The 1600 block of South Street has become much more delicious in the last couple of years as a bevy of new restaurants have joined the South Street West corridor. Tio Flores was the most recent addition, opening a few months back at the corner of 16th & South in a space that was originally eyed by New York-based Calexico. Founding Fathers Sports Bar opened a little over a year ago in the middle of the block, joining byob Entree, brunch spot Miles Table, and pie place Magpie, all of which have only been around for a couple of years. Indian Restaurant, which is exactly what it's called, is located a bit closer to 17th Street and predates all of these places and will soon celebrate its 5th birthday.
We've passed by the former warehouse at 1601 N. Front St. many times over the last several months, repeatedly telling ourselves to find out what's going on with the property. To give some detail, this old warehouse next to the El has been getting work done for quite some time, seeing old windows blown out and a small building demolished at the corner of Front & Oxford.
A project has been in the works for this property for quite some time, but zoning board hearings were continued several times last year. We suspected that this was because of community opposition, but the architects suggested that the community had no problem with the final project or its earlier iterations. The repeated continuances had more to do with slight changes in the plan and nothing to do with pushback from the neighborhood. Good to know.
As we told you before, the project will mean the conversion of the building in the photo above into a combination restaurant/parking space and it will also mean the addition of three stories above with twelve apartment units. Two homes are coming on Amber Street and six more will rise on Martha Street. And we're digging the renderings, especially the new addition to the existing building.
Passing through West Philly the other day, we noticed some new construction on the 3800 block of Hamilton. The new building at 3810 Hamilton St., recently framed, sticks out from a distance as it rises above its neighbor.
View from the corner of 38th & Hamilton
Looking at the project, we assumed that the new structure was replacing a vacant lot or perhaps a blighted building. But we were wrong. About five years ago, the property was listed for sale as a four-bedroom single-family home and it was apparently in pretty good shape. According to the listing, the property had undergone some renovation but maintained some original architectural details as well. Looking at an old photo, it looks like it was a twin with the home next door.
Developers have gone back to the drawing board and now they're giving it another shot at 2011 Amber St. in East Kensington. A few months back, we told you about a two-pronged plan for this property to 1) convert a structure that looks like it was once an auto garage into artist studios, and 2) build seven homes on Martha Street. The project was continued from the ZBA three times before the developers withdrew their application. We still don't know why, but we'd assume it was due to neighborhood opposition.
Another view from down the block
This week, the developers will try again at the ZBA with a revised plan. The new application calls for a three-story addition to the existing building with twelve apartments on the upper floors and it also mentions a plan for a first-floor restaurant. Instead of seven homes on Martha Street, this plan calls for eight homes, two of which will have parking. There will be another eleven parking spots, which we assume will be shared by the homes and the apartments. After over a year of delays, we're cautiously optimistic that this plan will finally get heard and approved by the ZBA. And assuming it does get approval, it will have some company across the street.