Naked Philly

Homes will replace vacant lots

A couple of vacant lots are set to fade away on the 1700 block of Carpenter Street in favor of three new homes. One lot, 1717 Carpenter St., will get a single home. The adjacent lot, 1719 Carpenter St., stretches all the way to Montrose and will get a pair of homes, with one fronting Carpenter and the other fronting Montrose Street. Developers appeared before the SOSNA zoning committee a few months back, and recently got their approvals from the ZBA.

The two lots in question

Each of the homes will have a front loading garage. This is no big deal on Montrose Street, where no street parking spaces will be lost. Some would lament the loss of parking spots on Carpenter Street, but looking at the homes next door there's a clear precedent for garages on the block. Also like the homes immmediately to the east, the new homes, designed by Lance R. Kraemer Associates, will also look different from the others nearby.

Four story building has been framed out

At 1720 Fairmount Ave., what was for years a storage lot for building materials like brick and stone is now a framed out four-story building. When it's finished, it will include 18 new apartments and complete one of the closing paragraphs of the tale about redevelopment along Fairmount Avenue.

In the past

It's been a couple of years in the making, and seeing this project get some legs, and then a torso, as it was framed, shows developers are looking to get people living in the building sometime this year.

Lots of money to raise, but it's an exciting idea

We last visited the Nebinger School at 6th & Carpenter two summers back, when construction was taking place to dramatically improve the school's stormwater management. That project included a rain garden and the addition of an underground water basin, and was completed for the 2013-14 school year. Currently, those improvements are mostly covered in snow, as will happen this time of year.

Nebinger School
View of the school from 6th Street

Of course, a schoolyard can always be improved further. Now, the Friends of Nebinger and the school are collaborating on a new gateway into the schoolyard on 6th Street. In December, a meeting with designers from BLT Architects resulted in a scheme for an "open pavilion" that includes a green-covered trellis and ceramic tile details that echo the school's main entrance on Carpenter Street. A reader was kind enough to share the drawings, which still have a very rough look to them. As the process progresses, we'd wager someone will punch this stuff into CAD.

We don't know, but they're kicking the gym out of the building

When Tower Investments built the Piazza several years ago, they capped the northern end of the development with the Rialto building, a seven story commercial building with a restaurant on the ground floor. At the time we thought it was a swell idea, and we thought that commercial tenants would have major interest in taking space so close to this blossoming mixed-use project. Presently, we know of Darling's Diner on the first floor, the Training Station on the third floor, and a real estate office on the fifth floor. Tower also has offices in the building.

View from the north

Yesterday, we got an email from a reader that belongs to the gym in the Rialto, informing them that another business will be taking over the entire building. As a result, the Training Center needed to find a new home. In April, they'll be moving to a new space at 5th & Spring Garden, but they'll unfortunately be out of commission for about six weeks in between. In their place, either someone new is coming to the building or an existing tenant is expanding their footprint.

Makes sense considering the direction of the corridor

In the riverwards, East Girard Avenue is in the midst of continued redevelopment. From the almost finished Joe's Steaks at Frankford in the old Acropolis location across the street from Johnny Brenda's, to Marlborough where a former rose garden was developed into mixed-use, East Girard continues to see improvement.

Looking up East Girard

Where the roses once bloomed on the corner of Marlborough St. is now Girard, a french brasserie on the ground floor, with apartments above. Across the street, an old auto supply store sold a couple years back and has been wonderfully restored, pointing to even more reinvestment along East Girard. Now there are plans for more mixed-use, this time at 1142 Crease St., a property that looks like it was once a small gas station. That's two small half-size blocks, from Shackamaxon, where another mixed-use project brought the Palm Tree Market with five units above.