We were dodging the raindrops in South Kensington today and happened upon a building under construction on the southeast corner of Hancock & Thompson. This property had been sitting vacant for a number of years, surrounded by a fence overgrown with ivy. Developers bought the parcel about a year and quickly set about building an eight-unit residential building, a project which happened to be by-right. They've made some nice progress thus far.
In the past
Harman Deutsch did the design work for this project, and thanks to the listings for the condo units in the building, we can show you an elevations drawing which will give you a sense of what the building will look like when it's finished. We're into the look, and especially appreciate the double hung multi-pane windows. Though it'll be new construction, it will probably look like a warehouse conversion, and that fits in well for this neighborhood.
We remembered none of this when we happened upon the sign, and were excited about the prospect of walking through a gigantic double-wide home. It turns out the 'Open House' sign was fake news anyway, so we're a little less disappointed now that we realize it's just a couple of standard renovated homes. Perhaps thanks to a prior open house, the developers have gotten one of the homes under agreement at a list price of $600K.
Third floor additions
Across the street, different developers are working on a new construction single family home. A row home was standing at 1115 Federal St. until a few years ago, but got demolished somewhere along the line. And then the property sat vacant for a little while. We'd think that the new home will sell for a higher price than the rehab across the street, though it hasn't been listed for sale as of yet.
The west side of Washington Avenue has changed dramatically over the years, slowly shifting along the industrial spectrum. A hundred years ago, businesses along Washington Avenue were all heavy industrial, with manufacturing mixed with lumber yards mixed with smelting plants. In more recent decades, old warehouses were repurposed and Washington Avenue has become a haven for building supply companies. This has been a boon for contractors, especially as the Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze neighborhoods have experienced so much construction. It's not as great for the people who live in either of those neighborhoods, as nobody likes dodging a forklift just a couple blocks from their home.
Slowly though, the atmosphere is shifting on Washington Avenue. Restaurants are popping up, like the tasty Cafe Ynez on the 2000 block and the recently opened Chick's on the 1800 block. Not only are restaurants making their way to Washington Avenue, but other types of businesses have also appeared, targeting residents and not contractors. The north side of the 1900 block of Washington Avenue provides a (very convenient and also a) decent example of the changing environment on the corridor.
Ah, 325 S. 18th St., our great white whale. This property was the very thing that first piqued our interest in real estate over a decade ago, as we wondered how a building on one of the primest corners in town could be sitting blighted and crumbling. It was with some naivete that we started doing research on the property, thinking that nobody else had gotten the idea to try to buy the place over the years. Needless to say, we were not alone in trying to buy the place. And in failing to do so, we were in some great company.
Remember, just a few years ago, it seemed like Wawa didn't love us anymore? The iconic local convenience store/spiritual experience closed multiple downtown locations, and it seemed like Wawa was focused on growing their presence in the 'burbs with supersized locations that included gas stations. The last few years we've seen a major pivot, as Wawa has come back to Center City in a big way. They've opened a new location on Broad Street. Additional locations are coming soon at 13th & Chestnut and 22nd & South. And there are surely some others that aren't springing to mind.
Today, we got word of yet another Wawa location that's coming soon, at the corner of 12th & Market. The Wawa will fill the corner space in the 2nd apartment tower of East Market, a project which has been rising over the bones of the zombified Snellenburg's department store for the last couple years. We last updated you on this project a couple months ago, when developer National Real Estate Development officially secured financing for this next phase of the project. Construction has progressed well since then, but we're too excited to snap a new photo right now. So we'll just share the image we got a couple months back: