Naked Philly

We are getting hungry

As Fishtown and South Kensington continue to evolve from a development perspective, the retail mix on Frankford Avenue seems to get more and more appealing. Take, for example, Cheu Noodle Bar, opening this week on the 1400 block of Frankford. This block is on the rise in general, having seen the opening of a new City Fitness location earlier this year and with a new gastropub opening soon at the old Yachtsman location. And if that isn't enough, we learned earlier this week that an exciting new restaurant will soon open on the 1500 block in what was previously an industrial building.

We've covered 1526 Frankford Ave. several times over the years, first checking in on the property at the end of 2012, when a tarp was covering the building's facade. At the time, we told you that the property was previously owned by Samuel Machinery Company, a familiar name because they also were previously connected to a long blighted building on 3rd Street in Old City. As we told you before, that building, like their former structure on Frankford Avenue, has undergone a major transformation.

Rehab coming? Demolition? Nothing?

South Kensington has seen all kinds of development over the last few years, and as we told you earlier this week, there are some pretty significant projects still in the pipeline. Through it all, the former Gretz Brewery at 1524 Germantown Ave. has been sitting vacant and blighted, a reminder of what so much of the neighborhood looked like less than a decade ago. We first wrote about this building years ago, noting that the brewery was founded as Rieger & Gretz Brewing Company in 1881, and stating our belief that the buildings had not been used since the brewery ceased operations in 1960.

Back in the day

By the end of 2012, the City had posted a demolition notice on the building, and we were worried that the entire compound would be torn down. Fortunately and unfortunately, the demo notice only applied to the building at the corner, which was demoed in 2013. Checking in on the property today, we see that aside from the demolition from a few years ago, it pretty much looks the way it did when we first wrote about it. And by that we mean it has amazing bones but looks severely distressed.

Lots of construction and renovation

Needless to say, Point Breeze has experienced a dramatic shift over the last few years, as developers have bought up all available vacant land with an eye toward new construction. Along those lines, most existing homes that come onto the market have either been rehabbed and flipped/rented out or demolished and replaced by more new construction. We see this development all across the neighborhood, but the northeast corner of 18th & Reed in particular presents a microcosm of Point Breeze in 2017, as the entire corner has turned over in the last few years.

Here's a view of this corner from 2011, thanks to Google Street View:

Six years ago, looking south on 18th Street

Six years back at the corner

Viewed from the north, we see 1335-37 S. 18th St. was a two-story home, while 1339 and 1341 S. 18th St. were sitting vacant. Looking to the east, the corner was a mixed-use building with a church next door. 1729 and 1727 Reed St. were unrenovated three story buildings, and 1356 S. Bouvier St. was another vacant lot. Checking in on this corner today, we see a world of difference.

Project would maintain existing low rise buildings

If you look just to the south of the Frank Furness building being slowly uncovered at 40th & Ludlow, just past a coffee shop and a Game of Thrones-themed dessert place, there's a row of vacant two-story buildings that seem entirely out of place. This is incredible- Penn is just a block to the south, how could the northwest corner of 40th & Chestnut be sitting vacant? And this isn't even a new situation- we wrote a story on these buildings way back in 2011, and pretty much nothing has changed since then.

Can't think of other projects in this immediate area

We admit, we don't make our way up to East Falls, Manayunk, or Roxborough as often as we'd like, call it an occupational hazard of working out of Center City. But every now and then, especially with a juicy tip in hand, we'll find our way to that part of town. Recently, we got word from friend of the blog @genbrewerytown about a significant project under construction at 34th & Commissioner, in what's known as the Allegheny West neighborhood. We've seen little to no development in this neighborhood previously, but that could be changing. It's right on the edge of East Falls, with the Trolley Car Diner only a few blocks away. There's a world in which development starts to spread east from East Falls, and puts a charge into Allegheny West. Certainly, this project could play a role in growing interest in the neighborhood.

So what project are we talking about? Here's a look at what's happening at 3000 N. 34th St. so far: