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  1. #1
    buckwild is offline Junior Member
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    Default What Old City needs?

    As a long time resident in Old City, I get frustrated with the lack of development in the last 5-7 years while neighborhoods around us continue to bring in new businesses and restaurants. The OCCA has defended the growth of OC with their new businesses list, but in my opinion, it's pretty lacking compared to other neighborhoods(Nolibs, Grad. Hos, Rittenhouse...). There has been a lot of shuffling going on and we're not much better off than where we were 5-7 years ago. I think real estate prices in OC have been fairly weak in relation to other neighborhoods and it's a reflection of it's lack of progress.
    Instead of ripping the OCCA which may/may not be(probably is) behind the lack of progress, I'd like to hear what other neighbors think would greatly improve the neighborhood. Here are my 2 cents.

    1. 2-3 more low key breakfast/lunch places. My beef here is that OC has a couple super low end places (Mrs.K, Old City Pizza, Soho, Euro Wrap) and some great restaurants (Contin., Amada, Budda...) but it's lacking quality low-mid range places. Wedge and Fig, and Cafe Ole are good, but we need several more. I was crushed when Wrap Shack left us years ago(sorry EuroWrap/Fries, but you don't come close). Farmicia and Continental are great, but 2 choices isn't enough for a great neighborhood. I think a Honey's, Green Eggs Cafe type place would kill it here.

    2. Less bars below Market and more restaurants above. The separation has killed OC south of market and the lack of development north of market is keeping it from developing properly. The section of OC above the bridge is too far/ detached from the neighborhood. A few good restaurants/bars up there would totally turn things around.

    3. More flexibility on development in the neighborhood. I'm glad to see Lite-Bite being filled in, but the anti-development mindset around here is crazy. For example, the 205 Race St project is still facing heat from the neighborhood. That place they designed is incredible. I can't frikin believe they might kill that project. I've heard all kinds of stories about people trying to get stuff done- restaurants, bakeries, hotels, condo... all shot down or faced too much heat from the neighborhood. I know one guy personally on the OCCA who is a real ass^&*(, and I'm not surprised nothing gets approved based on dealing with him. As a side note, neighborhood meetings shouldn't be during regular work hours.

    Give me your top 3 things that need to change or things the neighborhood needs.

  2. #2
    ScottBudman is offline Senior Member
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    Just how long have you lived in Old City ?

    Do you remember what the prior 7 years was like ? Most growth in the city and there is no way to keep that type of momentum going.

    After reading your post I noticed the word retail doesn't exist. Am I right ? That's one of the problems right there.

    A quick look around the forum, a few blogs and the OCCA page I found the following improvements in the last 5 to 7 years and some that for some reason never materialized.

    York Square Lofts, The Essex Condos, CU257 Condos, Lite Bite building construction, 222 Vine Business Co-op, Race Street Pier, Fringe Festival Building, 401 Race (approved, no financing), Condo conversion across from the mint, The National Condos (phase 1), The National (Phase 2) (approved, no financing), Trenton Pottery buildings conversion (approved, no financing), Drug rehab on Arch condo conversion, All the Rapport building conversions on Front street, Arden Theater expansion I'm sure there's many more. FYI these are all north of Market Street,

    Also don't forget about the nice new Montco Hotel which by the way has a fantastic breakfast in the Red Owl Tavern

    Just how many restaurant/bars are there north of Market ?
    Last edited by ScottBudman; 01-29-2013 at 03:39 PM.

  3. #3
    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    You can get a reasonable breakfast at fork etc.. I haven't had old city pizza in ages, but never had a problem with the breakfast there. Like Budman said, Red Owl is great.

    I'd love a diner in old city as well-but it's just not going to happen. Even my dearest friends that own morning spots say 'there's no money in breakfast', and they basically make money off coffee and brought-in bakery items.

    Old City has a great asset in the amount of hidden offices and design studios around that bring in an influx of workers-but these workers live off of coffee and not 7 layer cream cheese french toast as sold at the various great spots you mentioned. And those great spots are not going to move into a high rent area when people come to them.

    As for more restaurants north of market? That won't happen without a liquor license-and that's not going to happen, either.

  4. #4
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    supersupper is offline Appetizer
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    #1-
    What Francisville has going up;

    A cool grocery-restaurant in the works
    _________

    We've had several "diners" here before the neighborhood took off. SnowWhite being the most recent to get bought out and scrapped is the price of upward mobility. Anyway theres not much difference between a Mrs K's and SnowWhite, and K's always has seats available. Its where I go now (though I do miss Mary from Snow White alot).

