We would have probably torn it down...

Last year, we brought 2940 W. Thompson St. to your attention, noting that the vacant one story warehouse that had been owned for decades by PHDC and was under agreement with an unknown party. At the time, we suggested that the parcel held a lot of value, and the building could easily be demolished and replaced with half a dozen new homes. And while MM Partners, the new property owners, have certainly done their share of residential development in Brewerytown, that isn't the approach they took with this particular project. Instead, the building is being used as a "creative hub."

The building

Currently, four tenants use space in the building for a variety of pursuits. The Icy Signs Workshop is doing custom handpainted signage, with some examples already on West Girard Avenue. We would bet the numbers on the building above also came from those guys. Speaking of ice, a live performance ice sculpting company called Fear No Ice also makes their home in the building. Check out their website, they do cool stuff. Local band The Districts work out of a space in the building, and a mentorship program called Give and Go Athletics does too.

Man looking out a window opening is a great sign

We've written about 2835-37 W. Girard Ave. twice before, once to bring the blighted property to your attention and a second time to inform the world that it was for sale. For those unfamiliar with the property's history, it suffered a fire around 2008 and has been vacant ever since. Sometime at the beginning of last year, the former owner put up a mural-like print on the plywood covering the first floor, making the building slightly less gross and perhaps a little easier to sell. And wouldn't you know it, developers purchased the property last October. Earlier today, we noticed some workers on the site at last.

This is big

According to permits, the building is getting a fourth floor addition and will eventually contain six apartments. No info about what will go into the commercial space, so we're guessing that hasn't been figured out yet. Even if that takes some time, the rebirth of this building will be a huge plus for the 2800 block of W. Girard Ave., which is already doing pretty well.

Replacing blight and vacancy

We've seen a bunch of redevelopment near 31st & Baltz in recent years. Just yesterday for example, we told you about a bunch of apartments under construction just a half a block away. 30 Baltz, located on 30th Street, is an apartment building that's now finished and looks sweet. And MM Partners, the same guys that built 30 Baltz and a load of other projects in the neighborhood, have built plenty nearby.

Today, we look at three parcels close to 31st Street on Baltz, two of which have been blighted for years. The other has just been a vacant lot.

In the past

3045 Baltz St. was at one point a home and then more recently a church. Most recently however, it was home to a tree. The home next door has also been blighted for quite some time. Both properties are currently owned by a couple of developers who picked up the properties back in 2006. They tried to sell them for $135K each, but it doesn't seem they were successful and ultimately they decided to fix them up themselves. Alternately, it's certainly possible that they have indeed sold the properties but it's not yet reflected on public record.

Next door the long vacant, double-wide empty lot is being built upon by MM Partners, joining another down the block. That other home sold last summer for $290K, so it should be interesting to see whether the developers can get any more for this newest addition.

One section at a time

Early this summer, we spotted new construction activity at 31st & Thompson, behind the still kind-of new Brewerytown Bottom Dollar. We were pleased to fill you in on the project, dubbed 31 Brewerytown, as Westrum's newest venture into the neighborhood where they previously built Brewerytown Square. When we passed by the project site today, we were really surprised at the amount of progress in just a few months. And then we realized that it's a modular build and everything made much more sense.

Nice progress
Modules on the 3000 block of Thompson St.

In case you don't remember the details of the project, it will feature four-story buildings with a total of sixty-four rental apartments. The units will start at $1,200/month and will have high end features and finishes. Many of the units will have balcony space, and parking will be available for some tenants as well. Check out the look of the project:

Next to historic district

Last year, we wondered how new construction, ostensibly for student housing, would fit into the context of the Diamond Street Historic District near Temple. At the time, we didn't realize that there's a second historically protected section of Diamond Street in Strawberry Mansion. The West Diamond Street Townhouse Historic District was established in the early 1990s and is actually pretty similar to its sister district to the east. It runs from the 3000 block through the middle of the 3200 block, and contains dozens of homes built in the Renaissance Queen Anne Victorian Eclectic style.

But today we look at a property that isn't actually in that historic district. 3217 W. Diamond St. is the first property after the district ends and had no particularly historic features, though it was an interesting building. We're using the past tense here because the building was recently demolished.