Naked Philly

But it still may look regrettable

The 1500 block of N. 16th St. enjoys the presence of numerous buildings that are, in our estimation, architectural gems. A few years ago, a new stucco apartment building rose on the block, looking like a tumor next to an amazing old structure. Earlier this year, we told you of plans for yet another addition to the block at 1516 N. 16th St., and hoped that the new building would reduce the impact of the aforementioned stucco tumor.

The new structure
Some good looking buildings on the block

In case you don't recall, this four-story building will eventually have nineteen apartments. As is the case with most new construction in the area, it will surely target Temple students, and make us jealous of their living conditions compared to those of our college days. We still don't know what this building will ultimately look like, but it sure is doing a fine job of blocking the view of the stuccoed building next door.

Community is not behind the developer

In Fishtown, a year's worth of inattentive ownership has come back to hurt developers who planned to take the former East Baptist Church at 1236 E. Columbia Ave. and reuse it by turning the building into 15 apartments.

The church

At an October Fishtown Neighbors Association meeting, neighbors voted a resounding 65-11 not in favor of a project from Metal Green Inc., largely for two reasons, according to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair. First, density. Neighbors felt 15 units seemed like a lot. That it was for apartments as opposed to condos also made the proposal less attractive to people in the community. When considered within the context that this immediate area has numerous projects already creating new units in the past few years, like all three phases of Ice House, Awesome Town, and a 13-unit project in the works, neighbors were less enthused by the idea of even more density. Then there's the condition of the former church property since it was purchased last October for $385K, a far cry from a $1.4M listing price in 2008. That purchase came after neighbors tried for a few years, finally succeeding, to push the property to a sheriff's sale.

Big lot on Poplar Street on the outs

In Francisville, long vacant lots are filling in at a disarming pace, and it seems like the development fisherman has hooked another big one. A reader checked in today, alerting us to the outcome of last night's Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation zoning meeting, where neighbors overwhelmingly supported a new development at 1617-33 Poplar St. that would replace a giant vacant lot near Ridge Avenue.

Current view
View of the site from above

As you can see, this parcel is quite large and quite vacant. The overhead view is clearly from a couple of years ago and doesn't show other development that's happened nearby since. Surrounded by other projects, the new development here will feel quite at home, though it will be among the larger projects to come down the pike for this area. So you may wonder, what was it that neighbors learned about last night and supported to the tune of 69-4?

Circulating petitions near the property

The saga of the northeast corner of 23rd & Christian continues.

Tear down this building!

Back in the summer of 2013, the owners of this property came to the neighborhood with a plan to demolish it and construct a five-story mixed-use building with first floor retail, second floor office space, and apartments above. In the sixteen months since, the project has gone through countless iterations, at one point seemed like it wasn't going to happen at all, and finally settled in recently with a proposal for a four-story building with retail space on the first floor, eight apartments on the second and third floors, and office space on the top floor. This version was continued at the ZBA in both September and October. We don't see it back on the calendar, meaning we won't hear about it again until after New Years.

As more projects push along

The number of projects popping up in recent years on the blocks surrounding 40th & Baring has really been astounding. On Baring Street numerous apartment buildings have risen, mostly housing students, generally replacing vacant lots. Recently, a new run of construction and renovation has gotten underway in the area. A large building on the southwest corner is getting turned into a duplex. Just north of the corner on 40th Street, developers recently renovated a long-blighted row of buildings. Closer to Spring Garden Street a row of quadplexes are progressing. And on the east side of the block, a building with 22 units is very much under construction.