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The History of Fishtown, Philadelphia

The Rich History of Fishtown

Fishtown’s Early Days

The history of Fishtown begins on the water. Fishtown sits within the triangle created by the Delaware River, Frankford Ave. and York St., just three miles northeast of Center City. With such an authentic vibe, it’s hard to imagine this neighborhood has worn so many masks. Before Fishtown was a hotbed for beer connoisseurs and yogis, it was indeed a fish town.

In the 1700s the town adopted its deserved name from early settlers who were mostly English and German fishermen. The bounty of shad fish living in the Delaware River prompted these settlers to buy out the Leni-Lenape tribe for their land and grow roots. Over the next century, five families from the original colonists bought or leased plots along the shore. By 1875, these families controlled both sides of the 100-mile stretch of river. These working-class fishermen set the tone for the community for centuries to come.


Industrialization was the leading force of Fishtown’s economy. Industries ranging from textiles to shipbuilding to electrical power plants made Fishtown the quintessential spot to find work and take up residence in the early 1900s. It was not until after the Great Depression and WW2 that the Fishtown and the city of Philadelphia has a whole, found themselves in a deindustrialization crisis. Deindustrialization is the process of social and economic change, which is due to the reduction in industrial capacity.

Without the means for industrial growth, the job opportunities ran out, and the early settlers headed for the suburbs. Those who stayed only did so because they could not afford the transition. Soon, Fishtown became one of Philadelphia’s most undesirable places to live.  For the last 30 years, the once prospering neighborhood has been littered with vacant buildings and infested with crime.

Until now.

Fishtown’s Revitalization

Today, more than half of the residents in Fishtown now work in professional occupations, up almost ⅔ from two decades ago, according to a 2016 report from Pew Charitable Trusts. This means that the previously working-class filled community now has a more educated population. Progress follows education.

Fishtown has made a miraculous comeback physical as well. The streets are clean and the walls are painted. The transformation spurred from higher-income creatives who saw potential and took advantage of the affordable properties. Progressive millennials and baby-boomers alike entered the community and replaced old businesses with new ones.

Today, Fishtown is home to some of the city’s hippest residents, restaurants and recreation.  

Frankford Avenue quickly rose as the new retail and social hub of the community. It is boasting coffee shops and  wine clubs, foodie favorites like taco,http restaurants and even a Lululemon. Not to mention Johnny Brenda’s, the all-encompassing bar that serves locally brewed beer and farm fresh meals until 1 a.m while showcasing live music.

Few neighborhoods have gone through changes as dramatic as Fishtown. The water-front settlement turned crime-ridden community is now a snapshot of Philadelphia’s best.

Predicting Philadelphia’s Future

Far too often, the City Of Brotherly Love is an overlooked gem in the Northeastern Megalopolis. It is the 2nd largest city on the Eastern Seaboard, the 5th largest city in the United States. For Philly, the last 5 years have been huge in terms of development.

Despite ominous predictions of nationwide housing market slowdowns in 2019, it seems that Philadelphia is one of the cities that will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. Read on to learn why.

Rising Interest Rates

In the past three years, 30-year mortgage interest rates have boomed from three percent to five percent. Through 2019 alone, experts predict that these rates could rise multiple percentage points. This is bad news for any prospective home buyers on a modest budget, but good news for sellers who are looking to squeeze the most out of their home’s value.

This slight boost is a far cry from the early 1980s when mortgage rates hit their peak at 18.1%. Experts predict a bump to 5.8% by the end of the year, which isn’t quite as drastic as past rate hikes, but it’s still a steady climb which anyone interested in the Philly housing market should watch out for.

Cooling Housing Markets

Through both fiscal quarters of mid-2018, home values in Philly appreciated zero percent, meaning that no significant value gains or losses were made in home costs. By comparison, home values experienced a significant 12 percent post-Recession rise from the 4th Quarter of 2016 through the 4th Quarter of 2017, indicating that present real estate values are moving toward a slowdown. However, home values in Philadelphia’s surrounding suburbs experienced a 2.2% uptick. Whether or not this rise is indicative of a continual pattern remains to be seen. Once again, this is a sign that while the local market looks murky and iffy for home buyers, it does appear to be trending toward a bright future for home sellers.

