Naked Philly Blog Posts – OCF Realty http://www.ocfrealty.com Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:52:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 http://www.ocfrealty.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/favicon2.png Naked Philly Blog Posts – OCF Realty http://www.ocfrealty.com 32 32 Hope Street Has a Row of New Two Story Homes http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/south-kensington/hope-street-row-new-two-story-homes http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/south-kensington/hope-street-row-new-two-story-homes#respond Fri, 08 Dec 2017 21:37:28 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=519845 The post Hope Street Has a Row of New Two Story Homes appeared first on OCF Realty.

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In order to produce our non-stop stream of content, we’re constantly romping all over town, snapping photos of various projects and development sites. As such, we have numerous lunch spots that we favor in various neighborhoods, and sometimes we try to arrange our photography sessions around whatever cuisine we’re thinking about on a given day. This time of year, pretty much every day is a good day for soup. That means that it’s never a bad thing to be in Fishtown/South Kensington/East Kensington, relatively close to Good Spoon Soupery. The 1400 block of N. Hope St. is right around the corner from Good Spoon, and a few days ago, with a full belly, we discovered two dueling projects on this little block.

Looking north on Hope St.

The west side of the block is dominated by a bunch of foundations which are related to a project we’ve already covered. You may recall, we told you about a year and a half ago about a project that was bringing five homes to Howard Street, six homes (and a drive-aisle entrance) to Hope Street, and one home to Master Street. The homes on Howard are farther along than the homes on Hope Street, but somehow just about every home in the development is already under agreement at a price around $500K. Wowza.

West side of the street
Part of this project on Howard

On the east side of the street is a project that we confess we find a little confusing. Here, developers have built a row of five new town homes, each only rising two stories. The developers bought this property a couple years ago, as part of a large warehouse building on Front Street, and knocked down a junky one-story section of the warehouse on Hope Street. In its place, they’ve built these new homes which we imagine will be offered for sale. We feel like we must be missing something, because we can’t think of too many examples of developers building new two-story homes and offering them at market rate prices. And with a project across the street getting top dollar prices for the neighborhood, it seems like an especially odd choice.

View from the north

Does anyone that lives nearby have any insight into why the developers built two-story homes on this block? Try as we may, we can’t figure out the thought process behind the decision.

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Geotech Work A Sign of Things to Come at Front & Fairmount? http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/northern-liberties/geotech-work-sign-things-come-front-fairmount http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/northern-liberties/geotech-work-sign-things-come-front-fairmount#comments Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:52:33 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=519838 The post Geotech Work A Sign of Things to Come at Front & Fairmount? appeared first on OCF Realty.

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There’s a building on the east side of the 600 block of N. Front St. that’s sitting, looking rather lonely, in the middle of a sea of surface parking. We’ve called your attention to this structure a couple times over the years, first noting that it was listed for sale back in early 2014 and commenting that it would probably make for a unique and fun restaurant space. We aren’t sure, but we believe the building was originally constructed as a warehouse as part of a substation for the Philadelphia Transportation Company. PTC was a Septa competitor that owned the El, the Broad Street Line, and some bus and trolley routes, and was absorbed by Septa in the late 1960s.

SE corner of Front & Fairmount
View of the property from the east, a couple years ago

A neighbor recently called our attention to the parking area immediately to the north of this building, noting that geotech workers were on site, testing the soil. This kind of activity is generally a good sign that development is on the horizon, as L&I requires soil reports for building permit submission, to ensure that builders use foundation systems that will work for a given location. This seems like a strong indication that this parking lot could soon be on the outs, and perhaps the same could soon be said for the former PTC building.

A couple years back, 613 N. Front St. (the parking lot) was listed for sale, at a final asking price of $3.6M. In early 2016, developers purchased the property, paying over $2.7M. From what we can tell, the same developers that previously owned the old PTC building decided to buy the surrounding lots rather than sell the building. With over 35K sqft of combined land, the table is now set for a large residential development here, likely of the town home variety. We expect town homes here because the old listing for the property indicated that such a project already had plans and designs in place for a large town home project. One listing calls out a plan for 40+ homes, another suggests 22 homes, but either plan would be a major change at this location.

