death of Great American Cities?” Folks with our shared interests should. Not what I expected. Better. I’m reading it slowly and I’m quite affected. I wonder how these parks’ neighborhoods have evolved since since she wrote about them 1961.

  4. Read about 1/4 of it years ago, Terry. Found that 1/4 fascinating, but never pursued it through to the end. Thanks for reminding me; maybe I’ll pick it up again. I’m a huge admirer of Jane Jacobs (for those who aren’t familiar, it was she who led the fight to establish landmark protection in NYC after the unconscionable destruction of the old Penn Station, and to prevent Robert Moses from running an expressway through SoHo, among many other achievements). I didn’t realize her book discussed Philadelphia as well as New York.

  5. It’s not about Philly per se except as an example about parks.

    That’s what’s getting me: I’m reading the original source rather than what people say about Jane Jacobs or do in her name. Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander (“A Pattern Language”) give me a foundation in words for what’s obvious to our senses: why some places are lovable and safe.

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