Naked Philly

Mixed use for a vacant lot

A reader reached out to us the other day, wondering about a new hole in the ground on the 1300 block of Frankford Avenue. This block is one of our favorites in Fishtown, as it's home to La Colombe, Jinxed, and Kensington Quarters, among other businesses. And it's also steps away from the 1400 block (obviously), where there's all kinds of action going on.

Looking at the 1300 block of Frankford

Across from Snap Kitchen1317 Frankford Ave. has been sitting empty for a number of years, though for a long time it was a nicely landscaped, privately owned garden space. We especially appreciated the fishy details on the fence.

A few years ago

Developers bought the property last summer, and the garden space got a little overgrown in the interim. All of that is now in the past, of course, as construction has gotten started.

Replacing an overgrown lot

It's been a little while since we last checked in on the 3000 block of W. Stiles Street, as our last visit came over three years ago when we told you about a quartet of homes that were getting renovated. Like many others in Brewerytown, this block has been trending up in recent years, swapping blight for renovation. Despite this, a vacant lot has remained intact at 3018-22 W. Stiles St., seemingly ripe for new construction. It turns out, it's a little more complicated than it looks at first glance.

Building on Girard

The lots on Stiles Street are actually the overgrown rear yard of a six-unit building on Girard Avenue. In order for new homes to rise on Stiles Street, the owner of the property needs to subdivide it, a move that will require the approval of the ZBA. That's why representatives of the developer presented plans for three homes on Stiles Street to the Brewerytown-Sharswood Community Civic Association last week. The project got community support, which gives us a sense that the ZBA will likewise grant their blessing.

Some construction is forthcoming

Chain link fence is a very important part of our job. When we're cruising around town looking for stuff to write about, the sight of chain link fence is often a cue that development is brewing. Often, without knowing anything whatsoever about a property, we'll snap a couple of photos of a chain link fence with a plan to later look at the L&I Map to see whether a new project is on the horizon. When we realized that every corner of the 10th & Mount Vernon intersection boasted some chain link fence, we figured we'd have strong chance of discovering something new. And we were correct.

Southwest corner

First, the old news. A couple months ago, we told you that the old warehouse on the southwest corner would be demolished and replaced with five duplexes. We first brought this building to your attention in 2013, noting that it seemed like an attractive development opportunity. Checking in today, you'll note that the building still hasn't been demolished. No doubt though, it'll come down soon enough and construction will start on those duplexes. 

It's gone now but was certainly onto something

The weather is heating up, which means the Schuylkill River Trail is starting to get more and more use. And if you haven't visited our excellent riverfront park since last summer, you'll be disappointed to discover that the pothole underneath the Chestnut Street bridge which has been a nuisance for years still has not been repaired. Someone who regularly uses the trail has grown tired of this pothole and yesterday posted a sign on the fence surrounding the pothole to express their frustration. We snagged an image of this hilarious sign, which was posted to the Urbanphl Facebook page.

From yesterday, from the Urbanphl Facebook page

The sign was a parody of the sign that's been posted for the last few years, with the design being carefully copied. The parody sign, by the way, is already gone, so here's a look at the original sign.

Same developers as 500 Walnut are eyeing a similar project

In a city that's hilariously lacking in downtown cinemas, the small and artsy Ritz Five at 220 Walnut St. is somehow one of the best we've got. If we're to give the matter some thought though, we come to the conclusion that a one story movie theater isn't exactly the best use for a 15K sqft parcel in Society Hill. And at least one developer out there agrees with that sentiment.

Ritz Five

A couple weeks ago, developer Tom Scannapieco appeared before a crowd of roughly a hundred people at a Society Hill Civic Association meeting to present plans to demolish the Ritz Five and replace it with a high rise condo building. And Scannapieco knows a thing or two about this kind of project, as he previously built 1709 Rittenhouse and is now in the home stretch nearby at 500 Walnut. The plan calls for something very similar to 500 Walnut, with between 30 and 50 units that would be among the priciest in town on a per square foot basis. According to a story from Philadelphia Free Press, the project would also include the adjacent Nelson Building, which would get renovated into a lower rise use. Per a thread on Skyscraperpage, the theater would move from its current location to new digs inside a renovated Nelson Building. We don't quite know how that would work, but it sounds great.