Naked Philly

MM Partners to the rescue!

MM Partners has traditionally done a ton of development in Brewerytown, with a particular emphasis on rehabilitating storefronts on Girard Avenue. Now it seems they've got their sights set on a new corridor- Fairmount Avenue. Recently, a sign appeared on the front of the long-vacant Country Fresh Market building at the corner of 17th & Fairmount announcing the property's upcoming renovation. Along with attaching MM Partners to the project, it included a nice lookin' picture showing us what we can expect.

Current view
Project rendering

We reached out to MM Partners, and learned that they're planning seventeen loft apartments with 1:1 parking, two new homes (ostensibly on Melon Street), and five retail spaces. Remarkably, four of the five commercial spaces are already leased. As this property falls within the Spring Garden Historic District and clearly contributes given its unusual look, the developers are bound by Federal historic guidelines. We're most pleased to see that the original window sizes and shapes will be making a comeback.

Both mixed-use, replacing vacant lots

Last spring, we experienced mixed emotions as the vacant building that was once home to Lou's Crab Pad was demolished. On the one hand, the elimination of this building, located on the northwest corner of Mascher & Girard, meant that something was finally happening at this neglected address. Six apartments and a commercial space, to be exact. On the other hand, the destroyed building was really interesting architecturally, and we were sad to see that it was not getting renovated. Since April, the lot has been vacant.

Northwest corner, former Crab Pad

Over the summer, according to Star News, developer Tony Elebah presented plans to the community for not only the northwest corner of Mascher & Girard, but the northeast corner as well. The former Crab Pad corner has only been empty for a few months. The opposite corner has been vacant for many years.

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.