December 9: $20M overhaul of Dow building | Commemorating Mother Bethel’s burial ground | Synagogue conversion | Point Breeze real estate trends

Welcome to the working week, Streeters. We hope you enjoyed Sunday’s winter wonderland and that Eagles snow bowl. There’s more sleet, freezing rain, slush and snow ahead so be careful out there.

The $20 million overhaul of the Dow Chemical Building on Independence Mall is moving forward. The Business Journal reports that the developer team who purchased the building will build underground parking, an outdoor restaurant, and a “new pedestrian experience” at Sixth and Market streets. Both Dow and the General Services Administration will continue to rent space in the building.

At a meeting Sunday the city was urged to commemorate and implored not to disturb the historic burial ground for Mother Bethel AME Church in its plans for renovating Weccacoe Playground in Queen Village, the Inquirer reports. The playground has sat for 100 years above as many as 5,000 graves that comprised Mother Bethel AME Church’s burial ground. “The archaeological study found evidence of graves as close to the playground surface as two feet. That means nothing, not even a shrub, can go into that ground. Any greenery will have to be placed in planters,” wrote Stephan Salisbury. Congregants and descendents of the interred hope to find a way to honor the memory of those buried on site but those attending Sunday’s meeting did not suggest that the playground be removed or renovations be stopped.

The Fetfatzes family is converting the old synagogue/antique mart at 6th and Kater streets in Bella Vista into 13 apartments and office space. The Fetfatzes also own the Bainbridge Street Barrel House two doors down and the nearby Bella Vista Beer Distributors. Naked Philly has a project update on this story we wrote in July.

The Inquirer took a look at real estate development trends in Point Breeze, driven by affordability, vacancy, federal funds, and proximity to stronger residential markets.

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