Naked Philly

Bet the signs won't be quite so cool

We couldn't tell you when Relli's Bakery at 1850 W. Ritner St. closed their doors, but based on the signs on the storefront we'd guess it was open since at least the 1950s. Of course when we mention the signs on the storefront, we're actually referring to the signs that were formerly on the storefront. A reader contacted us earlier this week to let us know that the building is under construction and the retail space has been gutted.

In the past

Under construction

According to Passyunk Post, the space is being converted into a cafe which will be called Cafe Jeet Featuring Kay Kay's Cakes. This will be a collaboration between T&N Homemade Kitchen, a restaurant on Moyamensing Avenue, and Kay Kay's Cakes, a custom cake bakery. The cafe will include coffee, pastries, and specialty cakes along with made to order and prepared food. This will be a great addition to the neighborhood and should nicely complement the Taproom on 19th, located across the street.

At last, we could see Old City connect to Northern Liberties

Old City and Northern Liberties are both great places to live. The former has seen an explosion in high-price-point development, with dozens of mansions springing up on former surface parking lots. And let's not forget the long awaited and finally happening Bridge on Race Street project. The latter, meanwhile, had the "up and coming" label for years but we'd tell you that the neighborhood arrived quite some time ago. We've seen countless residential projects in Northern Liberties, along with steady improvement to the 2nd Street commercial corridor. These neighborhoods are adjacent to one another but it's rather unpleasant to walk between them because of the combination of the Vine Street Expressway overpass and the desolate stretch between Callowhill and Spring Garden Streets. A new project at 4th & Callowhill will seek to better knit these neighborhoods together.

Old buildings are already gone

There's a neighbor in Brewerytown that's been helping us out tremendously in recent weeks, pointing us in the direction of just about every project in the neighborhood. Today we'll direct your attention toward one of the many projects he's brought to our attention, this time across the street from Girard College. 1228-32 W. College Ave. is a roughly 5,000 sqft parcel and until quite recently it was home to a structure that had clearly seen better days. Once upon a time, this stuccoed edifice might have been four separate homes, but we're pretty sure they were combined at some point in their history.

In the past

The history of the structure is now largely academic, since it was torn down earlier this year.

Current view

As the demolition and the newish hole in the ground might suggest, this property is now getting redeveloped. After it was on and off the market for several years, developers snatched up the property in 2014, paying $120K. This price seems like a tremendous bargain just a couple years later. These developers are now undertaking a plan to build a new apartment building which will have 11 units and 6 parking spots. As far as we can tell, this is a by-right project, as the property is zoned for multi-family use.

What's replacing it?

At some point during the spring or summer, the Getty gas station at 21st & Oregon disappeared. This isn't really a big deal, since there's another gas station just two blocks away. But it does lead us to wonder what's happening with the property, which is now sitting vacant.

In the past

Current view

Looking at the L&I Map, we can see permits were pulled to demolish the building and also to remove underground storage tanks. This gives us an indication that there's a decent chance we won't see another gas station show up at this property. The zoning for the parcel is CA-1, a designation we confess we haven't seen so often in our travels. By right, there are a number of legal uses for the property including a personal care home, business and professional offices, a sit-down restaurant, consumer goods, and fortune teller. We'd think that the property would be ripe for redevelopment into a small shopping center, like the building to the west and the property across the street.

Homes will look pretty sweet

Remember last week, when we told you about a project coming soon to the 3300 block of Tulip Street and we were pretty much flabbergasted that multiple developers are building in this neck of the woods? In case you missed it, developers presented a plan to the ZBA earlier this month and got approval for seven triplexes and eleven new homes on this block, which sits around the corner from the Temple Northeastern Ambulatory Care Center and steps away from Aramingo Avenue.

Current view

In response to our story, the good folks at KJO Architecture reached out to provide us with some images that give an idea of what we can expect here in the near future. The units will have a very contemporary look to them, with casement windows and metal facades. We'd have perhaps expected a more industrial look, which would relate to many of the warehouses in the area. Then again, that's not something we've generally seen in former industrial neighborhoods with tons of new construction, so it doesn't necessarily follow that we'd see it in a neighborhood that's still largely industrial and commercial.