East Passyunk

Wonderful building would make for an interesting home

Even though we once lived just a few blocks away, we somehow never encountered 808-10 Morris St., a handsome old building that was once home to the Engine 10 Fire Company. According to legeros.com, the building was constructed in 1874 and was home to the fire company until 1953, when they moved to their current location on 12th Street between Wharton and Reed. Thankfully, the building has survived for more than half a century since its original use was discontinued.

The building

As for what happened to the building between the 1950s and the 1990s, we surely don't know. We can tell you that in the last fifteen years or so, the building has gone through some drama, changing hands repeatedly. The original garage opening has been partially filled in, with steps leading up to a door. Sometime between 1998 and 2009, one of the owners converted the building into a single-family home but they weren't able to finish the job. In 2010, the finished product was listed for $525K but the owners never did finish the construction. In 2012, new investors stepped in and listed the building back on the market in 2014. Today, there's a dreaded Stop Work Order on the front door.

Tear it down and build a house or make it a loft

We're always on the lookout for interesting development opportunities around town. And while a lone garage on the corner of 7th & Fernon isn't as exciting as, say, the Frankford Chocolate Factory, it could still represent an interesting property for the right person.

The building

Heading to Center City from Souh Philly the other day, we came upon 1613 S. 7th St., whose owners opted for an ominous spray paint sign to deter people from blocking their driveway. The property is 16' wide by 64' deep, and the building currently covers the entire parcel, as you can see above. The block of Fernon Street is all two-story homes, and up 7th Street is a mix of three story homes and a smattering of retail.

Looking up 7th Street

The property is listed for just under $180K at the moment, which seems a little high for a wide open garage in South Philly. A developer could come forward and demolish the garage and build a new home on the corner. The listing suggests that it could also be a fit for artists looking for loft space. Alternately and perhaps least optimally, the space could remain as is and store food trucks or something like that.

New restaurant coming soon, new building sometime later

Our last official visit to the corner(s) of 12th & Morris & Passyunk came back in July. We say that because we've unofficially visited several times since, enjoying tasty food and beverage at Cantina and Birra. Soon enough, those places will have some company. Remember, El Zarape left their space at the beginning of this year because of escalating rent, and the guys from Cheu Noodle Bar will be opening a place called Bing Bing Dim Sum. According to Michael Klein, they're looking to open their doors in January.

On a block you've probably never seen

The 1100 block of Emily Street is one you've probably never visited, though it's an objectively desirable block. It's a little street that runs between McKean and Snyder Streets, and it's located just a couple of blocks from the bottom of East Passyunk Avenue.

1100 block of Emily Street

Most of the houses are two-story row homes that have probably been around for more than a hundred years, though some exceptions can be found. A row of three-story homes with garages arrived on the scene in 2011, all of which sold in the low to mid-300K range. And it's tough to miss the quadruple-wide warehouse-looking building with a sign advertising its future.

Uh, maybe?

Earlier this century, builders constructed some truly impressive buildings on South Broad Street. Many have since been demolished, but those that remain are a testament to another age. Take, for example, the former bank building on the northeast corner of Broad & Snyder. A couple of years ago, Beneficial Bank sold the property to developers. Interestingly, it was the Beneficial Saving Fund Society, a previous iteration of the bank, that built the building in 1927. It's amazing to think that the same company occupied the space for 85 years.

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