Relatively new town homes on the NW corner

Considering the town homes that sprouted up on the northwest corner of Front & Fairmount over the last few years, a town home project would seem intuitive, even if we’d prefer an apartment building. Truly, we’d also prefer a project that maintains the existing building on the property, but as it’s not listed on the historic register, the owners could tear it down at any point. Then again, we’re purely speculating that development is happening in the first place and we’re likewise speculating as to the nature of the project for this site, so it’s quite possible that whatever happens here ultimately includes the old warehouse and also includes an apartment building. Still, we’d be surprised.

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Cantrell Place Starts Shaping Up in South Philly http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/south-philly/cantrell-place-starts-shaping-south-philly http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/south-philly/cantrell-place-starts-shaping-south-philly#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 22:19:53 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=518240 The post Cantrell Place Starts Shaping Up in South Philly appeared first on OCF Realty.

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We don’t typically have much development to cover south of Snyder Avenue, but today we can share some news of a project of some significance for the Whitman neighborhood. Every few months, usually appended to a trip to Target, we’ve visited the 400 and 500 blocks of Cantrell Street, hoping to see some changes to the sea of vacant lots on those blocks. When we made our most recent visit a few days ago, we were pleasantly surprised to see considerable construction activity on the north side of the 400 block and the south side of the 500 block.

Looking east on the 400 block
Early work on the 500 block of Cantrell

It’s pretty obvious at first glance that this isn’t the typical market rate town home construction that we so regularly cover. The large foundations and the elevator tower are a pretty good indication. Indeed, this is an affordable housing project for seniors which has been in the works for several years. The project comes from Presby’s Inspired Life, a senior housing company with multiple developments in the region. They’ve dubbed this development Cantrell Place, and it will eventually include 61 units over two different buildings. Looking at permits, we see that the site on the 400 block will have 36 units, while the building on the 500 block will include 25 units. Here’s a rendering of the project, courtesy of Kramer + Marks Architects.

Project rendering

Some would say it’s up for debate as to whether Philadelphia has an affordable housing problem, but it’s pretty much accepted that Philadelphia doesn’t have enough affordable housing for seniors. And in adding five dozen new units to the housing pool, this project is a huge win for the city. In addition, we understand that some of the units in this building will be set aside for “mobility impaired, sensory impaired, and homeless seniors,” making this project all the more important in terms of providing for individuals who are lacking for housing options. We wonder, where else might be see similar projects come to fruition in neighborhoods relatively close to Center City?

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VFW Post on Frankford Ave. Shifting Gears, Going Condo http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/east-kensington/vfw-post-frankford-ave-shifting-gears-going-condo http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/east-kensington/vfw-post-frankford-ave-shifting-gears-going-condo#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 16:46:55 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=518112 The post VFW Post on Frankford Ave. Shifting Gears, Going Condo appeared first on OCF Realty.

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2529 Frankford Ave. was home to the VFW Post 22 since at least the 1950s, offering a gathering place for veterans in Fishtown. We don’t really understand how these sorts of establishments work, but we do know that the VFW sold their building the developers back in 2015, seemingly ceasing operations. In 2016, those developers went to the ZBA to change the lot lines for the property, with a plan to convert the existing buildings into 8 condo units. For some reason, there was a motion for reconsideration after the variance was granted, but the ZBA affirmed their decision about a year and a half ago. At some point in the last few months, it appears work finally got started in earnest at this property, as the dumpster out front and the new windows would indicate.

Two buildings
Closer look at the smaller building

A sign on the building reveals that the project has been dubbed Captain’s Quarters, a play on the history of the property. We know that units start at $200K in the building, and according to the permits, there are two 1 bedroom units, five 2 bedroom units, and one 3 bedroom unit. Figure the $200K price point is for a 1 bedroom unit and the larger condos will trade at higher prices. We assume there’s more info out there on the project website, but we couldn’t access the site without giving up personal information via Facebook. If you’re interested in getting some more details and don’t mind sharing your info, have at it.

Convenience store across the street

A few years ago, we might have expressed surprise that this kind of project was happening on the 2500 block of Frankford. But recent experience has taught us that all of Frankford Ave. is fair game these days, at least ’til you get to Lehigh Avenue. In fact, the Avenue30 project is in full swing, adding thirty new homes at Amber & Lehigh, and people are excitedly snapping up those units, so there’s some serious momentum on this side of the neighborhood. We have to wonder if, at some point, developers will make a sky high offer to the owners of the 10K sqft convenience store property across the street from the Captain’s Quarters project. Realistically, it’s probably not a matter of if, but when.

