Brewerytown obviously has a historic connection to industry, as its name strongly suggests. These days, industrial uses are pretty much absent around these parts, but the neighborhood’s urban environment serves as a regular reminder of its past. To wit, several large scale projects have appeared within the neighborhood over the last several years on parcels that were used for industrial purposes once upon a time. Without those sizable properties allowing for sizable projects, we believe we’d be seeing much more incremental change in the neighborhood. Instead, large apartment buildings are appearing, dramatically increasing the population of the area and therefore improving the economic viability of new businesses on West Girard. As the corridor gets better, more people become interested in living in the neighborhood and rents tick up, further incentivizing additional large scale development. Look for this to continue until all the big old industrial properties get redeveloped.
Sprinkled into the big projects are plenty of one or two or three off residential developments. Because the neighborhood experienced tremendous disinvestment over the last several years, Brewerytown had more than its share of blighted buildings in need or renovation and vacant lots where homes once stood. In addition, there are a number of homes in the neighborhood which never reached blighted status but have still gone on the market, undergone some rehab activity, and come back as flips or rentals. That’s kind of what’s happening at 3012-16 W. Thompson St., a trio of two-story homes on a block that’s seen some larger scale development in the last few years.
The image above is from a couple years back, when the three homes were seemingly occupied. If you pass by the homes today though, they look a little different.
A single developer purchased all three homes over the last year, and is pursuing a similar plan across each of the homes. You can clearly see, each home is getting a third floor addition, which unfortunately means that the old cornices, which were all intact, have disappeared. We couldn’t tell you whether the homes are getting sold or rented when the construction is through, but we can tell you that they’ll have picked up some considerable value from the extra square footage. We’re just sorry that it’s coming at the expense of an architectural detail; at least the homes won’t have eight foot setbacks for the third floors. Let’s be grateful for the little things.
These renovations are a fine example of smaller scale development in Brewerytown, but there are examples of the other side of the spectrum very close by. You can see in the photo above, a 26-unit apartment building is progressing nicely at 30th & Thompson, a project we told you about before. This was the site of an old warehouse which actually had some active and interesting industrial uses, but we’d still argue that the apartment building is an improvement for the site. Just to the west, meanwhile, is the Flats at 31 Brewerytown project. This project appeared a few years back, replacing a long vacant lot with dozens of rental apartments. Collectively, these projects show the large and small ways in which Brewerytown is changing, and honestly we don’t see things slowing down any time soon.