Brewerytown

Renovations and new construction repairing a long-blighted block

We've visited the 3000 block of Stiles Street several times in the last few years and the number of vacant blighted properties was always striking to us, especially considering the block's close proximity to the reinvigorated Girard Avenue corridor. Last summer, we told you about renovations to a couple of homes on this block, after previously mentioning work by Steph-Sin to rehab the easternmost home on the block's north side. Today, we have some more specifics on the renovation efforts here, from exactly who you would expect would be doing this kind of work in Brewerytown.

In the past

Stiles Row, from MM Partners, is rescuing four properties on this block through renovation and new construction. Check it out:

Something, yes.

A year and a half ago, we wondered about a blighted and vacant double-wide building at 2619-21 Poplar St. which, based on some leftover signage, was apparently once home to a drinking establishment called the Old English Tavern. About a week ago, neighbors first noticed a fence up around the property, prompting half a dozen emails to us, wondering what's going on here. We zipped by and noted that the excellent sign that previously marked the property has disappeared.

And we like 'em

The wheels are getting a little oil over in Brewerytown. In recent months, West Girard Avenue has experienced a surge of renewal that has contributed to recent retail openings and improvements along the corridor. Next on tap is a major mixed-use project at 27th & Girard.

Current situation

Last night, City Council President Darrell Clarke hosted a public meeting that covered plans to transform the very large vacant parcel that stretches wide along the southeast corner at 27th & Girard. When we first wrote about the potential of development here last year plans were for a four-story building with ground-floor retail and residential units above to be developed by MM Partners in collaboration with American Development Company. The site has been vacant for over a decade, and once housed a market.

Members of the Fairmount Civic Association were expecting grumblings from neighbors about the parking issue, according to a zoning group member. In Fairmount and dense parts of Brewerytown parking is one of the main frustrations for homeowners, renters, and visitors alike.

Possibly?

Ten years ago, redevelopment north of Girard Avenue in Brewerytown seemed like it might never arrive. Nevertheless, from 1999-2007 the median residential sales price of homes in the neighborhood rose nearly four times from just over $10K to over $40K, according to U.S. Census Data compiled by the Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System, as reported by Philadelphia Neighborhoods.

Jump up to 2012 at 27th & Girard, and you have the scenario where the historic St. Augustine's Church first constructed in 1888, sold to developer Jordan Brody. Brody is now converting the church into apartments. Part of the church extends up N. 27th Street where it meets a vacant lot and is followed by a string of vacant homes.

Somebody new joining the party?

Three years ago we saw the lesser-known side of Fairmount Avenue, east of the Penitentiary, experience vast redevelopment that spilled over into Francisville. This wave of development has yet to crest, and its most notable addition is the large Project H.O.M.E. 55-unit mixed-use project on the formerly vacant lot near Broad Street, mere steps from the Divine Lorraine, which itself has been the site of many developers’ dreams.

These days it’s looking like West Girard Avenue in Brewerytown, which has seen various improvements in recent years, like the opening of Mugshots, which left and was just as quick filled in by High Point Cafe this past fall, is the next commercial corridor getting the redevelopment makeover.

Near High Point, we recently spotted workers hauling in lumber to the ground-floor retail location of a three-story building at 2819 Girard Ave. next to Butter's Soul Food. MM Partners, a developer that’s played an integral role in recent improvements along Girard and its neighboring blocks, bought the building back in 2008. Does anybody know what's coming here?

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