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Five New Homes on Amber An Improvement Over Auto Garage http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/east-kensington/five-new-homes-amber-improvement-auto-garage http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/east-kensington/five-new-homes-amber-improvement-auto-garage#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:41:24 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=516275 The post Five New Homes on Amber An Improvement Over Auto Garage appeared first on OCF Realty.

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We couldn’t tell you whether the auto garage at 2319 Amber St. was wonderful, terrible, or somewhere in the middle. We do know though, that this business made perfect sense at this location for a long time. The surrounding blocks were a sea of older homes and vacant lots, with nearby Frankford Avenue drawing relatively few customers from within the neighborhood and almost nobody from other parts of the city. Within the last ten years though, as Fishtown development has dribbled into East Kensington, this auto garage has slowly transitioned from fitting right in to sticking out like a sore thumb.

In the past

It came as no surprise then, a couple years back, when we told you that the owners of the auto garage had sold the property to developers, and those developers quickly demoed everything on the site. A year later, we checked back in on the property just as construction was getting moving, and told you to expect five new homes here. If you take a look at this next photo, you can see that the project is now finished. Needless to say, things are looking a little different here than they did before.

Current view

It’s a sign of the times in this neighborhood that even this property, which wasn’t perfect for residential development, has turned into town homes. Three of the homes are built on 50′-deep lots, which is good enough for a nice sized new construction home but still doesn’t leave you with much in terms of a backyard. The other homes were built on 40′ lots which results in homes that are a little smaller than a developer might prefer, especially on the 2nd floor. Still, three of the homes have already sold, with the corner trading for $495K and one of the smaller homes selling for just under $450K. The remaining units are listed for $475K for a larger model and $450K for a smaller one. So you can still get in on the action! Or not, whatever you wanna do.

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At Long Last, Demolition at 18th & Washington http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/graduate-hospital/long-last-demolition-18th-washington http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/graduate-hospital/long-last-demolition-18th-washington#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:45:56 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=516269 The post At Long Last, Demolition at 18th & Washington appeared first on OCF Realty.

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Halloween might have come and gone over a month ago, but we’re going to scare you this morning with a spooooky zombie project. Yes folks, it seems that the project at the northeast corner of 18th & Washington, which we first covered over six years ago, is back from the dead. And it’s hungry for brains!!!

Dumpster had just pulled away
Building still looks intact

We passed by 1731 Washington Ave. yesterday and noticed a truck hauling a large dumpster from the building. Poking around online, we discovered that the owners of the property pulled demolition permits over the last few months. In the near future, this unattractive warehouse should come down, and we assume a new building will rise in its place. The specifics of that new building are a little hazy at the moment.

Old rendering, from 2011

Back in 2011, Michael and Mario Carosella, the guys who also happen to own C&R Building Supply, got zoning approval to build a four-story mixed-use building here, with a 4,000 sqft commercial space, 15 rental apartments on the upper floors, and parking in the basement. They previously pulled another demolition permit in 2014, and we believed the project would be getting started in short order. Three years later, something is finally happening here. But what’s happening, exactly?

From what we understand, a zoning permit has to be acted upon within three years or it becomes moot. Perhaps they’ve been diligent in getting extensions for their permits and they’re moving forward with the same plan they presented all those years ago. Alternately, they could be moving forward with a completely different project, one that would be permitted by right for this industrially zoned parcel. The former scenario would be swell, and would dovetail nicely with the mixed-use projects now under construction in both directions on Washington Avenue. The latter scenario would be a step in the wrong direction for Washington Avenue, made possible by the fact that the corridor hasn’t been remapped to allow residential uses by right, as recommended by the Planning Commission. Soon enough, we should know which way this project will go, and we’d think that most people would agree that mixed-use would be the preferable outcome.

