Naked Philly

Warehouses, blight, and vacant land, oh my

The other day, we directed your attention to a blighted building on N. College Ave., thanks a tip from the guy that runs the @genbrewerytown Instagram account. We were looking through some previous images on the feed and noticed 2538 W. Oxford St., an old warehouse with a 'For Sale' sign on it. Always on the lookout for possible development opportunities, we figured we'd check it out in person.

Looking west on the 2500 block of W. Oxford

When we made the trek to this block, we discovered a some rough looking but occupied buildings, a number of blighted buildings, a row of vacant lots, and a couple of old warehouses. This block is actually loaded with potential, but we don't know when or if it will fulfill that promise.

New cafe is easy on the eyes

Ever been to Rival Brothers Coffee at 24th & Lombard? This little coffee shop has been one of our favorites in the city since they opened back in 2014, in a space that was previously occupied by Taste Buds Market. They roast their own coffee, offer pastries from High Street, and have a limited number of sandwichy options. We recommend the peanut butter toast. The biggest issue with this place is the size. With only half a dozen tables or so, it's not uncommon to walk in and see a packed house, and turn around and walk out the door. It seems the owners recognized this issue, as they have just opened a larger second location at 1528 Spruce St., in a retail space in the Touraine.

One project is already sold out

We were passing through South Kensington the other day and figured we'd update you on a pair of residential projects moving forward near 6th & Jefferson. First, let's look at the project that started first, on the southwest corner of the intersection. We first told you about this five-home project a little less than a year ago, when the property was sitting vacant, as it had for at least a decade.

Southwest corner of 6th & Jefferson

That's not an empty lot anymore. We were initially alerted to this project by a sign that had been posted to the property, advertising the upcoming construction. That sign indicated that these homes would be priced starting at $325K. These are three bedroom, three bathroom homes with parking which would sell for over $500K just a few blocks to the south or a few blocks to the east, so this sounded like a deal that was too good to be true. Many buyers agreed, it seems, as all of the homes in this project are now under agreement at a price of $350K. With development picking up in this part of the neighborhood, the homes still seem underpriced at that number.

Unless the neighbors fight against it

Over the last five summers, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has taken over underused properties in neighborhoods around town, greened them, and created pop-up beer gardens. Last year, pop-ups operated on South Street West and at the base of the finally under construction Rail Park. Previous incarnations have appeared on South Broad Street, on Walnut Street near Rittenhouse, and at the bottom of the Italian Market. This summer, PHS is looking to partner with NKCDC to open a pop-up beer garden at 1825 Frankford Ave., a 10K sqft lot that's used as a garden center by the community organization. Sounds fun, right?

At least the construction workers can easily snag a bagel

The Graduate Hospital neighborhood is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in town these days, offering close proximity to Rittenhouse but not commanding Rittenhouse prices. Yet. As recently as fifteen years ago though, this was a neighborhood in transition and you could still buy a shell for well under a hundred grand. The 700 block of 20th Street was, at that time, a mix of vacant land, older buildings, and a smattering of new construction. Today there's nary a vacant lot and just about every property is either relatively new or has been renovated in recent memory. Actually, let's track back that last statement- there's now one vacant lot on the block.