Stabilizing Rent Costs

With all the economic pressures that come with buying, maintaining, and selling a home in the greater Philadelphia, it seems that apartment living spaces or rental homes would experience an unprecedented rise in demand. While that is true to an extent, it seems that more property developments must be made before rent prices rise up with that demand. Since last year, nearly 4,000 apartment properties have been declared “in progress” according to a 2018 report, as more and more ongoing projects concurrent with city revitalization efforts are coming into fruition.

Granted, certain rental prices appear to be on the rise, but these sporadic spikes may just be a side effect of the increase in rental properties and concessions. This leveled out market means that it’s a better time than ever for renters to get in now, and when demanding renters finally meet the supply of these new residential spaces, their subsequent prices will level out, without any unexpected fluctuations.

Slowing Construction

Post-pecession unit growth has escalated higher than it ever has, but like mortgage rates, it still hasn’t ascended anywhere near it’s pre-2000 peak. And, like other real estate market trends, experts foresee this construction slowing down, for better or worse, even whilst the city invests hundreds of millions into multiple revitalization efforts. While these efforts have by and large wrought provable success stories such as Harrowgate, Fishtown, or one of many redeveloped neighborhoods to blow up in the city as of late, the construction industry is still burdened under the weight of increasing material costs and increasingly shortchanged labor to implement those materials into their construction works.


In conclusion, the Philadelphia real estate market, though facing many slowdowns like the national real estate market, is not being totally hastened by these slowdowns; remember that slowdowns aren’t necessarily synonymous with stagnation. As a matter of fact, the door is opened wider than ever for more and more renters to meet the demands of the burgeoning rental market, and new luxury developments aside, it doesn’t seem that any massive rent upticks will be a concern anytime soon.

We are proud to work with some of the foremost developments in these rental ventures, including the renowned J-Street Lofts: visit our Residential Properties Page for more information and in-depth listings.

Open House & Property Showcase

At GM Holdings, we manage some of the finest affordable luxury properties in Philadelphia. Whether you’re an investor, an entrepreneur striving to get their business off the ground, or a renter simply looking for a fresh, exciting start, we have spaces available that are perfect for your needs.

You can start on our managed properties pages for our residential and commercial rental listings. On Sunday, June 2nd, you can visit our office and see those properties for yourself! From 12-4 P.M. at 2209 N American St., we will be holding our first ever Open House and Property Showcase! Whether you’re looking for a new office or an affordable, luxury apartment, this is a great opportunity to view some of these incredible spaces firsthand. From Kensington to the luxurious J-Street Lofts in Harrowgate, to Fishtown and other neighborhoods, this is a city brimming with excitement and promise, and we would love to have you be a part of it!

As well as having some of Philadelphia finest commercial and residential properties on display, we will also be serving food and beer. We hope to see you there!

What Is The Next Philly Neighborhood To Blow Up?

Normally, when people speak of booming revitalization in Philly, they typically focus the spotlight on Fishtown as a shining example of its success, and for very good reason. However, the recent success in Fishtown has left some wondering; what is the next big revitalized Philly neighborhood to blow up? There’s more than one answer to that question, but to learn more about all of them, read on below.


Out of all the examples of how Philadelphia neighborhoods can blend as diverse, beautiful, harmonious, and thriving cultural melting points, Olney is perhaps amongst the best of the best. Residents and tourists alike don’t have to venture far to find eateries with authentic cuisine tastes from Mexico, Jamaica, Korea, Colombia, and elsewhere. The numbers don’t lie either; as of 2015, approximately 35% of Olney residents were born outside the United States.

North 5th Street has built a reputation for itself as an incredible hotspot for immigrant entrepreneurs to shine, strive, and move closer toward realizing their own American dreams. Along with small businesses, the neighborhood has been home to several community centers for people to find common ground, connections, and solidarity. To top it off, for as low as $750 a month for renting a single bedroom residence, it’s a remarkably affordable option for those who want city life without some of the higher city prices.  


