Archive for February, 2010

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

A Great Way to Kick the Winter Blues!

The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show is Coming to the Convention Center this Weekend!

2010After getting hit by our third snow storm this winter, we cannot help but look out the window and long to see flowers in bloom, green grass, and feel the lovely warm air. But as the groundhog re-enforced on Groundhog day, we still have a few more weeks of winter.  There is relief for those starving for the scents and sights of spring:  The Philadelphia International Flower Show.

The show will be here from Sunday, February 28th through Sunday, March 7th and will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center – 12th & Arch Streets Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Flower Show garden display exhibitors undertake the art of forcing trees, shrubs and perennials into bloom for the Show, using temperature and lighting controls to “fool” plants into full bloom in time for the event. All proceeds from the Philadelphia International Flower Show, including tickets and sponsorship contributions, support The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and its acclaimed urban greening program, Philadelphia Green.



Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

RE/MAX Access Welcomes Alexis Ortiz!

We are proud to announce that Alexis Ortiz recently joined RE/MAX Access.



Alexis Ortiz is a seasoned full time real estate agent and Public Notary with over seven years experience.  In 2003 Alexis joined Nick’s Real Estate and within 2 years was the top sales agent and maintained that status for 2 consecutive years.

In 2007, he was offered an opportunity from a New York Broker to open a real estate office in the Philadelphia market, Philadelphia Real Estate Company, and for the past 2 ½ years ran the firm.

Throughout his real estate career, Alexis has learned so much from his beginning days of working with first time home buyers and helping them achieve their ultimate goal of becoming a home owner despite any challenges to running a firm and learning all aspects of the real estate business.

Alexis now looks forward to putting all that knowledge and experience to work with Remax Access.  Along with being a dedicated full time real estate agent, Alexis is the proud father of his 7 year old son and is confident that with his sales, his team player approach and his outlook on life that great things will happen.

We are growing our market share rapidly and are ahead of the curve in technology and innovation and we are proud that Alexis chose RE/MAX Access.

Please welcome Alexis to RE/MAX Access! If you are thinking of buying or selling in the Philadelphia area be sure to contact Alexis at

Originally posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog


Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Start Living Greener Today! Simple Steps to a Greener Home

go20green20copyMaking your home more environmentally friendly isnt just good for the Earth, it could also save you money!

Drafty Windows and Doors: Keep the blustery cold air outdoors by stopping drafts at windows and doors. Also, before you leave your house for the day, close the drapes over the windows. As the blustery, chilly air blows outside, the drapes will help minimize the amount of cold air that seeps inside.

Fireplaces: Make sure the damper on your fireplace is completely closed. Keeping a damper open all winter is like having a small window open. Burrrr!

Refrigerator: Keep in mind that refrigerators run 24-7, and account for about 25 percent of a household’s energy use. To ensure your fridge is working efficiently, do the “dollar test.” Close the fridge’s door onto a dollar bill and check to see how much effort it takes for you to pull it out. If it comes out easily, the seal isn’t tight enough: It’s leaking cold air and needs to be fixed

Dishwashers: Believe it or not, using your dishwasher is a greener choice than washing by hand because you use less water.

Cleaning: Germs be gone! When you need to disinfect a kitchen or bathroom countertop of germs and bacteria, don’t reach for toxic, chlorine bleach. Instead, consider rubbing alcohol. It kills germs and evaporates quickly.

Home Offices: Your computer is a real energy hog, so be sure to remove the screen saver. When the flying toasters are running across the screen, your machine is still working at full power. Instead, put your PC on sleep mode. Just hit a key to “wake up” the computer




Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Blatstein to Break Ground on The Shops at Schmidts Today !

schmidts21Tower Investments will break ground on a 100,000-square-foot retail center called The Shops at Schmidts at 2nd Street and Girard Avenue in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. We are fortunate enough to get a “front row seat” of this amazing transformation from our office located on the 5th floor of the Rialto. This view will have a completely new look by the end of the year.

Featuring the neighborhood’s first 50,000+ square-foot supermarket [Pathmark], an additional 50,000 square feet of street-level retail outlets and a bi-level parking garage, The Shops at Schmidts will be a retail anchor for the neighborhood as well as Bart Blatstein‘s other two developments in the area, Liberties Walk and The Piazza at Schmidts. In addition to The Shops, Blatstein also plans to develop The Residences at Schmidts, 600 new residential units in three separate buildings surrounding a lushly landscaped one-acre park.Tower will begin work on that in a year.

Blatstein hopes the development will cement the neighborhood’s status as one of the most successful examples of urban renewal in the country.

Ground will be broken today at 3:30PM and the project is scheduled to be completed late this year.


Sunday, February 14th, 2010



Where better to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend than the City of Brotherly Love? 

After shoveling out your car and treading through mountains of snow this week, you and your “better half” are going to need some good Valentine relief. Here are some ideas in or around Philadelphia for Valentines Day weekend.

