Naked Philly

City agencies and private owners for a change

The other day, after a visit to Brewerytown, we were taking College Ave. to get across town and noticed some blight at 2221 N. College Ave., a triangular property that's formed by the intersection with W. Thompson Street. Surely, this building was once a very interesting structure, given the unique footprint of the property. But looking at historical Google Street View maps, the thing has been vacant since at least 2009 and it's lacked a roof for the last few years. Developers bought the property back in 2012 and started doing some work (perhaps explaining the lack of a roof) but now there's a bunch of violations that they're ostensibly working to correct. In the meantime, the property looks like crap.

An interesting and unfortunate shell

In case you've never seen this part of College Ave. in person, Girard College sits directly to the south, on the other side of a handsome old stone wall.

Definitely a change for the better

This past winter, we told you about plans to demolish a two-story garage at 1817 Wylie St., a plan that was on its face a good thing. With all of the residential development that's taken place throughout the area in recent years, the garage simply didn't fit into the fabric of the neighborhood moving forward. On the other hand, the building boasted a fun graffitti-mural that we always enjoyed, so it was a bummer to lose that bit of street art. But alas, in changing neighborhoods that kind of thing is gonna happen.

In the past

Going by this address today, not even a year later, you'll find two new buildings from MJL Properties, each of which contains four units. At one of the buildings, three of the units have sold and it looks like the last one could soon have a buyer too. For the second building, three units are available for sale and one is under agreement. While it's true that these buildings don't blend in with the older buildings in the area, we're into the contemporary look.

Two new homes coming soon

Recently, a couple of readers have reached out, asking about some demolition on Susquehanna Ave. between Amber and Coral Streets. We last visited this block a couple years ago, when plans came out for three new homes, replacing some older structures and a vacant lot. Those homes are now, as you can imagine, complete. Just up the street, 2046 and 2048 E. Susquehanna Ave. had been vacant and blighted for years.

In the past

When we passed by here earlier this week, the scene was radically different.

Current view

You can see, the old homes have been partially demolished, though we'd have to imagine that they'll be fully torn down in the coming weeks. There are permits on the books for new homes here, though they technically aren't being considered new construction but "additions" instead. We confess, we don't quite understand why the developers are taking this route but that's what we're seeing. The good news is that two long blighted properties will finally stop bringing down the block.

Two homes under construction, apartments proposed around the corner

We don't get to Grays Ferry too often, mostly because there's not usually much to talk about over there in terms of development. But we meandered under the terrifying 25th Street viaduct the other day and happened upon a some brewing excitement at the northwest corner of 26th & Federal. At the corner sits the Progressive Worship Center. But to the north and the west, we have some news to share.

Looking up 26th St.
Two homes under construction

At 1134 and 1136 S. 26th St., two vacant lots have disappeared and two framed-out homes have arrived in their place. Cormac Mcaleer bought one of the lots back in 2009 and the other in 2010. In the years since, he's been biding his time, building homes in other places, like Graduate Hospital, Point Breeze, and Francisville. But now he's back to these properties and will surely put them up for sale soon. With prices spiking in Point Breeze, it will be fascinating to see how much someone will be willing to pay here. Stay tuned.

Will sit next to a glass factory, like in the old days

The Paul Rabinowitz Glass Factory at 1401-15 N. American St., a building that sits across the street from Crane Arts, will soon get an earring of sorts, in the form of four new homes. The new units will face the alley-sized N. Philip St., replacing a large vacant lot on the block. This spring South Kensington Community Partners supported the proposal from Momentum Development, a group that has done other projects in the area, like 924-28 New Market St. in Northern Liberties. Developers began the community process this spring, and tweaked designs a small amount to meet the rear yard depth requirement. Designed by KJO Architecture, the project received ZBA approval in June.