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63 Units Planned at 19th & Callowhill and We Are Confused http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/logan-square/63-units-planned-19th-callowhill-confused http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/logan-square/63-units-planned-19th-callowhill-confused#comments Tue, 05 Dec 2017 22:21:03 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=514781 The post 63 Units Planned at 19th & Callowhill and We Are Confused appeared first on OCF Realty.

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A couple years back, Pearl Properties built the Granary Apartments on the northwest corner of 19th & Callowhill, adding over 200 units and a collection of new retailers to the area. That building sold a couple years ago for a hundred twenty million bucks. Nice project, if we do say so. As far as amenities, there’s a brand new Target a block away, a relocated Whole Foods a little farther away, and uh, a bunch of museums nearby, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Granary, on the NW corner

While the northwest corner of this intersection features a sparkly apartment building, the northeast corner is decidedly more muted. There’s an older building right at the corner which has been home to Rose Tattoo Cafe for as long as we can remember. Next to that is a surface parking lot for Franklin Beverage, a beer distributor. Next to the one-story beer distributor is a pile of rubble on a vacant lot, a property that was approved a couple years back for a 32-unit mixed-use building that has (clearly) not been built as of yet. There was a pretty nice building there until sometime last year, we sure hope it wasn’t demoed in vain and that a building will eventually sprout here.

NE corner of 19th & Callowhill
Beer distributor parking lot
Apartment building is approved for property next door

But we digress. Today, we’re really only concerned with 1839 Callowhill St., the parking lot for the beer distributor. There’s currently a plan in the works to redevelop this property with a building with 63 apartments and retail on the first floor. And we’ve gotta say, we find this plan to be incredibly confusing. The property in question is only about 5,700 sqft in size, which means the developers are going to need to build a rather tall building to accommodate that unit count. By our measure, for a building full of miniature units, they’ll need at least 7 floors of residential units, making for an 8-story building. We wouldn’t find that objectionable per se, it just seems like a bit of a strange size for a building with a three story building on one side and a one-story building on the other side.

At least from our reading of the permits, it doesn’t appear that the project will include the beer distributor building. If it does, that would add quite a bit of logic to the project. The beer distributor could move into the ground floor space of the new building, a la Stone’s at 17th & Fairmount, and the additional lot size would probably account for a reduction of the building height by a full floor. Plus it would look less awkward for a new seven story building to stand next to another new six-story building, and not to have a little building filling the space between them.

We understand the developers presented their plans to Logan Square Neighborhood Association last month, but the community group hasn’t posted the November meeting minutes onto their website just yet. Did anyone out there attend the meeting that might be able to shed some light on what happened, how the community responded, and whether our reading of the permits accurately describes the project? Whatever form the project ultimately takes, this will be an exciting addition for this block, and should make things incrementally better for the businesses nearby. And of course, it’ll probably mean slightly longer wait times at Sabrina’s on the weekends. Oh, the humanity.

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Duplexes Coming Soon Behind Warehouse Turned Church http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/duplexes-coming-soon-behind-warehouse-turned-church http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/duplexes-coming-soon-behind-warehouse-turned-church#comments Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:23:47 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=514692 The post Duplexes Coming Soon Behind Warehouse Turned Church appeared first on OCF Realty.

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We were perusing the ZBA calendar the other day and discovered that 4108 Haverford Ave. is tabbed for redevelopment. This property looks like it was originally built for industrial purposes and probably got some use as a warehouse at some point early in its life. Most recently though, the building has been used as a religious space, as home to the Mount Zion United Holy Church. This building might not hold a candle to numerous historic churches around Philadelphia, but it still provides a window into the history of the block, and has some nice bones to boot.

View on Haverford

Looking at the zoning application, it appears the plan will call for a partial demolition in the rear of the building and the construction of three duplexes with frontage on Brandywine Street. As a next step, we expect the owners of the property will either tear down the building on Haverford or repurpose it, likely for residential use. We’re more inclined to expect reuse, as it would seem like a weird two-step process to go through zoning to build duplexes in the back and then go through a whole different permitting process to demolish the rest of the building and construct something new.

Duplexes coming in the back, on Brandywine
4100 block of Brandywine

Clearly, the duplexes on Brandywine will be a big upgrade from the current rear of the property. Also, new buildings will fit in nicely with the rest of the block.