The name harkens back to none other than the 19th and 20th Century breweries that dominated local business in this area, but while there’s still plenty of good, noteworthy craft beer places like Rybrew in the area, they’re far from the only noteworthy thing in the area. For starters, with SEPTA all over the area, Center City a mere 15 minute drive (or 25 minute walk) away, and the Art Museum, Fairmount Park, and Philly all in walking distance, it’s remarkably easy to get around. It wouldn’t be a new Fishtown contender without overwhelming food options, retail options, and dozens of new developments arising in such a short time, most notably, the 31 Brewerytown Luxury Apartments. Yes, there’s plenty of good eats to compliment Brewerytown’s good drinks, and with rents as low as $475 or $635 a month, you don’t need to shell out a lot to get in on the action.


For over 200 years, Harrowgate has prospered as a lively, diverse, and promising community, and it’s only looking to be on the up and up. Moreover, given that it’s situated only a few blocks from the Tioga El Subway station, residents are privileged with an easy, convenient throughline to the rest of the city. Like the other neighborhoods, Harrowgate has started to become a great epicenter of authentic multicultural foods and Vietnamese coffee, though revitalization efforts have really shined through on the residential front: one of the most prolific complexes to lead this neighborhood real estate resurgence has been George Manosis’ J-Street Lofts, offering luxury city living at affordable rates. If you wish to seek further information about the J Street Lofts, please visit our Residential Properties page for more in-depth listings. If you have any more general inquiries, please visit our Contact Page and fill out the form for a prompt consultation. No matter which neighborhood you decide to call home in the end, happy hunting!

What To Look For When Choosing A New Office

Trying to get a new startup or small business off the ground as an entrepreneur can be a stressful process. You’ll also need to find an adequate location to start or grow your company. A great workspace will make a pivotal first impression on your employees and clients, and given that the typical commercial lease lasts for 3-5 years, you’ll also need to consider a location that meets both your present and future needs before you make any commitments.

At GM Holdings, we aim to make the leasing process easy and to help you find the perfect office space. If you are an entrepreneur in the Greater Philadelphia area, we have an entire page devoted to our commercial properties for rent. For further assistance in searching for an office space, you can fill out our Contact Form or call our offices at 215-987-6477. Regardless of where you’re based, here are some factors to consider when looking for any new office space.  


To offer an effective workspace for your employees, you’ll want it to be based in a location that they feel comfortable going to and from. Consider factors such as the region’s safety and security, transit/transportation accessibility, as well as the things surrounding the office itself. Supplying enough parking spaces is crucial, and having plenty of dining or fitness center options during lunch break, or bars and nightclubs to spice things up after work, go a long way to make the work week feel less like a monotonous cycle for your clients, employees, and yourself.

If you’d rather opt for a cheaper, suburban office space with fewer means of public transit, make sure that the lighter lease is worth the tradeoff of fewer clients and employees who may not be willing to drive. Even with the luxury of remote work facetime, in-person meetings can still be a crucial facet of building a sense of rapport between you and your associates.


This one’s a tricky tightrope to walk. Set too low of a budget and you risk having an office that is insufficient in size and quality. Spend too far outside your comfortable budget zone, and you risk being unable to keep up the rent and other business expenses. Before you even think about putting your John Hancock on that lease, always account for the FULL cost of what you’re getting, including rent, utilities, construction, moving costs, and some of the less overt, more unwritten costs such as parking or maintenance.

Consider if you can afford at least the initial security deposit and first three months of rent. To ensure that you’re truly getting the best deal for your buck, always consider the prices for similar spaces in the area.


As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you allot 70 square feet of workspace per person. Depending on your staff’s other needs, such as the size of meeting spots, break rooms, or any additional storage or desk space, you may want to bolster that square footage.

To maintain inclusivity, you also want to ensure that your landlord’s office space is compliant and up to snuff to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Doors to office suites must be at least 32 inches wide, take fewer than five pounds of force to open, and that all conference tables span 27 inches or higher to accommodate wheelchair accessibility. For a more comprehensive, helpful overview on all of the ADA’s compliance standards, view their official employer checklist here.


