At the corner of 17th & Alter, just a few steps south of Washington Avenue, we recently discovered a building getting demolished. 1112 S. 17th St. was, for many years, a church, and was most recently home to the Commission Community Church of God. Before that, it was known at the 17th Street Church of God, and prior to that we could not tell you. It doesn't look like the building was originally constructed to be a church, but it doesn't look like it was built to be a home either.
In the past
Whatever the building pictured above was originally built for is moot at this point, as it's now getting torn down. We passed by the other day and discovered the 2nd story is gone. The rest will surely follow.
Developers bought the property back in February and are planning a new single-family home on the site. Considering the 17.5' x 62' footprint of the parcel, it's gonna be a really nice house that may even have parking in the rear. The home will have some downsides though. As you can see, there are warehouses immediately next door to and right behind the future home. But we'd wager that those are just temporary inconveniences. It seems like it's only a matter of time before those buildings also meet the wrecking ball and new homes rise in their place. And we'd wager it will happen sooner rather than later.
In the spring of 2012, a Subway franchise opened near 46th & Baltimore. At the time, several neighbors decried the move- some were upset because it was a chain and others that were worried customers would zip in and out of a parking alley behind the adjacent homes.
The store had a 10-year-lease, but it closed this past winter. At the time, the Spruce Hill Community Association was told that Subway was actively engaging new tenants for the spot. But the space, at 4533 Baltimore Ave., has remained shuttered. Now, plans for a new tenant have emerged and work has been ongoing at the site.
The intersection of 7th & Fairmount has seen some excitement of late, and there's more on the horizon. Remember last summer, a new Federal Donuts location opened up on the northeast corner, replacing a shuttered corner store. It's a really nice looking place, and the donuts are pretty good too. At the time, we were hopeful that the new FedNuts location might spur additional residential development nearby. Sure, Northern Liberties has seen tons of construction in recent years, but much of it has happened to the east of here- 7th & Fairmount technically isn't even inside the neighborhood boundaries.
We don't imagine it's directly related to the delicious fried products now produced at this intersection, but there is indeed some new development on the way nearby. The northwest corner is currently under construction, with heavy machinery digging some holes. The endgame here is a project that's been called the Franklin Court Townhomes.
Improving access to Philadelphia's waterfronts has been like a mandate for the civic placemaking arm of the Nutter administration, and in neighborhoods across the city that mandate has been put into action. Recent examples include the now completed Schuylkill River Boardwalk. Or Race Street Pier, along the Delaware.
Race Street Pier
Bartram's Mile is another vision to create a trail along the western banks of the Schuylkill connecting the Grays Ferry Crescent—another relatively recent green space development located along the eastern banks of the Schuylkill under the Gray's Ferry Bridge—with Southwest Philly.
For many years, Walnut Street has been Center City's ritziest commercial corridor, the place that every high-end retailer wants to sell their wares. Still, a few holdouts have stubbornly remained, resembling a sore thumb more and more as time has passed. Several tenants at the attractive building at 1501 Walnut St. were holdovers from another era, with a small corner store holding down the corner of 15th & Walnut and then a tailor shop and a shoe repair place as you went up 15th Street.
In the past
But time she is a cruel mistress, and change is the only constant. Last year, PREIT bought the building, and all of those businesses are now but a memory. If you pass by the building today, you'll see that the first and second floors have been gutted. Looking at the old storefronts and window treatments, you'll agree that this is a good thing.