Westrum Development was a pioneer in Brewerytown construction, building the Brewerytown Square project a little over a decade ago on a block-sized parcel that had been sitting vacant for decades. For years after, Brewerytown Square was on something of an island, surrounded by tons of vacancy. Since the market began its recovery, those properties have slowly filled in. A shopping center with a supermarket appeared to the south. The Fairmount @ Brewerytown project renovated an old warehouse across the street into apartments and retail. And Westrum doubled down on the neighborhood with the 31 Brewerytown project on the 3000 and 3100 blocks of Thompson Street, adding over a hundred new units to the neighborhood. Now Westrum is set to, uh, triple down on the neighborhood, to coin a phrase.
We were passing through Brewerytown the other day and noticed the back of a blighted building on Marston Street through a vacant lot on 27th Street.
Blight seen through a vacant lot on 27th Street
Turning the corner, we immediately remembered that we had written about this block previously, a little over a year ago. We had even covered the building in question, but at the time we didn't realize you could see its rear so clearly.
Front of the building that's visible on 27th Street
When we last visited this block, we told you that the building at 1327-33 N. Marston St., a former milk depot, had been purchased by developers that creatively named their development entity Marston Street Milk Depot LLC. At the time, the developers were working to resolve some violations on the building and to make it safe. There were no zoning or building permits pulled at the time, but we mentioned that they could convert the building to a 17-unit apartment building by right. And that's exactly what they're doing! The project will mean an addition to the existing structure, squaring it off as a three-story building. Surely this will improve the views on Marston Street and on 27th Street too, at least until that vacant lot gets redeveloped.
We got an email from a reader recently, telling us about a potential development opportunity at the edge of Brewerytown. The property, 2414 W. Thompson St., is currently listed for sale for $125K and is probably priced a little on the high side but could indeed represent a worthwhile investment for the right developer. The building is zoned for mixed-use, and you can clearly see that some kind of store was located here at some point. We know that the first floor space has been empty for at least a decade and given the declining state of the neighborhood until somewhat recently, we'd wager was empty for quite a bit longer. With some satisfying original details apparent on the building's exterior, we just hope that whoever eventually buys the place renovates it rather than tearing it down and building something new.
Building for sale
Perhaps more interesting than the building itself is the rest of the 2400 block of W. Thompson Street. The block has a number of blighted buildings and a considerable number of vacant lots. Check it out:
In Brewerytown, development has been a bit of a slow burn over the last few years, though of late the neighborhood has seen a burst of activity. And there are several significant projects in the pipeline for 2017, so perhaps Brewerytown is picking up some serious momentum. Like the neighborhood, it's been slow and steady for West Girard Avenue, with some new businesses now on the horizon for the corridor. Could this be a sign of things to come for the corridor in the coming year?
Just a few months ago
Over the summer, we shared the news that MM Partners had purchased the building at 2511 W. Girard Ave. which had been home to a liquor store for many years. That store closed when a new location opened in 31st Street shopping center, next to the Aldi. We told you that the developers would be making improvements to the facade and maintaining the building as a purely commercial space, and you can see that the building already looks much better than it did before.