Before you commit, always ask the landlord or property manager for an ISP speed test, and if the space is a shared complex for other businesses, don’t be afraid to ask around about their prior experiences with the infrastructure.

Printed documents and traditional mailed paper materials may hold less priority or importance in the modern age, but nevertheless, any sort of postal services are still an added plus to keep your workflow moving. Always ask if the property has a dedicated postal address, and beyond communication infrastructure, you’ll also want to consider if a space will allow you any freedom over customizing your physical infrastructure. Hung paintings, pictures, or wall decorations may not be a vital necessity quite like the other priorities to look forward to, but nevertheless, it can still be a useful tenant of bolstering company branding and making your business stand out.

J Street Lofts: Apartments For Rent In Harrowgate

If you’ve followed recent real estate development in Philadelphia, you’ll see exciting reinvestment and revitalization underway in many neighborhoods throughout the city. One recent pioneer in this regard has been Kensington developer George Manosis, whose J-Street Lofts have been reinventing the luxury apartment market in the neighborhood of Harrowgate.

Perhaps unfairly characterized as an underprivileged neighborhood, Harrowgate’s reputation has recently been reinvented to a diverse, thriving, and increasingly safe community for Philadelphians who are looking for luxury city living at a more affordable cost.

At the forefront of this prosperity, of course, has been our own J Street Loft complex: with 64 (soon 88) units for rent, these lofts are a perfect combination industrial style and modernity. Each unit offers renters incredible space at an incredible value, with a 980-1400 square foot range, a ceiling at least 12 feet high, and a remarkable 32 feet height in the bi-level units.

Newer HVAC ductwork coexists in seamless tandem with resilient brick, pillar, and pipe systems that still run in tip-top shape to this day. Depending on the space, bedroom, or unit type you’re looking for, rent will generally run either $1400-$2400 a month, and with that lease, tenants will also be afforded access to one secure parking space in a gated lot, convenient nearby access to the Tioga subway station, an outdoor courtyard, a spacious lobby area, a fitness center, and a dog walk area. Though the complex is pet-friendly, pet policies may vary across units based on weight, breeds, or number of pets: refer to the lease agreement paperwork, or contact the leasing agent for more information.

For more information about our J Street properties for rent, you can visit our Residential Properties for comprehensive, in-depth listings of each open unit. If you have any further inquiries, you can shoot them over toward our Contact Form, or call our office at 215-425-4475.

Apartments in Harrowgate

Apartments in Harrowgate

The History of Harrowgate

Since 1784, Harrowgate has been one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The neighborhood was pioneered by American Revolutionary George Esterly, who discovered that the area was a hotbed of clean, fresh spring water.

From there, Esterly established a lively, serene spa with beautiful spring gardens, overnight housing, concerts, food, coach transit, and more. Unfortunately, the spring was approximated to dry up sometime around 1800, but the future for the neighborhood has never been brighter. Now more than ever, Harrowgate is thriving as a diverse and promising community for luxury housing at affordable rates, with an 8% lower cost of living than Pennsylvania’s average, as well as the common national average.

Apartments for Rent in Harrowgate

Like many Philly neighborhoods before it, Harrowgate is the latest previously underappreciated gem to undergo revitalization, reform, and reinvestment. One of the most prominent examples of this can be found in our very own J-Street Lofts. Our owner George Manosis developed these properties to offer tenants, spacious, luxury city living at affordable, monthly $1400 rates. Alongside a 980-1400 square foot, multi-level living space, the complex offers tenants pet-friendly living, a secure, gated parking spot, a lobby, and fitness center, free of charge. In addition, the neighborhood has carried Esterly’s favorability of public transportation into the 21st century, being a mere convenient block from the Tioga el subway train station.

View of the kitchen / dining room at J Street loft's apartment unit 204 in Harrowgate Philadelphia

If you have any questions about our Harrowgate apartments, you can visit our Residential Properties page for more in-depth listings, as well as our Contact Page for any further inquiries. To reach our team directly, please call (215) 425-4475.

