Naked Philly

Much much better

We last checked in on the corner of 19th & Webster back in November when conservators Scioli Turco were demolishing two long-blighted buildings. As the months have rolled along, the buildings have disappeared and new homes have been framed out.

In the past
New homes

Soon enough, these homes will be finished and sold, like so many other homes in the neighborhood over the last decade plus.

DRWC's newest pop-up

Remember a few months ago, when we tried to describe the awesomeness of the Waterfront Winterfest, and urged you to check it out quickly and repeatedly? That experience came from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in case you forgot. And this summer, it seems, the DRWC will be at it again.

Today a press release found its way to our inbox, announcing the Spruce Street Harbor Park at the Penn's Landing Marina. This two-month pop-up will include the creation of a little pier that has a restaurant, a water garden, and nets that will allow visitors to feel like they're walking on the water in the river without actually having to touch it. On the shore, you'll find a boardwalk, misting areas, some temporary fountains, a hammock garden (!), and an urban beach. Sorry Sugarbeach, there's a new game in town this summer!

Two weeks from now, Plazapalooza

The rethinking of public spaces has become all the rage in Philadelphia in the last couple of years. Every spring, more parklets appear outside of popular businesses. The Porch has taken a bleak stretch of sidewalk in front of 30th Street Station and turned it into an active, programmed space. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society keeps creating pop-up gardens in prominent vacant lots. And in a couple of weeks, the triangle at 23rd Street and Grays Ferry Avenue will become the next public space, albeit on a temporary basis.

Catharine Thorn Park

For years, efforts have been in the works to take the first little section of Grays Ferry Avenue away from cars and give it to neighbors and pedestrians. With a string of businesses on one side, hopes for a great mixed-use project on the other side, and a restored historic fountain and some fantastic trees in the middle, it seems like a no brainer. And soon, after many stops and starts, a six-month trial will place to see just how well it works out.

Replaces demolished YWCA Annex

Over two years ago, we first broke the news that a mixed-use building would be replacing the long-vacant and blighted YWCA Annex building on the 2000 block of Chestnut Street. Back in January, we told you that demolition efforts were finally underway. And last week, an official groundbreaking took place at 2017-23 Chestnut St. for the building that will eventually be known as AQ Rittenhouse.

In the past
Current view

In case you don't remember the deets (and can't read the sign in the photo above), the project is being developed by Aquinas Realty Partners. The twelve-story building will include 110 apartments and a commercial space on the first floor that's still available for rent, if you're interested. Freire Charter School, located next door, will expand into the basement of the new building, providing much needed additional space. The structure was designed by BLT Architects and Stampfl, and will be shooting for LEED Silver certification.

3 projects getting started

Early this morning, we were passing through Mantua and spotted a construction fence on the south side of the 3400 block of Wallace Street. Across the street and down the block, we then saw formwork, announcing another project nearby. This made lots of sense to us, as vacant land in this area has become increasingly attractive to investors looking to build student housing. And we'd bet that's exactly what will happen here.

Two triplexes coming
Homes next to future construction

Developer Ramy Shraim bought 3432 and 3434 Wallace St. back in 2012, and is just now getting around to developing them. You may recall, this is the same developer that built a rental property on Lancaster Avenue on the site of an old gas station. According to the L&I Map, Shraim is building two triplexes on these lots, which we are confident will also be rentals. Count on them to target Drexel students.