Many resturaunts in Philadelphia feature a special Valentines Day Menu for couples:

Bar Ferdinand @ 1030 N. 2nd Street. Chef Michael Thomas has created a romantic brunch menu and dinner menu. Guests will also enjoy live Flamenco Performances. For reservations, call 215-923-1313.

Chifa  @ 707 Chestnut Street.Sample Chef Garces’ tempting tasting menu combining the flavors and ingredients of both Asian and Latin cuisines with the choice of a $55, $65 or $75 tasting menu. For reservations, call 215-925-5555.

Fork @ 306 Market Street. Chef Feury will offer guests a $70 three-course menu. For reservations, call 215-625-9425.

London Grill @ 2301 Fairmount Avenue. Indulge in a $22.22 brunch buffet including the “Make Your Own” Bloody-Mary Barserved from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. For dinner, in addition to their a la carte menu, Chef Michael McNally will serve a $50 four-course menu, beginning with a passion-inspired cocktail. For reservations, call (215) 978-4545

Noble American Cookery @ 2025 Sansom Street. In addition to their a la carte menu, Chef Brinn Sinnott has created a special $55 four-course menu including a glass of sparkling wine and a dessert course. For reservations, call (215) 568-7000.

Supper@ 926 South Street will host their annual Sweetheart’s Pajama Brunchfeaturing their full brunch menu from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Guests dining in their pajamas will receive a Free Mimosa and Complimentary Banana Beignets. For dinner, in addition to the a la carte menu, the restaurant will offer a $68 Lover’s Prix Fixe four-course menu. For reservations, call (215) 592-8180.

For those who wish to venture outside of the romantic restaurant for Valentines Day, here are a few ideas:

Wine & Chocolate Reserve Tastings – On Saturdays and Sundays in February, Chaddsford Winery hosts a sit-down tasting of Chaddsford premium bottles complemented perfectly with an array of goodies from West Chester’s gourmet chocolatier.

Lovin’ on the Wild Side @ The Philadelphia Zoo  -Twosomes can compare their romance to that of other species during Lovin’ on the Wild Side, an up-close-and-personal tour of the Philadelphia Zoo that probes the mating behaviors of everything from tigers to tortoises. Brunch and champagne are served between some of the voyeuristic peeks.

Sweetheart Skate– On February 14th, the Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn’s Landing will be hosting Sweetheart Skate. Ladies will receive a red flower before skating hand in hand to popular love songs with their honeys.

Love – Fashion – Murder – @ Top Hat located at 247 Market Street. On Sunday, February 14 from 8 p.m.-2 a.m., join stylists Rene Quick (Lakshmi Hair Studio) and Jason Hallman (Art + Science Salon) for Love-Fashion-Murder, a theatrical fashion performance.

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Where 3 Neighborhoods Collide-Northern Liberties, Old Kensington, and Fishtown

The Girard El Stop is an interesting intersection where 3 emerging neighborhoods come together like pieces to a puzzle. These 3 subdivisions are: Fishtown (19125), Old Kensington (19122), and Northern Liberties (19123). All three of these neighborhoods have become a Philadelphia Real Estate hot spot, the target location for many new businesses, and a renewed interest in businesses that have been there forever.

blog1There are several hundreds of commuters who pick up the Trolley at this Stop in addition to the El. The Photo above is a view South on Front Street looking at the Northern Liberties side of the tracks so to speak.

The Trolley below follows the entire Girard Avenue Corridor and part of Richmond Street. The El is above. It is the huge metal structure in the photo.

blog2If you take the back route to Northern Liberties, you can see what we call the scenic view. A little gritty, a little industrial, and a little surprise that makes us smile and know we are close to home.

Ready to search for properties in one of these emerging neighborhoods? Search for Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and Old Kensington properties today.



Originally Posted on The Somers Blog

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

1 Bedroom Condo Unit for Sale in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia 3 Story Contemporary/Chic Condo w/ an Open Layout Hardwoods and Fireplace

1 Bedroom Condo Unit for Sale in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia

Call The Somers 215-400-2620, RE/MAX Access, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia

1027-31 N 4th Street, Unit L a-1027-n-4th-l-kitchen

Welcome to this bright contemporary Courtyard Condominium development located in the heart of Northern Liberties. Walk to your favorite coffee shop, cafe, or restaurant. The Piazza and Liberties Walk are a stone’s throw from this chic 3 story 1 bedroom condo unit for sale in Northern Liberties.

Enter through the gated courtyard with communal brick patio outdoor space to the 1st floor private entrance to your unit. The second floor has an open layout with a modern kitchen that features:

  • cherry wood cabinets
  • pristine granite counters
  • stainless appliances
  • hardwood flooring throughout

Photo Gallery


d-1027-n-4th-livingroomThe living room has a romantic gas fireplace with plenty of room for your flat screen and comfy furniture. There is a half bath off of the living room.

Step out on to the terrace of this 1 bedroom condo unit for sale in Northern Liberties and enjoy overlooking the beautiful courtyard. The third floor has a spacious bedroom with skylight, slider glass door with Juliette Balcony, a full master bath, washer and dryer.


All baths have a contemporary Euro-style vanities and beautiful Italian tiles.

