Near the river

Last summer, 131-33 Allen St. contained a vacant lot and an old stucco home. Now, despite the fact that the community didn't support the project, two new four-story homes have appeared.

Two new homes

These homes are rising just a block off of the bottom of Frankford Avenue, and around the corner from Sugarhouse Casino. When we first brought the project to your attention, we were hopeful that adaptive reuse would soon take hold at two old warehouse buildings nearby at Frankford & Wildey. Remarkably, that's exactly what's happened in less than a year. And the new homes pictured above should only add to the good times in the area.

Close to the El

For years, a home has rotted a mere block away from Palmer Park, the burgeoning Frankford Avenue, and the excellent Steap & Grind. 14 E. Palmer St. was somewhat interesting looking from the outside, set back from the sidewalk with a little front yard, like a handful of other homes in the neighborhood. But according to the listing, it was in "deplorable condition," with structural problems with the rear wall and porch roof. It was on the market last year for just under $50K and was ultimately sold for over $70K. Not bad.

In the past

In the last few months, the old home was mercifully demolished, and now a new single-family home is rising in its place. Looking at this new structure next to the previously existing buildings provides a study in contrasts.

Homes are now rising

Over the weekend, while making our rounds through town looking for stories, we spied some new homes under construction near the corner of Sepviva & E. Firth. We had never been to this block before, and Google Maps was rather useful in helping us understand what had been here previously.

In the past, from Google Maps

As you can see, this was a basketball court and ostensibly a play space for area kids. If anybody reading this lives nearby, can you help us understand whether this was a well-used public space that's now sorely missed or a poorly-maintained and rarely used space as it appears in the picture above? However it was utilized in the past, it was offered for sale by PIDC a couple of years ago as surplus City property, and sold to a developer. Now, Sepviva Holdings LLC is building six homes on this parcel.

Corridor is improving, sometimes one building at a time

We've been careful to document, in sometimes excruciating detail, all of the changes that have been happening on Frankford Avenue in recent years. Below Girard, Barcade is thriving, old buildings are being turned into apartments, and big plans for an entertainment district near Delaware Ave. are just on the horizon. Where Frankford meets Girard, several newer bars and restaurants have turned this intersection into the nexus of the neighborhood and a destination for people from outside the area. Moving up Frankford Ave., we've seen a ton of new businesses open and plenty of new buildings replace vacant lots. And in other cases, older buildings have been fixed up to accommodate new stores with apartments above. Such is the case at 2226 Frankford Ave., pictured below.

In the past

Previously, this building looked kind of terrible. According to an old listing, it was slightly damaged in a fire, but the 19th century facade remained. In particular, though, the storefront looked awful and utterly uninviting to any possible tenant. A private investor bought the building, which sits on an 18'x100' lot, at the end of 2012. Today, the look of the building is much improved.

But their cow is pretty cool

We spend our days crisscrossing around town, trying to find all the juicy development news out there. So when we spot plywood, our development sensors go off. Such was the case last week when we passed by the George L. Wells Meat Company at the intersection of Delaware and Frankford Avenues.

A little construction

We wondered, could this be the beginning of a big adaptive use project? Could this old warehouse be turning into apartments? An entertainment complex? Turns out they're just doing a little repair work on the building. So nothing is happening here that will impact your life any time soon. But they do have a sweet cow mascot!

Abandon hope, ye who enter here