    Supply and demand baby.

    OC will never be what alot of people fantasize it should be- primarily because its sort of a small cul-de-sac bordered by the wasteland that is Vine Street/Spring Garden (you'll be dead before that changes) and Delaware Ave / I-95 (you mightnot be dead before that changes, but probably you will be), and the nature of the Mall on the west side (N E V E R going to change). The "retail" here will always be boutique-ish for that reason, and the cull-de-sac nature of this area is one reason I personally don't think the idea of tall high-rises packing 'em in would be such a good thing. (and that has nothing to do with being anti-development or whatever- I would love that we could be more like SOHO but its simply not possible ).
    Last edited by supersupper; 01-29-2013 at 07:29 PM.
    SooooooooooooooooPER ........................ SL O WD O WN

  5. #5
    3rd&Brown is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottBudman
    York Square Lofts, The Essex Condos, CU257 Condos, Lite Bite building construction, 222 Vine Business Co-op, Race Street Pier, Fringe Festival Building, 401 Race (approved, no financing), Condo conversion across from the mint, The National Condos (phase 1), The National (Phase 2) (approved, no financing), Trenton Pottery buildings conversion (approved, no financing), Drug rehab on Arch condo conversion, All the Rapport building conversions on Front street, Arden Theater expansion I'm sure there's many more. FYI these are all north of Market Street
    I wonder how many of these projects the OCCA opposed before taking credit for them.

    I lived on Elfreth's Alley for a short time about ten years ago. OCCA opposed the National Development for years, which partly explains why the eastern portion remained undeveloped.

    The main problem with the OCCA is two fold. 1. It's old timers who aspire for the neighborhood to be some replica of Colonial Williamsburg, which NO dynamic urban neighborhoods are and 2. It holds it's meeting in the cloak of darkness during the work day when the only people who would likely lend a voice of reason to their obstinance can't attend because they have, well, real jobs.

  6. #6
    buckwild is offline Junior Member
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    Response to Budman- Moved here in 2000. I'm all for more retail, although I think that's one of the brighter points the neighborhood has to offer already. We've got a ****load of furniture and used/hipster clothes shops, which are pretty cool. I'd take more of them versus empty storefronts, but I'd like to see more variety.
    Some of the buildings you mentioned are legit and they fall into the 7 year window but certainly at the tail end. 2006 is 7 years ago now.
    National-2006-pretty long time ago.
    257 N 2nd-2006ish while ago.
    Essex-Better than nothing, but nothing to brag about.
    Race St Pier-great project, love it.
    TCP-still a dump.
    205 Race-still a dump. OCCA opposition
    Pincus(4-5,Race)-still a dump. OCCA/neighborhood? opposition.
    Arden is just replacing a lighting store, but I guess thats minor improvement.
    Hotel Monaco is awesome, agree.

    The restaurant scene(and bar) north of Market is pretty sparce. But really, my main complaint is the lack of good, inexpensive places in all of OC. OCP grill is a dump, food is fine, atmosphere sucks. Same with Mrs. K's. It was the same with Snow White. Like I siad before, Wedge and Fig and Cafe Ole' have good charm. But is that it for a neighborhood with such a creative background? No salad or burrito place with charm, no Thai food. How about a DiBruno's type place or legit supermarket with a good prepared food section? I'm glad they approved Snow White's conversion, but I heard they went through massive headache dealing with OCCA for that rooftop. We should be begging people to bring in restaurants with rooftop dining.

    Lucidinnature-There are great diners opening everywhere. Sabrinas has opened different locations, the diner in the Piazza is good and has great atmosphere. Same with Green Eggs Cafe. Le Pain Cotidien(?) is newer and really good. Marathon's are great, I heard OCCA shot one down. It seems to me people are still opening cool diners, they just seem to avoid OC. I have to assume part of it is dealing with the headaches of the OCCA and the current(maybe old) zoning rules. Am I wrong? Don't we have enough people living here now to support some creative lower priced restaurants?

  7. #7
    MNG1324 is offline Senior Member
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    It's too bad they can't get some good lower priced places in the food court at the Bourse. Basically that place is just used as a place to pee for lost tourists.

  8. #8
    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckwild View Post
    Lucidinnature-There are great diners opening everywhere. Sabrinas has opened different locations, the diner in the Piazza is good and has great atmosphere. Same with Green Eggs Cafe. Le Pain Cotidien(?) is newer and really good. Marathon's are great, I heard OCCA shot one down. It seems to me people are still opening cool diners, they just seem to avoid OC. I have to assume part of it is dealing with the headaches of the OCCA and the current(maybe old) zoning rules. Am I wrong? Don't we have enough people living here now to support some creative lower priced restaurants?
    As with most people, your interpretation of low priced restaurant is merely to suit your benefit-and that's not how business works.

