Home repair costs in the greater Philadelphia area, a comprehensive look at the Sixers’ proposed arena

Have you put off a home repair project or two because of how expensive it is? You are not the only one.

Last year, all needed home repairs in the Philadelphia area would have cost a total of $3.7 billion.

That’s a lot of money. but it’s a conservative estimate.

The price of everything has been going up, and that includes home repairs, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Unsurprisingly, lower income households are more likely to have recurring repair needs.🔑

Read on for my story on that and look inside a South Jersey “nostalgia hub,” learn why a Doylestown couple gave up their bedroom for their kids, guess how much a Chestnut Hill home sold for, and consider if Philadelphia needs a new Sports field.

📮 Have you had an interesting, good or bad, home repair experience? For a chance to be featured in my newsletter, email me your story.

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—Michael Bond

Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

For this story, I spoke with Deborah Sheard, 65, a West Philadelphia homeowner. She told me that she wanted to stay in the 120-year-old townhouse where she raised her daughter. But the roof was leaking, its walls were damaged, and the bathroom upstairs was collapsing.

Sheard is on a fixed, limited income and could only afford a few Band-Aid repairs that didn’t fix the deepest and most expensive problems.

I’ve written before about how Philadelphia’s affordable housing strategy hinges on repairing existing homes. That’s especially true as construction costs and home prices continue to rise.

Some of the most common repairs needed in our region are leaks, mold, and structural issues, which can be costly.

Read on to learn more about the Philadelphia Fed’s investigation into home repairs, and learn about the money Pennsylvania is giving counties to help residents make fixes.🔑

A proposed Center City stadium for the Sixers would occupy a third of the Fashion District, the struggling mall that replaced another struggling mall, the Gallery.

Supporters of the plan for an 18,000-seat stadium see appeal for sports fans and investment in a ramshackle stretch of East Market Street that is well connected to public transportation.

Philadelphians living in Chinatown, on the edge of the proposed arena, worry that rising rents and property tax bills could force people and businesses to move.

The Sixers plan to spend $1.3 billion on the arena, which they estimate will be empty about 60% of the time. The new space would compete with the Sixers’ current home: the Wells Fargo Center, which is nearing completion with a massive renovation.

Across the country, NBA teams have moved to make more money. If the Sixers owned their own stadium, the team could control the advertising, fancy boxes and fancy restaurants that come with it.

My colleagues Jeff Gammage and Massarah Mikati get into the sports construction boom that has come to Philly and how the Sixers want to follow the trend toward downtown arenas.

The latest news to pay attention to

Fran DiBacco admits she “got a little carried away” with her collection of old magazines. That is an understatement.

Just off I-295 in West Deptford, Gloucester County, is 10,000 square feet of warehouse space that he converted into a museum. He started with magazines, they occupy 5,000 feet of shelves, but his collection has expanded.

The 85-year-old Southwest Philly native calls his space Vintage Magazine Nostalgia Center.

Inside, visitors can find:

  • Life-size cutouts of historical figures and pop culture icons.

  • Rotary telephones and other devices

  • Photographs, posters, banners and advertisements

  • A mix of a classic Jersey diner and a record store

My colleague Kevin Riordan is great at finding quirky and interesting stories. Take a look at DiBacco’s celebration of what the collector calls “the greatest century.”

Jose F. Moreno / Staff Photographer

The Giacalone family has ensured that each member has the perfect space for creativity in their Doylestown Colonial. The parents, Pier and Jennifer, even gave up their bedroom to make it happen.

Sixteen-year-old Rolley has a passion for playing music and needed space for the instruments.

Seventeen year old Ben is an author who needed space to write.

Jennifer, an author working on a script, and Pier, a music producer, both work from home and also needed their own spaces. Pier had to temporarily downsize his business from a 3,000-square-foot recording studio in New Hope to the family’s garage as business slowed during the pandemic.

Find out which famous musician signed a guitar for Pier as a gift, and take a peek inside the family home.

🧠 Trivia time 🧠

A home improvement company is testing security robots in store parking lots in Philadelphia. The 400-pound robots use microphones, cameras and sensors to report to a monitoring team.

Question: Where could you find a robot on a trip to buy garden supplies this spring? This story has the answer.

📷 Photo contest 📷

This 4 bed 2 ½ bath twin in Chestnut Hill was sold a month ago. How much did the newly renovated 1,957-square-foot house cost its new owner? (Fun fact: I’m a twin, and the first time someone told me years ago that “there are a lot of twins in the XYZ neighborhood,” I was excited, then disappointed. No offense to the twin houses.)

📮 Put on your real estate agent hat, make your best estimate of the price and email me your answers.

And have you always dreamed of owning a “party barn” on a Chester County farm? Now is your chance. A three-story farmhouse and separate entertainment space on 8.8 acres just went on the market for over $4.4 million.

Enjoy the photos and the rest of your week.