Looking west on Haverford

As for the Haverford Avenue side, we kinda felt like this project was a little too far west at first blush. But when we noticed that there’s a quadplex literally next door to the church and a pair of eight-unit buildings just a few doors down to the west, additional residential on the 4100 block of Haverford began to make all kinds of sense. Of course, we have to assume that these units are all targeting students, like just about every other project nearby. As students keep pushing farther north and farther west, we have to wonder when the pushing will taper off. Thus far, all signs so far are pointing to not quite yet.

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Still No Clarity at 5th & Bainbridge http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/queen-village/still-no-clarity-5th-bainbridge http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/queen-village/still-no-clarity-5th-bainbridge#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 23:44:08 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=514494 The post Still No Clarity at 5th & Bainbridge appeared first on OCF Realty.

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We nearly started a riot a few months ago when we passed along the rumor that the buildings on the north side of the 400 block of Bainbridge would be torn down and replaced with Trader Joe’s. Alas, the owner of the property reached out shortly afterward and shared the disappointing news that there was no deal with Trader Joe’s. Bummer. Still, we were confident that something was happening here, because several businesses were moving out of their retail spaces at the same time. Sure enough, the other shoe dropped a few weeks ago as the buildings were all posted with demolition notices.

NE corner of 5th & Bainbridge
Parking lot
Closer to Leithgow St.
View at Leithgow & Bainbridge

In an effort to learn more about the upcoming project, we reached out to the chair of the QVNA zoning committee. They were kind enough to get back to us, letting us know that the owner of the property made an informational presentation to Queen Village Neighbors Association and South Street Headhouse District back in September. At the meeting, they shared preliminary plans for a multi-story building with parking and apartments, with two large retailers on the first floor and in the basement. The owner didn’t specify the retail tenant, giving us a sense that they’re playing this info close to the vest or there was no signed lease back in September.

When all is said and done, this project will have a footprint that’s larger than 30K sqft, so this will be one of the most significant new projects in this area in recent memory. Unfortunately, we don’t see any permits as of yet, so we’re still unclear as to what will ultimately rise here. According to the representative from QVNA, the project is expected to go through the zoning process and will return to the community with more concrete plans. That’ll be in January, at the earliest. ‘Til then, we’ll just have to keep wondering… how they’re going to fit a Wegmans on such a small property.

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Junky Building On the Outs at 40th & Market http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/junky-building-outs-40th-market http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/junky-building-outs-40th-market#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 17:20:06 +0000 http://www.ocfrealty.com/?post_type=naked-philly&p=513352 The post Junky Building On the Outs at 40th & Market appeared first on OCF Realty.

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Penn’s campus technically ends at 40th & Walnut, but off-campus student housing for the university extends far to the north, going all the way up to Haverford Avenue (and beyond). Despite the countless projects we’ve covered around here over the years, we believe that the area is still ripe for redevelopment. Properties on Market Street in particular should turn over in the future, both because they’re generally underdeveloped and because they’re located in a favorable zoning district. That being said, we weren’t so surprised when we spied zoning notices posted to 4000 Market St. as we were passing through the neighborhood the other day.

View of the building
From the south

This building has been home to Heidi Ho Cafe in the last few years, a business that replaced a health and beauty corner store called Gil’s Discount. We have to think that the building, when it was originally constructed, looked very different than it does today, and we wonder whether the structure was originally a bit taller. Then again, maybe a shorter building made sense, back in the days before the Market-Frankford line was buried at this stop. The combination of its stumpy stature and its stucco facade make this building a great candidate for replacement, and that’s just what’s happening very soon.

Developers recently purchased this property, paying $1.2M. Last week, said developers went to the ZBA with a plan to demolish the existing building and replace it with a seven story building with ground-floor retail and 24 apartments. We don’t know why this project wasn’t by-right, given the permissive zoning here, but the ZBA granted the variance nevertheless. We have to think the commercial tenant will be something new and different from the current business, probably with an eye toward the local student population. Ditto the apartments above, which we have to think will target Penn students, like just about all the other development in the immediate area.

We’re just hopeful that, unlike so many other projects in this neck of the woods, this one will result in a great looking new building. Even if the new building isn’t so great, it’ll surely be an upgrade over the building we have today. And we honestly can’t think of too many other times that’s happened in West Philadelphia in the last few years.

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