    Marathon is getting rid of businesses rather than building them. Low priced is Old City Pizza, but obviously that doesn't have enough hipster groove for thee, and fork etc. is fairly priced but may bee too smuggish for ye.

    4th Street Cafe is cool as hell but I guess that is too close to the lurid void you previously spoke of.

    So, I say build your own. When you fail, come back and I'll tell you why. Toodles!

  9. #9
    ScottBudman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucidinnature View Post
    As with most people, your interpretation of low priced restaurant is merely to suit your benefit-and that's not how business works.

    Marathon is getting rid of businesses rather than building them. Low priced is Old City Pizza, but obviously that doesn't have enough hipster groove for thee, and fork etc. is fairly priced but may bee too smuggish for ye.

    4th Street Cafe is cool as hell but I guess that is too close to the lurid void you previously spoke of.

    So, I say build your own. When you fail, come back and I'll tell you why. Toodles!
    I'm sorry buckwild but after reading your post I came to the same conclusion. Maybe it wasn't your intention to come off that way but that's what it seems like to me.

  10. #10
    NickleDimer is offline Senior Member
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    Old City could use a craft beer and crab restaurant/bar.

  11. #11
    ScottBudman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickleDimer View Post
    Old City could use a craft beer and crab restaurant/bar.
    LOL

    The old Bookbinders would be a good location this time.

  12. #12
    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottBudman View Post
    LOL

    The old Bookbinders would be a good location this time.
    They could just do what south street used to do with cellphone shops-cellphone store goes out of business, they just slap a sticker with a new name and start selling cellphones again. And then fail. Then the next group comes in selling cellphones. Then fail.

    Maybe the craft and claw will become the claw and craft?!

  13. #13
    ScottBudman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucidinnature View Post
    They could just do what south street used to do with cellphone shops-cellphone store goes out of business, they just slap a sticker with a new name and start selling cellphones again. And then fail. Then the next group comes in selling cellphones. Then fail.

    Maybe the craft and claw will become the claw and craft?!
    Just combine the two and get it over with.


  14. #14
    lucidinnature is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottbudman View Post
    just combine the two and get it over with.

    hahahaha!

  15. #15
    buckwild is offline Junior Member
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    Old City Pizza definately doesn't have enough groove for me, guilty as charged. Fork etc is cool, just don't think it has as good a menu as some of the other places I listed. Haven't been to 4th street yet, but I'll definately check it out. Maybe there are more than I thought and I'm just a bit bored with them. I'd still like to hear what you guys would like to see in the neighborhood.

  16. #16
    MNG1324 is offline Senior Member
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    I'd like to see Olde English Chambers return to 3rd Street. After all a man has to be tied up, and spanked by a woman in latex every now and again.

  17. #17
    ScottBudman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckwild View Post
    Old City Pizza definately doesn't have enough groove for me, guilty as charged. Fork etc is cool, just don't think it has as good a menu as some of the other places I listed. Haven't been to 4th street yet, but I'll definately check it out. Maybe there are more than I thought and I'm just a bit bored with them. I'd still like to hear what you guys would like to see in the neighborhood.
    Then reopen the Griffin Cafe, the space is still empty.

  18. #18
    qweezyq is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckwild View Post
    Old City Pizza definately doesn't have enough groove for me, guilty as charged. Fork etc is cool, just don't think it has as good a menu as some of the other places I listed. Haven't been to 4th street yet, but I'll definately check it out. Maybe there are more than I thought and I'm just a bit bored with them. I'd still like to hear what you guys would like to see in the neighborhood.
    Used to live right by OCP. Food is horrible and the people there seem to have a bad attitude. I gladly walked the extra block to Gianfrancos. In fact, Gianfranco's on 3rd is superior to any other Gianfranco's I have had in the city.

  19. #19
    NickleDimer is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottBudman View Post
    Just combine the two and get it over with.

    Brilliant. That's why it failed. They needed their own house made crab-beer. You could go two routes: 1) actually brew a beer with crab in it or 2) Add Old Bay to Miller Lite

  20. #20
    MNG1324 is offline Senior Member
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    If you add Old Bay to Miller Lite the people at Chickie and Pete's will sue you.

 

 

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