1 Bedroom Apartments Available in Philly – April 2019

Top 1 Bedroom Apartments Available this Month

3450 J St Philadelphia PA 19134, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Rent: $1,700/month

1 bed, 1.5 bath

Description: This beautiful 1 bedroom apartment is located in walking distance to the train within a gated community. Enjoy a spacious bedroom, with a full bathroom overlooking a large living room with a bar style counter top and a half bath in the hallway. The property also comes with private parking, gym, common outdoor and indoor areas for entertaining guest, and 24-hour security and surveillance of the property and the gated parking lot. All locks at the property are electronic so you will never have to worry about being locked out!

3450 J St – # 110, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Rent: $1,900/month

1 bed, 1.5 bath

Description: This beautiful multi-level unit comes fully loaded with all necessary appliances including a washer and dryer. The first level has your kitchen and living space with a half bathroom. The second floor has your bedroom with large closet space and a very large bathroom with a rain-forest shower. The third floor is a nice office/den space that could be used for personal work or storage. This unit is in a gated community that includes 24-hour security and a parking lot that you will be given access to. You will also have access to a gym inside the building with a signed lease. The building also comes equipped with an electronic lock system that will prevent you from ever being locked out.

1822 E Glenwood Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Rent: $1,950/month

1 bed, 1.5 bath

Description: This beautiful spacious 1 bedroom apartment is located in walking distance to the train in a gated community. The huge master bedroom comes equipped with 2 large closets with shelving and a full bathroom. There is a half bath in the very spacious living room that is connected to a large kitchen area with a bar style counter. The unit has two entrances, one street side and one towards the gated parking lot. The property is always under 24 hour security and surveillance including the gated parking lot and outdoor common area for your comfort. Every lease comes with one parking spot in the lot with additional street parking around the property.

1822 E Glenwood, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Rent: $1,600/month

1 bed, 1.5 bath

Description: This gorgeous 1 bedroom apartment is located in walking distance to the train in a gated community. Enjoy a spacious bedroom with a full bath and large closet space. There is a large living room which is connected to your full kitchen that has a bar style counter top. There is a large gated common outdoor area for all tenants to use as they please. Each lease comes with a parking spot in the gated lot for your convenience. All properties are under 24 hour security and surveillance for your comfort and safety.

Best Neighborhoods In Philly To Rent In

There’s no question that Philadelphia is a city rife with culture, good eats, and things to do. For those who want to live in a big city without the expensive price tag, there’s no question that The City Of Brotherly Love is the city for you. With roughly 10 city blocks per mile and 2,180 miles of city streets, that leaves a lot of neighborhood to choose from, and more than enough to make for a difficult decision.

No matter how familiar you are with Philly, we don’t want you to feel intimidated by all the options that are out there. We’re aware that moving can be an overwhelming, stressful process, which is why we’ve done the least we can do by providing you a guide to the best rental neighborhoods in the area. Whether you’re a recent graduate or are looking for a change of scenery, here’s what you should know.

Fox Chase

For those who feel a little torn between whether they’d rather dip their toes into urban or suburban living, Fox Chase is a great, truly underrated compromise. A happy medium junction between farmland, townier neighborhoods, and easy SEPTA transit access to the city, Fox Chase offers a little bit of everything for its residents at an extremely affordable median monthly rent ($770 as of Spring 2018, per Zumper).

To top it off, if you’re nearby Fox Chase, you’ll be nearby highly-rated schools, a 42% lower crime rate than the national average. For renters on a tight budget seeking a diverse taste of what the Philadelphia area has to offer, they can’t go wrong with Fox Chase.


With hilly streets, hip eateries and bars, as well as close proximity to the new Schuylkill River Trail, Manayunk brings some sweet San Francisco flavor to the East Coast. It’s not the cheapest neighborhood in the area, with a $1,200+ median rent, but it’s one of the safest (with a 73% lower crime rate than Philly’s average), one with a great education system, and one where, with a densely packed Main Street, you’ll never get bored. With dozens of shops, restaurants, clubs, and galleries, one road alone will be more than enough to satisfy the fill of your daytime routine and nightlife alike.

