Warehouse plus vacant lot

With all the recent action on Front Street in Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and South Kensington, it's no surprise that people who own properties on this long underperforming stretch are hoping to cash out. One particularly sizable example can be found at 1523 N. Front St., between Jefferson and Oxford Streets.

Lots and warehouse

The large building on the site has been home to James Scollon's Sons Building Construction & Repair, though we're pretty sure they've cleared out by now. The look of the building suggests it was once a church, and historical maps confirm that United Presbyterian Church once called this place home. Now, it's for sale for $2.1M along with a collection of surrounding vacant lots. According to the listing, it's almost 7,000 sqft of land combined.

View up Lee Street

This property would seem to be calling out for reuse into apartments, surrounded by new construction mixed-use. The existing building would especially work for residential use, considering it doesn't butt up against the El. Oxford Mills, the adaptive reuse project across the street, does come right up to the tracks but has tucked the residences further away. Instead, their space on Front Street is reserved for offices.

Joining the fray on the corridor

In Fishtown, the 300 block of East Girard keeps on popping with new projects. Such is the case at 315 E Girard Ave. where last month workers were inside sprucing up a spot that has changed hands repeatedly in recent years. Most recently, it hosted Leticia's Serenity Studio. Before that, it held a thrift shop. And prior to its thrift shop days, it was home to a law office. Thanks Google Maps Time Machine, for the history lesson!

Work was taking place

This stretch of the corridor has been getting a lot of attention as of late. Just across the street at 300 E. Girard Ave., construction on a three-story mixed-use building is progressing and French brasserie Girard should soon open its doors. A few doors down, Stock, the Pho place we first told you about last December, opened earlier this summer. Meanwhile, less than a block away, a former auto parts store on the 200 block of E. Girard was sold last year and has since been tastefully renovated

The better to take your money, my dearie

If you're a poker fan you'll soon have 24-hour options in town, as Sugarhouse broke ground on its $154M expansion last month. The new expansion will more than double the square footage of the casino, and almost double the size of the gaming floor as well. That means almost new slots, new table games, and a dedicated poker room. We first told you about revised plans for the expansion last April right before they were scheduled to be reviewed by the State Gaming Board.

Not the Revel
Construction activity

The expansion, designed by Cope Linder Architects, will occur north of the current site at Frankford & Delaware Ave. and is void of the hotel originally promised to be included during an expansion. It will include a multi-purpose room with waterfront views and a seven-story garage will abut the almost hotel looking exterior and add a little over five-hundred new spaces. There's also space for four new waterfront restaurants (two of which are already spoken for), and a reserved space for a ballroom complex with riverfront views that is scheduled for a later phase. A wedding or bar-mitzvah at Sugarhouse? Maybe some day.

Developer wants to reuse a church?!?

Passing by the former East Baptist Church at 1236 E. Columbia Ave., you wouldn't think twice about it. It's a nice looking building architecturally, though it looks like it needs a little TLC. If you live nearby though, you know the building has been vacant for years, ever since the non-profit that owned it went bankrupt. According to a two-year old thread on, neighbors were trying to get the property forced to sheriff's sale, and they apparently succeeded last summer. Metal Green Inc purchased the building for $385K- much less than the asking price of $1.4M when the propertly was listed for sale back in 2008.

Old church on Columbia Ave.

Yesterday, a reader gave us the heads up that they received a notification letter from the property owners regarding an upcoming RCO meeting about the property. According to the letter, the developers intend to convert the building into fifteen apartment units. They need a zoning variance because the 7,200 sqft property is inappropriately zoned for a single family home. If the property were zoned for multi-family, they would be allowed sixteen units by right, so asking for fifteen units seems completely appropriate. We imagine that they will get some near neighbor pushback due to a lack of parking, but parking just isn't possible for this site if they're saving the building.

And it's looking good

A couple of years ago, developers built "The Nine" on Tulip Street in Fishtown, across the street from Memphis Flats. At the time, the nine new LEED certified homes improved the block significantly by replacing some vacant lots, but a large vacant warehouse at the corner of Palmer Street still dragged things down. Once home to the REACH baseball factory, the warehouse looked like all kinds of dreck. But a little more than two years ago, we got word that a renovation could get underway; and last summer we learned that a renovation with a conversion into thirty apartments was definitely on the horizon.

In the past

We passed by the former factory earlier this week and discovered a project very much in the throes of redevelopment. Graffitti has been washed away, formerly cinderblocked window openings have been reopened, and attractive new windows are being installed. The brickwork also looks like it's gotten received some attention. It's a tasteful project being undertaken by Domani Developers with design work by Cecil Baker + Partners.