Bella Vista

Homes will replace it, like we told ya

Over the summer, we shared the news that Lily Development was planning seven new homes over the 700 blocks of Bainbridge and Kater Streets. Some kind of residential development on these parcels makes perfect sense. 739-41 Bainbridge St. was an unattractive garage for many years that's now been demolished. 734-38 Bainbridge St. had been home to Klinghoffer Carpet for quite awhile, but we'd posit that homes are more appropriate for this location than a big carpet store. We know there was some community opposition to the project, but that was due to the details of the homes like front loading garages for some and bulk for others. Despite this, the project was approved by the ZBA and now seems to be moving forward. Recently, demolition signs appeared on the former carpet store.

Demolition coming soon

Signs advertising the project, which is being called Bella Vista Strada, have appeared on both sides of the street. A reminder, the project includes three homes on the south side of Bainbridge, two homes on the north side of Bainbridge, and two more homes on Katers Street. Ah, what developer doesn't love a good street-to-street lot?

End of an era

For at least the last decade, a building near the corner of 8th & Washington has stuck out like a delightfully sore thumb. The squat building that was home to the New Golden Palace Restaurant would have probably fit in much better in Las Vegas than a block from the Italian Market, but there it sat in all its glory. Cheesy pillars, golden cornice details on two floors, and a crown above the entrance all gave the building a certain je ne sais quoi that at least made you stop for a second to stare while getting a delicious soft pretzel across the street.

In the past
Another view from further back

We passed this building yesterday and discovered that the restaurant is gone. According to its Yelp reviews, this is no big loss. More distressing to us is that the building has been stripped of all the details that made it so hilarious and interesting. It's now just a stucco box.

Twould be a shame

A few years ago, James closed after five successful years at 824 S. 8th St. when their lease ended. And we wondered what would replace this popular restaurant, located just a block from the Italian Market. In September of 2012, The Mildred took over the former James space, only to close this summer. A reader recently reached out, concerned that the former restaurant space would be converted into offices. These fears stemmed from a sign on the building from Phillyofficeretail.com.

Former home of The Mildred
Sign on the building

With a name like that for a leasing company, we can certainly understand the confusion. But we're here today to calm everybody down. We popped over to their website and the 3,600 sqft space is indeed available for rent as a turnkey restaurant. The space comes with a full commercial kitchen, but the liquor license costs extra. They're looking for a monthly rent of $6,200.

The northeast corner of 8th & Fitzwater has played a central part in defining its Bella Vista neighborhood for almost 200 years.  Its story begins in 1832, when, according to Philadelphia Buildings, a school serving both boys and girls was constructed on the spot.  The Ringgold Grammar School is shown here below in an image taken from Samuel L. Smedley’s 1862 Philadelphia Atlas.

The Ringgold Grammar School, 1862

The school enjoyed a fairly decent run, enduring nearly to the end of the century.  Philadelphia Buildings shows the school here below in 1897, just before its demise. 

The Ringgold Grammar School, soon to graduate from existence, 1897

Ringgold was closed to make way for the James Campbell Public School (not named after this guy), which, according to the Free Library of Philadelphia, was built in 1899. The Free Library of Philadelphia also provides the 1913 photo below. 

Nice addition that won't fit in

Here at Naked Philly, we have the chance to cover projects large and small, on streets wide and narrow. The 600 block of S. Delhi Street is one of the skinnier residential blocks you'll find in Philadelphia, with barely enough room for a car to make its way up the street. We actually visited this block, with its dangerous proximity to the South Street Whole Foods, once before, sharing news of a new home a couple of years ago.

View of the block

Soon, the block will welcome another new home to the fold at 609 S. Delhi St., which is currently used as a parking space. But not for too much longer.

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