Naked Philly

Or maybe we'll wait for a bunch of years

In Northern Liberties, countless warehouses have been demolished in favor of new development, with huge projects like the Piazza and Liberties Walk filling the space earlier on, and with new construction single family homes taking over more recently. Earlier this week, a reader tipped us off that another warehouse could bite it soon, though we confess we have no idea what would happen on the site if and when it does.

Self Storage building

For years, Northern Liberties Self Storage has dominated a lengthy stretch of N. 2nd Street, a mostly faceless old warehouse in the thick of a thriving commercial corridor. Tower Investments bought the former Esco warehouse at 828 N. 2nd St. about a decade ago, which is about when we would imagine it was converted into the self storage facility. A wonderful building at the corner of Poplar Street, which came with the property, sat vacant for a long time until it was demolished earlier this year.

Needs to grow to meet community demand

11th & Parrish is few blocks north of the boatload of residential development we've seen in West Poplar in recent years, but it's currently a construction site. Right on the northwest corner is the 11th Street Family Health Services building, which is a nurse-managed health center run by Drexel.

The medical center

It seems though, that demand for health services has outstripped the capabilities of the facility, as it's now in the early stages of an expansion. Last year, the center accommodated 32,000 patient visits, which is kind of an astonishing number when you stop and think about it. After the expansion is finished, those numbers will certainly rise as the facility doubles in size. According to a press release, the expansion will result in an increase in primary care capacity, will include space for dance, music, and art therapy, will add Couple and Family Therapy services. The expansion is possible thanks to a $2.5M donation from the Sheller Family Foundation, and the expanded building will be named the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center once construction finishes next year.

The better to take your money, my dearie

If you're a poker fan you'll soon have 24-hour options in town, as Sugarhouse broke ground on its $154M expansion last month. The new expansion will more than double the square footage of the casino, and almost double the size of the gaming floor as well. That means almost new slots, new table games, and a dedicated poker room. We first told you about revised plans for the expansion last April right before they were scheduled to be reviewed by the State Gaming Board.

Not the Revel
Construction activity

The expansion, designed by Cope Linder Architects, will occur north of the current site at Frankford & Delaware Ave. and is void of the hotel originally promised to be included during an expansion. It will include a multi-purpose room with waterfront views and a seven-story garage will abut the almost hotel looking exterior and add a little over five-hundred new spaces. There's also space for four new waterfront restaurants (two of which are already spoken for), and a reserved space for a ballroom complex with riverfront views that is scheduled for a later phase. A wedding or bar-mitzvah at Sugarhouse? Maybe some day.

Building goes back hundreds of years

A couple years ago, we told you about the Spafford House at Front & Bainbridge in Queen Village, noting that it was vacant and available for sale. The building was constructed in 1762 according to QVNA, and was originally home to William Spafford, who made his living as a sea captain and slave trader. Shortly after Spafford's death in 1768, the home was auctioned off by the sheriff. And in a neat case of historical symmetry, the property went to sheriff's sale again in 1992 and once more in 2011. Most recently, it was home to Tori's Brickhouse, a restaurant that cleared out back in 2006.

Current view

In 2012, the building was on the market for $425K though it sold for a more reasonable $300K earlier this summer. A year ago, the previous owners took the property to the ZBA and got approvals to convert it from a restaurant use back to a single family home. This came after what we believe was an aborted effort two years ago to demolish the rear garages and build a new four story structure.

Developer wants to reuse a church?!?

Passing by the former East Baptist Church at 1236 E. Columbia Ave., you wouldn't think twice about it. It's a nice looking building architecturally, though it looks like it needs a little TLC. If you live nearby though, you know the building has been vacant for years, ever since the non-profit that owned it went bankrupt. According to a two-year old thread on, neighbors were trying to get the property forced to sheriff's sale, and they apparently succeeded last summer. Metal Green Inc purchased the building for $385K- much less than the asking price of $1.4M when the propertly was listed for sale back in 2008.

Old church on Columbia Ave.

Yesterday, a reader gave us the heads up that they received a notification letter from the property owners regarding an upcoming RCO meeting about the property. According to the letter, the developers intend to convert the building into fifteen apartment units. They need a zoning variance because the 7,200 sqft property is inappropriately zoned for a single family home. If the property were zoned for multi-family, they would be allowed sixteen units by right, so asking for fifteen units seems completely appropriate. We imagine that they will get some near neighbor pushback due to a lack of parking, but parking just isn't possible for this site if they're saving the building.