Naked Philly

Glad the building has stuck around

We were cruising through Grays Ferry the other day and some construction caught our eye at 30th & Dickinson. We don't spend so much time in this neighborhood so we confess, we didn't remember what had been here before. Thanks to the magic of Google Street View though, we quickly discovered that it was previously a one-story warehouse with a sweet mural preaching the virtue of "Common Ground." Today, it's a pile of dirt and some construction equipment.

Former view at 30th & Dickinson

Construction at 30th & Dickinson

So... what's happening here? Don't get too excited guys, permits indicate that this property will turn into a parking lot. You may be wondering, what's the need for a parking lot at 30th & Dickinson? We're pretty sure it'll be for the Carl Moore Health Center, located at the other end of this block, at 31st & Reed. This place opened in September and is associated with GPHA, and offers various medical services, including family medicine, dental care, behavioral health, nutrition, and podiatry.

Would fill in another vacant lot

It was just a couple of months ago that we last visited the 1900 block of Cecil B. Moore Ave., telling you about plans for 24 units on a large vacant lot. That project, at 1913-1919 Cecil B. Moore Ave., got approval from the ZBA shortly after and construction should be getting started sometime soon. We're generally fine with this, as it's almost always good when a vacant lot bites the dust.

Back in January

Our concern at the time, which remains with us still, was that the design of the new student housing project would be, uh, utilitarian, like so much of the other new construction we've seen around this area over the last number of years. And that (valid) concern remains. The situation is exacerbated on this block by a number of really attractive old buildings, including the cinema turned church in the image above. Unfortunately, as we've covered before, developers built some regrettable stucco boxes next door to that building a few years back which stand among our least favorite buildings in town.

One of the properties has been blighted for years

Several readers reached out last week, excitedly sharing the news about some demolition happening at the Grays Ferry & Carpenter intersection. We knew that this couldn't be happening on the southwest corner, as that property is owned by the Veolia plant around the corner and contains several large large tanks of who knows what. The northwest corner has some newer homes, so we figured it was an unlikely candidate. And then our hearts lept. We've been frustrated by the blighted building on the southeast corner for many years, complaining about it in a post in 2013. At the time, we noted that the back of the property had collapsed and we wondered whether the rest could follow. According to L&I though, that wasn't going to happen. Still, every time we passed this building, we felt our blood pressure rise.

Back in 2013

We visited the intersection the other day and holy moly, the place is getting torn down.

Current view

According to public record, the same people that have owned the property since 1983 are still the owners. Looking at the permits, it's pretty clear that this isn't a City ordered demolition, like we expected several years ago. We'd wager that developers have purchased this building but it hasn't been reflected in public record, and they are tearing it down with plans to build a new home in its place. But wait, there's more demolition!

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.