There is a tax abatement along with low condo fees.

Discover more about Life in Northern Liberties and Things happening in Northern Liberties

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog






Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Another Short Success Story…

It’s hard to understand why companies spend incredibly large amounts of money of advertising.

Who can name 3 mp3 players BESIDES an iPod? We all remember the silhouettes dancing with their headphones on. Why? Because we’ve seen it 1,000 times. Through repetition, you begin to associate things with each other. It’s just like riding a bike. It gets burned into your memory.

Establishing a name and brand is what it’s all about. Case in point, I sent out “Just Listed” cards on Thursday. By Monday morning I had a voice mail from a distressed seller. He began to fall behind on mortgage payments and desperately needed to downgrade. He had previously worked with another local Realtor, but was very unhappy with his results. That listing expired 6 months ago and his FOR SALE sign was still at the house! 


The cards were the catalyst that sparked this meeting, but it was my face that got me the listing. The owner actually recognized my picture on the card from showing this property during its last listing period, twice. This guy appreciated how I treated my other clients and wanted that same quality service.

Through repetition, I became the face of real estate to this guy. He saw that I worked hard and trusted me to do the same for him.

I now have a new, excited client eager to sell his home.


Ryan Schaffer

RE/MAX Access

o: 215.400.2600     c: 267.226.1924     f: 215.400.2650

Specializing in all your Philadelphia Real Estate needs!

Originally Posted on Active Rain via Ryan Schaffer  and courtesy given to repost.


Saturday, February 6th, 2010

10 Cities Where It’s Smarter to Buy

Philadelphia Makes the List!

thinking1For people who want to own a home, the premium to buy-the spread between what they’d spend to rent and what they’d pay for a mortgage-is much lower than the 15-year average in many cities.

To determine what cities are smart buys, Forbes magazine computed the premium and also identified locales where economists predict home prices will go up the most over the next five years.


Here are the top 10 cities the magazine chose as the best places to buy right now.

  1. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.
  2. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.
  3. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.
  4. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
  5. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo
  6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.
  7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.
  8. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.
  9. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
  10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V.

Source: Forbes, Francesca Levy (01/21/2010)

Friday, February 5th, 2010

The Darling’s Diner Story: The Cheesecake was Born

The thing that makes a local restaurant so special is their story. Darling’s Diner and Famous Cheesecakes, located at N. 2nd and Germantown Avenue, at the Piazza in Northern Liberties is a great restaurant and has a great story. Ryan and Kara in the photograph (below) are an illustration in a simple snapshot of how Darling’s serves up a delicious meal and a delightful atmosphere every day. The decor is a mash-up of Silk City meets Stephen Starr. But atmosphere and good food do not create themselves. So, we decided to find out what the story was behind all of Darling’s good stuff, especially the cheesecake.

Harry Arnold admits he was born to be in the restaurant business. Thinking back at all of the years he had spent in the food service industry as a busboy, a server, a bartender, and reminiscing about pushing around his fair share of dessert carts, Harry happily admitted, “I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else!” Harry is the co-owner of Darling’s Diner and Famous Cheesecakes. As we sat chatting in his diner over a piece of his insanely world-rocking chocolate mousse, Harry’s confessions continued. “I had never cooked a thing in my life, but then one day I decided I wanted to try my hand at it.”

The very first dish Harry ever tried to cook was cheesecake. By the fourth try, his chef friends knew he was on to something. “They really liked it!” As a waiter, in the back kitchens of Chickie and Pete’s in South Philly, a restaurant that banned all desserts, he was turning his coworkers onto his secret cheesecake concoction. They loved his delicious recipes. Harry’s friends and anyone who had the good fortune to taste one of his cakes wanted more. The more people tasted, the more they got hooked on his perfectly created recipes. Harry began to realize that he too was hooked. “I was addicted to the feeling I got when people said they loved my cooking.” And so it was, Harry’s career was born.

Darlings Diner

Breakfast at Darling’s…retro grub for the modern set

Many people encouraged Harry to open a restaurant but his brother John was the man, the “pillar”, who really stepped up to the plate as a business partner and investor. The two men opened a tiny 6 seat cafe with a chalkboard menu at 20th and Pine Streets in Philadelphia and within the first year of business they received the Best of Philly Award for desserts. A year later they opened a second store behind the Franklin Institute just off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on 21st Street.

Business was cooking for a couple of years, though it was not always a sweet ride for Harry and John. Their big plans to move to a third location went sour when the stock market crashed and burned. John was devastated and Harry was in shock. But you know what they say, when one oven door closes, another opens and pretty soon they were planning the menus and hiring the staff for Darling’s new location at the Piazza in Northern Liberties.

If you have not been to Darling’s Diner yet, STOP what you are doing RIGHT NOW and go there! We mean it! What are you waiting for? We will see you there soon!

Darling’s Diner at the Piazza is located at 1033 N. 2nd Street in Northern Liberties. For more info, visit their website at

darlings cheesecake

Have you met Darling’s chocolate cheesecake?

Originally Posted on The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog