Curbed takes up where Brownstoner left off

Remember Brownstoner.com?

That Brooklyn-based neighborhood blog with a hip and smart angle on real estate and urban development used Philadelphia as its first trial run outside the boroughs.

It didn’t go well.

It became popular very quickly in Philly, but ultimately it did not work financially. In December 2010, after less than a year, it packed up and left town.

Now, Curbed.com is treading the same path. The website, also originating from New York, has launched localized versions of itself in nine other cities, including San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

“Curbed is all about appreciation for the built environment and neighborhoods,” said founder Lockhart Steele. “We are intrigued by cities where architecture, interesting urban planning, and real neighborhood fabric can be found — and that can be found in Philadelphia.”

Curbed.com and Brownstoner.com tackle similar subjects — Steele even calls the founder of Brownstoner, Jonathan Butler, a friend. Steele said his business model is better suited for transplanting the concept into other cities. He also said he has had is eye on Philadelphia for years.

“The Curbed approach has always been a little more insouciant than Brownstoner,” said Steele. “We want to make the topic of real estate as entertaining as we can. We tell stories more than Brownstoner. Brownstoner is more real estate nuts and bolts. What you find on Curbed is a site that a little livelier.”

Curbed will be written by freelancers and one full-time editor, Liz Spikol, who has years of experience reporting in Philadelphia, mostly for the Philadelphia Weekly. It will also launch a sister site called Eater.com, about local restaurants.

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