Naked Philly

Never a bad thing

In April of 2013, we told you about a new home rising at the corner of Orianna & Thompson in South Kensington. That home looks like it's done (as well it should be, a year plus later), though a construction fence remains around the property.

Home on the corner of Orianna St.

At the same time, we told you about two blighted homes on the 300 block of West Thompson Street. The homes lacked windows and generally looked all kinds of crappy. They were both tax delinquent to the extent that the City could have sent them to Sheriff's Sale. And according to a commenter, both were purchased with a fake deed, and the original owners were fighting in court to get their properties back.

In the past

We don't know whether it was something judicial or simply the market, but both homes have since turned over. Developers Thirty3 LLC bought 331 W. Thompson St. in April, and 333 W. Thompson St. last October. They wasted little time in demolishing the old buildings, and have framed out two new single family homes where they once stood. Note, the new homes have little boxes on them to hold the required permits. So it's all on the up and up.

Adding to the corridor

We remember back when The 700 was the place to be on 2nd Street, mostly because there weren't too many other places to go. Over the last decade plus, the 2nd Street corridor in Northern Liberties has experienced a dramatic resurgence. The Piazza is the big fish, drawing plenty of people to area businesses, and housing a few hundred more potential customers. But closer to Spring Garden Street, it's been a collection of small businesses that have slowly filled in the gaps along the corridor. And another space could soon get filled, after many years of vacancy.

Under construction

710 N. 2nd St. has been empty for over a decade, with its storefront boarded up. Avi Developers LLC purchased the building back in 2002, and their 4,500 sqft property has surely appreciated over those years. Finally, it seems they're renovating the property. According to FUSA Designs, the architects working on the project, there will be a commercial space on the first floor and three 2-bedroom apartments above. The renovation effort was apparently spurred by the fact that the new zoning code allows the project by right, and the old code required a variance for the project described above. Does anyone who lives in the neighborhood have any additional insight into the recent history of this property?

Any help would be great

We admit it, the Philadelphia street grid makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. When the grid breaks down though, we have problems; heck, we still get lost about 30% of the time we go to Fishtown. South Philly is pretty safe, grid-wide, with the notable exceptions of Moyamensing Avenue, Point Breeze Avenue, and Passyunk Avenue diagonaling things up for everyone. Sometimes, those diagonal streets hit the grid in such a way that a scary and chaotic intersection gets created. Which brings us to the six-point intersection of Reed Street, 10th Street, and Passyunk Avenue.

Scary intersection

This intersection sucks for everyone. Drivers get impatient and sometimes get stuck in the middle of the intersection. Pedestrians, especially considering the number of people from outside the neighborhood visiting Passyunk Avenue, can get confused. And as an added bonus, there's some metal tracks in the street from a discontinued trolley line to make bike travel a little more dangerous.

Finally, it seems the City has recognized that this intersection could stand to see some improvement, and a project is now underway to make it safer. According to Passyunk Post, the $400K project will expand curbs to reduce crossing distances, add pedestrian signals, improve sidewalks, and include other traffic-calming efforts. There aren't plans for any greenery to be added, but PARC is attempting to at least get some tree pits to be used at a later date. The project, when we passed by the other day, was humming along.

We don't believe it

In general, residential developers in Philadelphia prefer a lot that's at least sixteen feet wide. Fifteen-wide lots are considered acceptable, and fourteen-wide lots are usually as tight as you're gonna see. Last year, we came upon a troika of twelve-wide homes on Hagert Street from the Brickstone Group that sold relatively quickly, though at a discount of maybe thirty percent off the going rate for new construction in the neighborhood. Today, we look at some more skinny homes on the way on Coral Street in East Kensington.

One new skinny home and foundations for two more

As you can see, the slender 2231 Coral St. has already gone up. The arrangement of the windows on the facade doesn't help you forget that it ain't the widest house on the block. This home is the work of developer Luval Inc., which is currently pouring two foundations next door. Previously, a home stood where one of those foundations is going, but the developers opted to tear it down and build new rather than rehab. The homes are listed for sale, from right to left, for $310K, $310K, and $330K. If they can approach those prices, it would represent a dramatic increase over what the homes sold for on Hagert Street just last year.

Quadplex appears, and a home is coming next

This row of lots just south of 8th & McKean sat vacant for many years.

In the past

Last year though, developers stepped forward and built a quadplex that covered two of the lots. Sure, the new building at 2008-10 S. 8th St. won't win any architecture awards, but the fact that the building got built in the first place at this location is a bit of a triumph. If you read this blog with any regularity, you know we cover development all over greater Center City. And the fact is, there haven't been too many projects to speak of in this area, probably for decades.

Newish quadplex

Notice the pile of lumber next to the quadplex? Soon, a new construction single-family home will rise here.

New home coming

Though there's only a foundation so far, the home is already listed for sale for a (surprisingly high) price of $369,900. When it's done, the home will have over 2,000 sqft of living space, four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a roof deck, and so forth. If someone steps forward to buy the thing pre-construction, they'll be able to pick out fixtures and finishes. So if you want to own your Barbie dream house in South Philly, this could be your chance.