Naked Philly

Car place and beauty salon supply shop a step in the wrong direction

Okay, we promise. This is our last post on Washington Avenue for awhile.

We keep telling you about possible game changing projects for the west side of Washington Avenue. Mixed-use buildings are planned for 16th & Washington and 24th & Washington. MSC Retail is touting the possibilities of an entertainment venue at 23rd & Washington. We've even heard rumblings about the northwest corner of Broad & Washington. These plans dovetail with the smaller bits of good news that have actually come to pass, like Kermit's Bake Shoppe, a crossfit gym, and NextFab Studios.

But it's not all peaches and cream for Washington Avenue. One particularly unfortunate item is the storage facility on the horizon for 23rd & Washington. It seems it's definitely coming, but it hasn't happened yet so there's at least some hope it won't. No such luck for two new businesses that have already opened on the 1900 block.

1900 block of Washington Ave.

In the last couple of weeks, an auto shop and a beauty supply store have opened their doors. This is possible, of course, because Washington Avenue is still zoned for industrial uses.

We would have preferred the apartment plan, but we wouldn't have to live with it

When it comes to a neighborhood group supporting a new project, sometimes the question is less about the actual proposal, and more about what the developers can alternately build by right. Such is the case for developers' plans to construct 14 single-family homes on four connected parcels at 1123-27 Earl St. in Fishtown. Neighbors voted to support the plans at a November Fishtown Neighbors Association zoning meeting.

Current view on Earl Street

Right now, the parcel includes four properties, including vacant lots on Earl Street and a garage on Palmer Street. All are currently zoned for commercial and mixed-use. “We've gotten into the habit of explaining what can be built by right,” said Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair.

By right, developers could construct a 34-unit building with 10 parking spots and no commercial use. This may seem odd that the code doesn't require commercial use in a commercial district, but that's what we've got. Instead, because neighbors voted to support plans, developers (assuming the ZBA allows it) will construct a project designed by JKR Partners that will build a private road parallel to Girard Avenue (perpendicular to Earl and Palmer) down the middle of the lot, and build 14 single-family homes that back up to the rear of the buildings on Girard and face the private road.

Because the developers chipped off all the original details

In the summer of 2013, the Antiquarian's Delight at 6th & Bainbridge closed its doors when the building they called home for many years changed hands. About a year ago, we were excited to share the news that the structure, a former synagogue with wonderful original details, would be preserved and converted into an apartment building. Over the summer though, we were extremely disappointed to see that the developers, who also own Bella Vista Beer and Bainbridge Street Barrel House, had decided to remove the Jewish markings on the building that expressed its history.

Jewish stars and Hebrew words were scraped off the facade

We passed by the other day, and the renovation is done. The bricks have been cleaned up considerably and new windows have gone in. The side of the building has been stuccoed, and the Jewish stars on the front have been replaced by some weird design that's matched on the upper floor of the northern wall.

Could this be the project that moves Washington Avenue forward?

Last night, developers presented plans at the monthly SOSNA zoning meeting for a new building at 2401 Washington Ave., a property that today is a vacant lot. You can imagine, this kind of development would tickle us pink.

Vacant lot today, building to come?

At the meeting, representatives from Harman Deutsch talked through the project before a relatively small crowd, detailing a proposal for this oddly shaped lot. In short, the plan calls for a five-story building with 113 units, about half as many parking spaces on the first floor, and commercial space on Washington Avenue. Check out some pretty images of what's currently on the table.

It's been about a decade

It was over three years ago that we first brought the north side of the 100 block block of Alter Street to your attention, but the stalled construction has been bogging down the block for almost a decade. From what we can tell, the Stein & Silverman Family Partnership started work on three homes here in 2004 or 2005 after building two homes next door on Front Street. They cleared the lot, put in foundations, and then did absolutely nothing. As the years have rolled along, the lots have alternately been overgrown and strewn with garbage and then cleaned up by neighbors and/or owners. Also, the entire south side of the block has filled in with new construction, as we've detailed.

But there's good news on Alter Street. Finally, it seems these lots are going to be developed, as the owners have sold the lots to new developers. We passed by the other day and spotted the early stages of construction.

Construction seems to be starting

Not only is construction underway, but the three homes are already listed for sale. 103 Alter St. is available for $599K, 105 Alter St. can be yours for $625K, and 107 Alter St. is a steal at $700K. The first two homes will have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two half-baths. The last home, which will be long and skinny, will feature four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and one half-bath. Check out these black and white elevations from Landmark Architectural Design along with a hand-drawn site plan.