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Lovely Home in the Catchment Comes With a Major Catch

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The City Block Team has a listing for a beautifully restored Victorian on lovely Hazel Street in University City for $595,000. It has five bedrooms, five and half baths, a front yard, a porch, a backyard, huge kitchen, hardwood floors, high ceiling and a lower level with a separate entrance. In other words, a plum property in the area. The listing, however, includes these words: "in Penn Alexander Catchment." Hmm. Let's see what it's like living in the catchment these days.

Below is a photo taken this morning by Inquirer photographer Charles Fox. The people you see below are not camping out to buy the new iPad or to get tickets to a Grateful Dead-Phish reunion show. They're camping out to get their children into a public school that this year, for the first time, has placed a cap on enrollments.

Staff writer Miriam Hill spoke to parents in line, one of whom told her, "The school was the only reason we bought our house." The same mom said she probably paid an extra $100,000 for her home just so she could be in the catchment. And now her child might not get in.

The Spruce Hill Community Association published an open letter expressing concern about the issue, but having negotiated with Penn, concedes: "There is no easy solution to the over-enrollment problem."

So where does that leave catchment residents who are selling their homes? And what happens to real estate marketing when the catchment is no longer a selling point? Stay tuned...

· Listing: 4635 Hazel Ave. [City Block Team]