Bella Vista

A bunch of homes are under construction

Over the winter, when we last checked in on Mildred Court, the twenty-five home development under construction on 8th Street, Montrose Street, and Carpenter Street, the buildings that once stood there had been demolished and formwork had appeared on Carpenter Street. We passed by the other day and discovered all kinds of progress at the site. Most of the homes have been framed out and sheathed, and many of the windows have been installed as well.

Looking down 8th St.
New homes on Montrose St.
Homes on Carpenter St. are the furthest along

In case you don't remember, this collection of new homes is coming from developer US Construction, the same guys who built the collection of homes spanning Christian and Montrose Street a couple years back. Like that project, Mildred Court will be offered as rentals for a few years after they're built, and will then likely go on the market for sale. Also like many US Construction projects, JKR Partners did the design work.

Despite objections from community

A few months back, developers appeared before the Bella Vista Neighbors Association with plans to raze the building that's housed the Klinghoffer carpet showroom for years and replace it with three new homes. They also intended to build four homes across the street where a one-story garage previously stood.


In a vacuum, this sounds like a welcome change for an area that is already predominantly residential, save for a few ground-floor retail spots nearby. The plans call for the demolition of the building at 734-38 Bainbridge St. and the construction of three four-story single-family homes with rear garage access on Perth Street. Across the street, they're looking to build two garage-front homes fronting Bainbridge Street and two on Kater Street. Lily Development, a company that has often worked with Scioli Turco in the past, is the developer here, though Scioli Turco is not involved in this particular project.

If those walls could talk

If you're heading down 8th Street in Bella Vista, your eye is easily drawn to the handsome Columbus Hall building just south of Fitzwater Street. Located at 744-46 S. 8th St., the building was home in recent decades to Mama Yolanda's restaurant, now out of business. It was initially built as a building for a volunteer fire company, and in 1867 became a social hall for Italian immigrants. Two years ago, we told you about plans to convert the wonderful building into nine apartments after developers presented to the community.

Amazing cornice plus new roof deck
Bottom part of the building

The sign on the building indicates that the residential conversion is either done or at least approaching the finish line. The interior renovation, we'd imagine, was thorough. The exterior work was minor in the grand scheme, involving the removal of some awnings, new windows, a little restoration work on the facade, and the elimination of the weird green paint job on the first floor.

Labels reflect neighbors' dreams

We've repeatedly visited the corner of 6th & South over the last few years, alerting you as new businesses have arrived and lamenting continuing vacancies. Most recently, we gave you the heads up that the long-vacant building on the southwest corner, most recently home to a McDonald's, was finally getting renovated. Windows were replacing plywood and gray stucco covered brick. That effort is now finished.

Newly stuccoed facade with new windows

The space, however, remains empty. If you look closely, you can see a cute effort, probably from South Street Headhouse, to crowdsource a tenant for the space. On the front windows you can see a collection of labels, each with a different suggestion for a future tenant for this space or another on the corridor. 

Replacement will never measure up

Over the last few years, there's been a staggering amount of residential development near 8th & Christian, especially considering the fact that Bella Vista is already largely developed. Five homes replaced vacant lots on Darien Street. A nineteen home development took over a former surface parking lot between Christian and Montrose Streets. And Mildred Court, a twenty-five home project between Montrose and Carpenter Streets, is currently under construction with many of the homes now framed out.

New homes on Christian Street

The new residents of the neighborhood have had plenty to look forward to upon moving to their new homes, including the Italian Market, an easy walk to Center City, and excellent bars and restaurants in the area. Notable among those food choices was Cafe Nhu Y, one of the strangest and most wonderful places in town. Located at 802 Christian St., this place was the source of the best Vietnamese hoagies in Philadelphia, in our estimation. Though it was the size of a walk-in closet and the man who made the sandwiches sometimes worked in an apron with no shirt underneath it, those sandwiches were remarkably inexpensive and entirely delicious.