Bella Vista

Like Bedford Cafe, but houses. And thirteen blocks away

Bella Vista is getting some new mansions and now we know what they'll look like. Over the summer, we told you about plans for seven new homes at 711 Bainbridge St., pleased as punch that a surface parking lot would be meeting its maker as a result. 

From the summer, view on Bainbridge Street
View on 7th Street

US Construction, going for a more high-end project than we've seen previously, have retained the McCann Team to market these properties, and it seems they've collaborated on a lengthy information packet with an in-depth description of the project. This packet includes a site plan and renderings to show what we can expect.

Turns out it's not so exciting

A reader reached out the other day, wondering about the construction they've noticed on 10th Street, just south of South Street. For many years, 605 S. 10th St. was a simple brick wall with a garage door. That property has historically been connected to the adjacent home at 603 S. 10th St., providing two car parking and a second entrance to the home.

In the past

This double-wide property went on the market a couple years ago, going under contract in less than two weeks. A really nice interior, close proximity to South Street amenities like Whole Foods, and the aforementioned two-car parking were surely major selling points. But if you pass by the property today, you'll see that the brick wall and garage door now have a couple of floors above them. Our first thought was that the owners of the home split off this property, building a second home to either move into or sell off to someone else.

This is gonna be a brawl

The saga continues for a little triangular patch of land created by the intersection of Christian Street, 6th Street, and Passyunk Avenue. This property was historically home to a gas station but it's been on a roller coaster ride in recent years. About six years ago, the owner of the property allowed a group of neighbors to clean up the parcel, creating a little oasis called Triangle Park. The community was happy with the green space and it looked like the City would purchase the land to preserve the pocket park in perpetuity.

Triangle Park back in 2011

In April of 2012, the owner put up a fence around the perimeter of the property, with reports suggesting that he was unhappy that the City was taking so long to buy the land, and he wanted to keep his options open with private developers. Half a year later, we learned that the City was not willing to purchase the property without major ground testing and remediation of any contamination from the years of gas station use. By the time the following spring rolled around, the owner had torn up the entire park.

A surprising quadplex coming to the neighborhood

A reader just tipped us off about some new construction on 11th Street, just north of Christian, so we figured we'd check it out. These blocks are really well established, so it's pretty unusual to see much construction. But our readers are amazingly honest and this was no exception.

Construction at 813 S. 11th Street

Previously, there was a three story building here with some classy fiberglass awnings. Unfortunately, in all the old images from Google Streetview the building is blocked by a tree, so we can't show you what it looked like- you'll just have to take our word for it that it looked kinda crappy. Looking at an old listing, we discovered a classic South Philly grandma house, replete with wood paneling, drop ceilings, and colorful old bathrooms.

Developers purchased the property at the beginning of this year and could have done a gut renovation if they hadn't torn down the old building. But considering their plan is to construct a four-story quadplex, it's probably for the best that they're starting from scratch. Since the lot is enormous and zoned for multi-family use, this is a by-right project. Should be interesting to see whether they opt for rentals (our vote) or condos.

Bar/restaurant coming to the first floor

We wrote about the vacant building at 941 S. 8th St. back in the summer of 2011 after wondering about the property for many years prior. The building was fascinating to us because 1) it was a vacant and blighted building in an otherwise thriving neighborhood, 2) it had wonderful bones, and 3) the remains of a long-closed corner store were visible through the first-floor windows. Not only was the store closed, but the windows on the upper floors were covered with plywood, pretty much a bad look all the way around. And don't get us started on the weatherbeaten vinyl awnings.

Back in 2011

Passing by the property today, you can see that its condition is dramatically improved. The window openings have been filled with windows. The details on the bays and the cornice have been wonderfully restored. The awnings are gone. And there's a liquor license application in the window.