A reader tipped us off about three buildings currently under construction at 2337-41 W. Thompson St. on the Brewerytown/Sharswood border, and we had a funny feeling we'd been to this block once before. And it just so happens that we have been here! A couple years back, we covered some demolition at 2400 W. Thompson St., and since then a new quadplex has risen in the place of a long blighted building. A similar story is now playing out with those three properties on the 2300 block.
In the past
Looking at the Google Street View from a couple years ago, it appears that all three of these properties were vacant and blighted. Developers from FJM Investment Group have purchased the properties over the last couple years, and this year they tore down the old buildings even though two of them had some pretty lovely bones. Now they're in the process of constructing three triplexes.
We last checked in on the 1200 block of N. 27th St. a little over a year ago, noting that a new duplex was under construction at 1210 N. 27th St., next door to the North Abbey residential conversion at 27th & Girard. While the renovated church to the south was surely a help is selling the two condos for a combined $517K, the row of dilapidated and vacant homes to the north, mostly owned by PHA, likely didn't help. Ditto the large vacant lot on the eastern side of the block, where stone staircases are all that's left of several demolished homes.
Row of vacant parcels
Some fencing at the site would seem to indicate, however, that change is in the air. Over the course of the last several months, a developer has acquired half a dozen properties on this stretch and according to the permits they're now planning four triplexes and one double-wide building which we assume will contain six units. With the parcels zoned for multi-family use and extending back 100', this project is entirely by right. If our math is correct, that'll be 18 new units for this block. And we're only getting started.
In the interest of hearing about projects happening all over the city, we subscribe to just about every community group's newsletter. A recent email from the Fairmount Civic Association revealed info about an upcoming project for 903-905 N. 30th St. even though the property is technically just outside of the Fairmount boundaries. If you visit the property, you'll spy some zoning notices on a chain link fence.
Zoning notices, viewed from the north
Behind that fence is a pair of vacant lots which appear to be pretty shallow and seem to terminate with a hill. But upon further review they're actually quite deep, each going back almost a hundred feet. V2 Properties bought the lots over the summer and are now planning to build a garage-front home on each one. With the lots running so deep, the developers are planning to set the homes back sixteen feet from the street, so they'll have driveways in front of the garages. The project came before the Brewerytown CDC and received "unenthusiastic support."
Today we decided to do some work at The Monkey & The Elephant Cafe in Brewerytown, and we did a quick run around the neighborhood before sitting down to pen our next screed. Twas a good thing we did, as we noticed some construction activity on the northeast corner of 31st & Master. We couldn't really think of what this parcel looked like in the past, but thanks to the magic of Google Maps we discovered that a beat up warehouse was standing here until very recently.
Not only is Rybrew a great place to grab a tasty sandwich and a beer, but it's also a great place to get work done if, like us, you're a blogger about town. Looking out the front of this business on the 2800 block of W. Girard Ave., we see a stretch of a commercial corridor that's continuing to evolve.
Several coffee shops have cycled through the retail space at 2831 W. Girard Ave., but the Monkey & the Elephant Cafe might be the place that finally sticks. We also noticed that some construction activity was taking place at the former Rita's next door, a business that closed in 2014 after a security gate tragically fell on and killed a 3-year-old. Permits indicate, unfortunately, that these construction efforts aren't a sign a new tenant, just upkeep on a building that's not in great condition.