Chestnut Hill

With lush, beautiful greenery, scenic parks, and more museums than anywhere else in Philly, the Garden District just about more than lives up to its nickname. At a 45% higher safety rating than the general national average and a $1400 month median rent, it’s well worth the price tag to live in a historic hub that blends nature and city living.

If you want to immerse yourself in some of the city’s shops, galleries, boutiques, and more, Germantown Avenue is packed with ten blocks worth of them. Or, if you want to immerse yourself specifically in cheese, there’s an entire store devoted to that. If you want to immerse yourself in the creme de la creme of the Garden District’s gardens and nature, then the Morris Arboretum is the way to go.


This neighborhood earned its namesake from the industry it was formerly a major epicenter for fishing by the Delaware. Even if you’re a renter who isn’t exactly crazy about seafood, Fishtown has a lot more to offer. In recent years, the city has bloomed into a wonderfully diverse intersection of hip art, food, and culture, the new, the unique, and truly experimental. If you want to try your hand at the sport of ax-throwing, visit a uniquely urban farm, or check out the city’s first legal medical cannabis dispensary, then Fishtown is the neighborhood to go.

It’s a tad on the pricier side for renters, with a $1,575+ monthly median is somewhat on the more expensive side, but it’s hard to deny its reputation as the city’s budding center for excitement, food, drink and a fresh new Philly feel.

Things To Do In Northeast Philly

If you’re looking for hidden gems in Philly, Northeast Philadelphia is complete with more than enough sports, sightseeing, amusements, and restaurants to experience. Whether you’re a renter, buyer, or just visiting, you won’t want to miss out on paying a visit to the Northeast. Read on to learn more about some truly incredible experiences and opportunities in the area that you won’t find anywhere else.


If being acrobatic is your thing, check out the SkyZone for some trampoline and dodgeball fun, but if you’d prefer to fly a little higher than that, you’re welcome to visit Sky River Helicopters for some flight training. Practice your aim down the ten pins at Thunderbird Lanes, but if you’re down to practice your aim with something a little more precise and pointed, there’s always the Pistol People range or Bury The Hatchet axe-throwing, which can both be found a little further north in Bensalem. You can also purvey the Rolling Thunder Skating Center if you want a little action on the ice, but if your heart’s set on something a little more mysterious and adventurous, you could also come in (and try to find your way out of) a Trapped PHL escape room.


As the nation’s first capital city, it’s a given that you’ll find a bottomless wellspring of history in Philadelphia, no matter which neighborhood you’re in. If you want a lift through the city’s highlights, CultureTour, Starr Tours, Guided Tour Site, and other similar companies are here to help. If on foot sightseeing is more your speed, you can always stroll by the Grand Army of the Republic Museum, the Historical Society of Tacony for a little history lesson. If you’d rather experience something a bit different, you can pay a visit to the Insectarium and Butterfly Pavillion, open 9-5 on Frankford Avenue.

If you’re looking to do a little shopping or need a bite to eat, check out Philadelphia Mills mall, with over 200 stores, restaurants, and 1,776,000 square feet of space for you to shop, eat, drink, and play at your own leisure. Whether you need a quick fix of Joe, basic grocery odds and ends, that new guitar discount from Sam Ash, or a night out on the town to catch the latest films to grace theaters, then the Philadelphia Mills is the epicenter for all of these things and more.

Food in Northeast Philly

There’s no question that Philly is a city brimming with food options, whether it becheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Italian water ice, hoagies, or crab fries. The Northeast is no exception; if you’re craving Italian, garden variety pizza, sports bars, or steakhouses, Northeast Philly has them. If you want incredible food with an incredible riverfront view along the Delaware, peruse the vast menus of Three Monkeys’ or Maggie’s Waterfront Cafe and grab a bite.

If you don’t feel like braving the Center City traffic over to Fogo De Chao, the Northeast has its own incredible Brazilian steakhouse in the form of Picanha Grill. Come by the Dining Car or the Mayfair Diner for some breakfast comfort food. If you’re still clamoring for more in the evening, you can’t get takeout any more authentic than China Gourmet.

For a more comprehensive listing on all of the above (and more) things to do in Northeast Philly, we highly recommend that you read this guide from YellowPages.

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