We were grabbing a coffee in Old City the other day, and something unexpected caught our eye on the 200 block of Market Street. It was a beer garden! 240 Market St. has been sitting vacant since the auction house that previously stood there burned down in 1987. According to a City Paper (pour one out) story from 2013, the property is owned by Victor Gordon, who also owns a shop on 3rd Street that sells various African statues and other carvings. Gordon has had some kind of a beef with the City over the years, and the article claims that he left his Market Street lot vacant and overgrown more or less out of spite for the City. Not for nothing, it looked pretty awful.
The west side of the 1400 block of Frankford Avenue is undergoing a major transformation before our eyes. Turn back the clock half a decade and this block was most prominently home to the Bicycle Stable and a large warehouse belonging to the Chalmur Bag Company. Things are rather different today.
Bicycle Stable closed at 1416 Frankford Ave. a little less that two years ago, and when they closed their doors we were worried that a developer would step in and demolish their building. As we told you previously, this building was originally constructed as a stable for police horses and was associated with a long since demolished police station on Front Street. Thankfully, with the news that Cheu Noodle Bar will be opening a new location in the building, we don't have to worry about the former stable meeting a similar fate.
Though the Italian Market Festival was as fun as ever this past weekend, we needed to catch our breath for a couple minutes so we ducked onto the 800 block of S. Percy Street. What we found was a little Bella Vista block with some rather unexpected green infrastructure.
Entrance to the block from Christian Street
Back in 2011, the Water Department and the Streets Department collaborated on a project to repave this block of Percy Street with an eye toward stormwater management. The street needed a new sewer line, and even prior to that job, the street was in dire need of repaving. In addition, drainage was very poor on this block, and many neighbors were dealing with wet basements.
The 100 block of W. Wildey Street in Northern Liberties is a bit of a mixed bag. Start at Front Street, and you'll see a recently renovated building that once housed a refridgeration company and now contains office space and a fried chicken place. Take a few more steps and veer to the left to follow the street, and you'll see another conversion, the former Boone School, which turned into an apartment building several years ago. Across the street, you'll see some homes. Moving along the block, there's a large vacant patch on the south side until you reach a new home next to a small dog park, and a relatively new parking garage on the north side. It's that large patch of vacant land that's of interest to us today.
We were dodging the raindrops in South Kensington today and happened upon a building under construction on the southeast corner of Hancock & Thompson. This property had been sitting vacant for a number of years, surrounded by a fence overgrown with ivy. Developers bought the parcel about a year and quickly set about building an eight-unit residential building, a project which happened to be by-right. They've made some nice progress thus far.
In the past
Harman Deutsch did the design work for this project, and thanks to the listings for the condo units in the building, we can show you an elevations drawing which will give you a sense of what the building will look like when it's finished. We're into the look, and especially appreciate the double hung multi-pane windows. Though it'll be new construction, it will probably look like a warehouse conversion, and that fits in well for this neighborhood.