Naked Philly

Build your dream home in Wash West!

Have you always wanted to live in the Washington Square West neighborhood but you've never been able to find the right home for you? Do you have many millions of dollars and a craving for new construction? Would you also dig on the idea of building a dream home for yourself and some well heeled friends? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then we may have just the development opportunity for you. Recently, a listing for 1325 Rodman St. came across our desk and the property has quite a bit of redevelopment potential.

Apartment building coming next door too

A century ago, the 900 block of Marshall Street was home to a bustling outdoor market, with hundreds of pushcart vendors hawking all manner of products. By the time the 1960s rolled around, the changing neighborhood and the threat of an urban renewal plan meant an end to the pushcarts on Marshall Street, and the block began a slow decline that persisted until very recently. A couple years ago, we were excited to see some buildings rising here, closer to Poplar Street, and that has slowly continued ever since.

A bunch of newer buildings close to Poplar Street

Today we look a little bit to the north on this same block, where an old building will soon be renovated into apartments and two buildings will rise on either side of it. At 980 N. Marshall St., the Kneses Israel Anshe S'fard built a synagogue in 1909 for $1,000, according to a story from the Jewish Exponent. The congregation moved away in the 1960s, and the building was most recently home to the Emmanuel Full Gospel Temple. Despite the fact that the building has been a church for many years now, you can still see the original Hebrew inscription at the top of the building's facade.

Could apartments be possible for this location?

Grays Ferry has seen some amount of redevelopment in the last few years, but most of it has been limited to the northern and eastern section of the neighborhood. That's why we were fairly shocked to hear from a reader that spotted zoning notices at a vacant lot at 3229 Tasker St., across the street from Audenried High School and just a few steps from I-76.

Zoning notices
View of Audenried at 32nd & Tasker
Looking toward I-76

This parcel is quite large, measuring over 6,000 sqft, and could accommodate a large number of apartments by right, since it's zoned for multi-family use. On the other hand, we're not too sure that people would clamor to live so close to a highway onramp. We thought it was quite odd for this parcel to be zoned for residential use, we'd think that commercial or industrial would make much more sense given the proximity of the highway. Digging a little deeper though, we discovered that most of this pocket is similarly zoned.

Across the street from Sidecar

Things sure have changed in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood in the last decade. Back then, vacant homes still dotted the streets and some large parcels remained, ripe for redevelopment. There were a few more churches, too. Today, but a handful of vacant lots remain and we can't think of too many large parcels left in the neighborhood. As such, a lot of the development we're seeing here these days involves renovation of existing buildings or the complete demolition of existing buildings and the construction of something all new in their place. Such is the case for two adjacent properties on the 2200 block of Christian Street.

The view in the past
Current view

Developers acquired 2204 and 2206 Christian St. last year, paying $340K (yikes!) for the former and a much more appropriate $230K for the latter. The old homes are now getting torn down, and new buildings will rise in their place. The permits aren't clear about exactly what we can expect here, but given the purchase price and the multi-family zoning for the properties, we'd wager on condos. Perhaps we'll see duplexes, or maybe even triplexes. And with Sidecar trucking along across the street, this would seem like an ideal location for anyone looking to move to the neighborhood.

And they're much bigger than they look

A formerly wooded stretch of Manayunk Avenue is slowly transforming into a row of new homes. In the past, this side of the 4000 block of Manayunk Avenue looked like this:

In the past

If you pass by today though, you'll see a very different scene.

Second phase of homes have gray brick

News of this project first came out at the end of 2012, according to the Roxborough-Manayunk Patch. The twelve-home project has been built in two phases, with the first five homes finishing in 2014. Those homes sold in the mid-$400K range. Despite a fire about half a year ago, the second phase has been slowly going up, and a few are currently listed at prices a little below and a little above $600K.

Head-on view of a second phase home

Though it may appear to be the case at a quick glance, these are not two-story homes. Like other projects in Manayunk, these homes sit on a steep hill and have additional stories "below grade." Each home has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, parking, and over 3,000 sqft of living space. And the views ain't bad, either.