A new letter and new owners

A story from Michael Klein clued us in a couple weeks ago about the recently opened Sarah's Place at 29th & Flora in Brewerytown. This building was, for many years, home to Sara's Place, which shut its doors a few years back. But new owners from MM Partners, a company that's done a ton of construction and renovation in the neighborhood, have fixed up the building a little bit and opened the new neighborhood bar. The inside is apparently relatively unchanged from its earlier incarnation, but the exterior has a bold new sign painted on the facade.

Sara's Place

With this place now open and Crime and Punishment in the works around the corner on Girard Avenue, Brewerytown's getting maltier by the day. We wonder though, whether the new bar on 29th Street will have a positive influence on some surrounding buildings. Immediately to the north, there's a zoning notice on 1222 N. 29th St., a former salon. The owners are hoping for a tattoo shop, and the application was continued by the ZBA back in August. So stay tuned on that property.

Or are we dreaming?

At the corner of 26th & Poplar, a vacant warehouse cries out for redevelopment. And its cries might just be answered sometime soon.

View from the east

The 12,000 sqft building sits on the border between Brewerytown and Fairmount. To the south is a lovely residential neighborhood. To the north is the rapidly improving West Girard commercial corridor. Next door, unfortunately, is a gas station. But that hasn't stopped developers at other locations in the past.

View from the west

Recently, a reader directed us to a Philadelphia Speaks thread discussing this property, whose owners recently put in for permits to build a couple of roof decks. Our first thought was that the property was owned by the Graveley family, a group that owns several parcels nearby including the recently demolished Old English Tavern. But no, it's owned by Bambrey Associates LLC, a company that purchased the property back in 2002 and is now finally taking an interest in it as the neighborhood to the north continues to progress.

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.