Port Richmond’s Shipyard townhouses were just a hole in the ground when Dan and Alexis Hoban realized they’d found their dream home. Already living in the Philadelphia neighborhood, they found the new construction on their favorite street. With plenty of room for the couple, their two children, Alexis’ mother, Donna Wloczuk, and kitty Carter Hart, they eagerly settled in last Halloween.
Port Richmond’s location is perfect for the couple: close to I-95, near the kids’ school, in an affordable, growing community. Other positives include new homes being built, restaurants opening, and young families moving in.
“This neighborhood has been ripe for redevelopment for a long time now, but the land opportunities that were coming available were few and far between,” recalled Dan, 33, a real estate developer. “When we saw what they were going to build, that’s what attracted us.”
“It was different from other new construction,” said Alexis, 32, owner of Odyssey Hair Studio in Center City. “We’re city people. I grew up in Fairmount, and Dan grew up in Fishtown. I’m not one to have grass.”
Signing on early, before framing had begun, meant they could customize the house. They added a fourth bedroom, chose the kitchen, floor and tile finishes, and even selected the color of the home’s exterior. The front of the five houses that make up the Shipyard is a colorful metal bay, meant to evoke shipping containers. The Hobans’ unit was planned to be orange, but they were able to change it to red, their favorite color.
“Red is bold and loud and goes with our personalities,” Dan said.
The couple was attracted to the home’s nautical theme. The front and back doors have porthole windows and the base of the building has a blue band, much like a large industrial freighter.
“The project’s maritime theme is an homage to Port Richmond, which has always been a hub of maritime activity,” said James Bill, a partner on the project with Paiz Construction of Philadelphia. “The nautical imagery is fun and playful.”
The family gets plenty of exercise walking the 70 steps in the four-story home (plus roof deck). The front door enters into the first floor’s den, where family photos fill two custom shelves. Past the den are the dining room and kitchen, with rich espresso wood cabinets and a white quartz island. That’s the heart of the home, where the family loves to entertain. The patio out back stores the kids’ bicycles and a barbecue grill.
Up one flight of stairs, son Jaiden, 8, an avid hockey fan, has a Flyers-themed room, while his sister, Danielle, 5, enjoys her Barbie dream house in pink and white. The children share a full bathroom. Up another flight is the couple’s master suite, with another patio and large white marble bathroom. Oversized windows facing an eastern exposure bring in lots of natural light.
One more flight of stairs leads to the family’s favorite hangout spot, a wet bar leading out to the roof deck with 360-degree views of the city. For now, Dan and Jaiden play hockey there, but once the weather breaks, they have plans for a grill and plenty of seating for guests.
Wloczuk, aka mom-mom, is there to help. Her bedroom and full bathroom in the basement give her privacy, although her grandchildren occasionally sneak downstairs for sleepovers.
“I stopped working to babysit,” she said. “They work a lot, so it’s nice that I can help out and watch my grandchildren grow up. I’m very blessed, and I know it.”
Dan and Alexis were high school sweethearts who met in 2004 at a house party in Fishtown. He was 17, working as an apprentice for his uncle’s contracting company, and she was a 16-year-old sophomore at John W. Hallahan High School. They moved in together in 2006 and married at St. Francis Xavier Church in Farimont in 2013, the same church where Alexis’ mother and grandmother were married.
The close-knit family enjoys sharing special moments together. “We’ve hosted every holiday since we moved in — Thanksgiving, a family reunion, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve,” Alexis said.
Dan said: “Family is everything.”
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