Naked Philly

They'll join their sister homes soon

As we're sometimes wont to do, we were meandering around some of the lesser known streets in Northern Liberties this week, looking for some projects that are perhaps off the beaten path. This is a great neighborhood for such wandering, chock full of blocks that stop and start. And there's the occasional log cabin. When we got to the skinny 1000 block of N. Leithgow St., we came upon four new looking foundations. Then we remembered we actually wrote about them about a year and a half ago.

Looking up skinny Leithgow St.
The foundations

Back then, 1018 and 1020 N. Leithgow St. were under construction and the foundations pictured above were a well tended vacant lot. In the time that's passed, one of the homes sold for $508K. The other is on the market for just under $650K. With 2,500 sqft of living space over four floors and a parking spot, we would not be surprised to see the developers get close to this price. And soon, four more homes will rise next door.

Certainly not what we expected

Student housing construction has been all the rage near Temple, with projects large and small changing almost every block in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. So when we heard about a zoning notice at 1412 W. Dauphin St., just a couple blocks north of campus, our minds immediately went to student housing. And upon reading the notice which calls for fifty-four units and eighteen bike parking spots, we had no doubt that another big student housing building was on its way.

But we were wrong! Hey, it happens every now and again.

Current view of 1412 W. Dauphin St.
Looking down Carlisle St.

Doing a little digging, we realized that plans for this site aren't for the kids at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. According to a Civic Design Review presentation from August, developers want to build an affordable housing building for senior citizens on this site (creatively) called Dauphin Street Senior Residences. Has a nice ring to it, no?

Well this would be cool

Generally when we talk about Washington Avenue, we're harping on possible projects west of Broad Street. Despite the fact that the other half of Washington Avenue is more developed with residential uses and less of a moat between neighborhoods, it's still ripe with redevelopment opportunities. Recently, we learned from Passyunk Post that developers are eyeing the northeast corner of 6th & Washington for a major redevelopment. Currently, it's got three residential properties.

Current view

Next month, there's gonna be a presentation to QVNA for a seven-story building with ground-floor commercial and twelve apartments above. This would be a major change for this intersection, which has already seen some changes in recent years. A new building went up on the southeast corner a couple of years ago which is currently home to a dentist's office. Just to the south, a long-vacant property was replaced even more recently with a new mixed-use building.

Demolition could be a sign of things to come

With the growth of Northern Liberties on one side and South Kensington on the other, a bunch of new buildings have risen and some others are in the works on the West Girard corridor. In addition, some older buildings have been renovated, attracting new businesses. By the time you get to 7th Street though, most of that momentum has petered out. It actually gets kind of depressing, despite the presence of Tiffin on the 700 block. A couple of years ago, we showed you just how vibrant this area once was, with a collection of small businesses and the Girard Theater. The former theater has been a market for decades, a change that happened even when the block was still in good shape. Unfortunately, the current Fine Fare has been stripped of all the wonderful details that made the theater so grand.

A long time ago
Current view from the other direction

At the risk of repeating ourselves, it seems possible that this stretch could be poised for a recovery in the not-too-distant-future. At the corner of Marshall & Girard, developers purchased a double-wide shell about a year ago. Sometime over the last few months, they tore it down. The loss of those buildings is actually a big improvement for the block- they looked really bad.

And five homes will rise in its place

Earlier this month, developers from Greenpoint Developers, an offshoot of Tower Investments, presented plans to the Fishtown Neighbors Association to demolish a church at 1401-09 Marlborough St. and construct six homes with off-street parking in its place. The community was not impressed.

Church plus zoning notices

Neighbors interpreted the project as an attempt to squeeze a sixth house onto a too-small parcel, which led to a vote of five in support and thirty-one opposed at an FNA zoning meeting. Before anything can be built here, the former Pilgrim Congressional United Church of Christ, which we wrote about over the summer when it had just gone under contract, will have to be demolished. According to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair, after the presentation, members of the community talked and were able to pinpoint one decisive issue with the project that concerned them; the sixth house. Designed by Paul Drzal, the project proposed five single-family homes facing Marlborough Street with an awkwardly squeezed-in sixth house accessed on Belgrade Street, but pretty much facing the backs of the five homes on Marlborough Street.