Naked Philly

Neighbors surely grateful

Three summers ago, we first told you about 1402 Ellsworth St. and an unpopular plan to build an addition onto the building to create three apartments within. By March of 2012, some work had taken place on the property after the ZBA approved the project, but efforts stalled when a community group appealed the decision. With our typical prescience, we worried that the project could be stuck in limbo for months or even years.

In the past

Regrettably, it was the latter. As recently as a couple of months ago, the sad remains of this building stood on the corner of Carlisle & Ellsworth, apparently held up by some angled timber. When we passed by earlier this week, though, we discovered that the building is now gone.

Another little Passyunk Square project

In Passyunk Square, developers continue to envision worthy investments. Last month, members of the Passyunk Square Civic Association heard a proposal to build three single-family homes near 7th & Wharton.

Demolition coming

Developers presented plans to build the homes at 738-44 Wharton St., which would replace an out-of-use one-story garage and former plumber's office. The parcel was purchased in December by Broad Bay Investors for $215K. This is an interesting example of infill development along a block that has a variety of two and three story row homes, some of which date back a century and some of which are only about a decade old. So we wonder whether the designs will reflect the traditional brick fabric or if the architects will use a more contemporary approach we've been seeing in other neighborhoods.

We were tossing a frisbee around in Chew Park last weekend, and while chasing an errant throw, spotted some construction on little Cleveland Street, close to Washington Avenue. We moved in for a better look and discovered that 1042 S. Cleveland St. had sprouted an addition. As recently as 2005, according to an old listing, this building was in crap condition. At some point, it got fixed up to the point of being livable, we think. But last September Tazaraz Dev LLC bought the property and proceeded to gut it and tear down the rear. And remove the cornice. They've rebuilt the back of the house, raised the height of the second floor, and added a set back third floor. Check it out.

Interesting addition

Truth be told, they had us until they took off the cornice. Maybe they'll put it back on the building? Eh, probably wishful thinking.

Meanwhile, around the corner on skinny Dorrance St., look for a new home soon at 1021 S. Dorrance St. after some delays. This home will rise next to an alarmingly homogenous stretch of garage-front homes. There was apparently a need to underpin the adjacent houses, which explains the construction delay. The developers, unless the property has changed hands, bought the lot back in 2009.

Hello mixed-use building

For at least a decade, 143 W. Girard Ave., one of the more interesting buildings in the area, has sat vacant. You've probably passed by here at some point and wondered about it yourself, since its signage is both prominent and memorable. We've probably had half dozen readers ask us about the "Lou's Crab Pad" building over the years, wondering why it's remained vacant and when it will be redeveloped. And to those who have been wondering, it seems the time has finally come.

In the past

Several readers gave us the heads up in recent days that the two buildings on the corner of Mascher & Girard are being demolished. While we're happy to see that this property is being redeveloped, we're pretty bummed that a building with such character will be departing this realm. With the demolition of the two buildings here, it of course begs the question of what's coming next. Regrettably, only demolition permits have been pulled to this point. But we did a little digging around and discovered some elevations drawings on the website for Ian Smith Design Group.

More progress in the area

A once-stalled new construction project along the 3300 block of Spring Garden Street near Drexel has been completed, but its next door neighbor is still a boarded up and blighted building.

In the past

When we passed by 3309 Spring Garden St. early this month, a new structure with a stucco exterior, as opposed to the traditional brick that compiles the majority of facades along this block, was finished. Looking back at an image of the building in 2011 via Google Maps, we see the ground-floor windows were boarded up and the stucco was unfinished. Looking at the L&I Map, it seems that work paused on the project for a couple of years before ramping up again in 2013. The same developer that built 3309 Spring Garden St. owns the blighted building next door. But recently pulled permits suggest that this building will be rehabbed, with three new apartments coming soon.