Naked Philly

But we don't know what

Amber Street in East Kensington is getting more development, we just aren't sure exactly what form it will take. Last week, a reader gave us the heads up that a one-story building at 2319 Amber St. had been demolished. The building was previously home to a car mechanic shop, so there's a bunch of existing curb cuts on the property.

In the past
Now a vacant lot

Developers purchased the property earlier this year but what they'll build here remains to be seen. The lot, which measures over 4,000 sqft, has a bit of an irregular shape which would make it easy to build two really wide but needlessly long homes. Or you could build five homes at normal width, but not really deep enough. Alternately, three buildings with apartments could be a way to go. But we'll leave it to the architects to figure it out, and then to the community to chime in, since the property is inappropriately zoned for single-family use. One thing we can pretty much guarantee, it won't go back to being used as a garage.

But we actually lived there once upon a time

You've probably never visited the 1200 block of Annin Street. It's a skinny block that looks like it dead-ends at its western end (but there's actually a narrow path out to Federal Street). Architecturally, it's a very mixed bag, with a row of newer-looking garage-front homes with driveways, a couple of standard Philly row homes, and a bunch of former warehouses that have been converted, mostly into residential use.

Looking west on the 1200 block of Annin Street
Former warehouses converted to residential
More warehouse conversions

We actually lived on this block back in the day, in a building that was once a toilet seat factory but was converted, at some point, into five apartments with 1:1 parking. It was a fine place to live for a year, and it was kind of fun to come back to cover a proposed project for the block.

Past our typical coverage area but still worth noting

In West Philly, a trench laden with railroad tracks separates the Mantua and Parkside neighborhoods. Some north-south streets, like 40th Street, pass over the tracks. Others, like 39th Street, stop in Mantua and pick up again in Parkside. 41st Street stands alone in that it once allowed travel between the neighborhoods, but due to a structurally unsound bridge it's been a dead-end for several years. But not for much longer.

Image from 2009. It was closed even before then.

A $10.8M project to demolish and rebuild the deteriorating bridge will once again allow travel between the neighborhoods on 41st Street. This bridge, though somewhat beyond our usual coverage area, runs between Mantua Avenue and Poplar Street.

The new bridge will be a "two-span, continuous structure with architectural concrete parapets and fencing," according to a Streets Department press release. The proposed roadway will include "two travel lanes with wide shoulders and sidewalks, new street lighting, signing, line striping, ADA curb ramps, and enhanced safety features."

It's a massive construction site

Amazingly, it's been almost a year since we last checked in on the huge CHOP project on Schuylkill Avenue. At that time, the former Springfield Beer Distributor air hangar was in the process of being demolished and the former JFK Vocational School was next on the, ahem, "chopping" block. The months have rolled off the calendar and the old beer distributor building is long gone. The school, originally built as a Marine Corps Supply Depot, has likewise been torn down, though that effort took a little while. Today, we see a bonafide construction site.

Seems like a reasonable way to go

For the thirsty hordes that typically descend on Manayunk every weekend, a project currently under construction has slightly diminished the parking options. Previously, 4304 Cresson St. was a parking garage. Considering its location underneath the rail tracks, this seemed like an extremely reasonable use for this big old building. Incidentally, a public swimming pool was located here at least until the 1960s, so it's possible the building wasn't so old after all.

In the past

But that's pretty much an academic conversation at this point since the building is all but demolished. A new building has risen from its ashes.