And five homes will rise in its place

Earlier this month, developers from Greenpoint Developers, an offshoot of Tower Investments, presented plans to the Fishtown Neighbors Association to demolish a church at 1401-09 Marlborough St. and construct six homes with off-street parking in its place. The community was not impressed.

Church plus zoning notices

Neighbors interpreted the project as an attempt to squeeze a sixth house onto a too-small parcel, which led to a vote of five in support and thirty-one opposed at an FNA zoning meeting. Before anything can be built here, the former Pilgrim Congressional United Church of Christ, which we wrote about over the summer when it had just gone under contract, will have to be demolished. According to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair, after the presentation, members of the community talked and were able to pinpoint one decisive issue with the project that concerned them; the sixth house. Designed by Paul Drzal, the project proposed five single-family homes facing Marlborough Street with an awkwardly squeezed-in sixth house accessed on Belgrade Street, but pretty much facing the backs of the five homes on Marlborough Street.

Wish more rehabs would do this

In Fishtown, we've seen all kind of development activity over the years. Vacant lots have sprouted new homes. Developers have demolished old homes or warehouses in favor of new construction. And there's no shortage of rehabs either. At 2204 E. York St., we have the combination of a rehab and new construction.

In the past
Recent shot

As you can see, the old building is gone and a new facade has been framed out. Interestingly, the developers are opting to preserve the existing cornice even though the rest of the old front is gone. We've actually seen this a couple of times before, notably on a Carpenter Street project in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Wouldn't it be nice if more developers did something like this?

Change is coming to former pizza place

Last week, after a tasty lunch at Steap and Grind, we noticed that the appropriately named "Pizza Shop" at 1451 E. Columbia Ave. had closed and the building was available for sale. We got a slice there once upon a time and were sad to see the business gone, but considering the alarming number of pizza places in the neighborhood we wouldn't call it a huge loss. As is always the case, we started wondering about the future for this property.

Former pizza place
Steap and Grind and Frankford Ave. nearby

We found the listing for the property from Michael Salove Company, and a price of $175K (down considerably from the original asking price). But the property is already under agreement, scheduled to close next week according to agent Jacob Cooper. The new owners intend to fix up the property and lease it to a food service operator, but we don't know the concept just yet. Considering the little niche Steap and Grind has been able to carve out next to the park, it will be nice to have another new option nearby.

Even more pizza choices in Fishtown

On York Street in Fishtown, a large new restaurant is slowly taking shape. Remember, we told you about this project at the intersection of Gaul & E York over a year ago, when the building looked like a red brick pile of garbage. Previously, this was a meatpacking warehouse but soon it will be packing in the crowds to enjoy pizza.

In the past

As we told you previously, the plan includes 140 seats and brick oven pizza. No need to doubt the pizza's chops, as one of the partners is the owner of Joe’s Pizza, an underrated Rittenhouse spot. We imagine that the pizza place will do solid business from the neighborhood but will also get a decent lunch crowd considering 2424 Studios is right across the street.

The place is just beautiful

A little over a year ago, we shared the exciting news that La Colombe would be opening a flagship cafe slash rum distillery in a former garage on Frankford Avenue. We attended the community zoning meeting, at which the project was well received, and even found our way to the ZBA hearing for 1335 Frankford Ave., though we confess we were there for a different property. So we feel a real connection to this project. A little over a week ago, the new La Colombe opened. And it's totally awesome.