Fishtown

Unless the neighbors fight against it

Over the last five summers, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has taken over underused properties in neighborhoods around town, greened them, and created pop-up beer gardens. Last year, pop-ups operated on South Street West and at the base of the finally under construction Rail Park. Previous incarnations have appeared on South Broad Street, on Walnut Street near Rittenhouse, and at the bottom of the Italian Market. This summer, PHS is looking to partner with NKCDC to open a pop-up beer garden at 1825 Frankford Ave., a 10K sqft lot that's used as a garden center by the community organization. Sounds fun, right?

Is something coming in its place?

The property at 2052 Blair St. has been sitting blighted and vacant for the last couple years, distracting from the unfortunate vinyl siding that covers its facade. Recently though, a reader gave us a shout to let us know that the home has been demolished. If you wish you had seen it before its demise, you can certainly visit the block and look at the home still standing next door, and you'll get a good enough idea of what was here before.


In the past

Current view

Does this mean a new home is coming soon? Perhaps. Looking at public record, it appears that the property hasn't changed ownership since 2012. But that owner could certainly redevelop the property! However, we don't see any permits on the property aside from those relating to the demolition, so we don't see anything on the immediate horizon. It's even possible that the property was demoed by the City, as that sort of thing happens every now and then for a property with such a laundry list of violations.

If the buyers can find them, that is

Developers are looking to redevelop a flag lot in Fishtown, off of E. Montgomery Avenue. Perhaps you're wondering, what's a flag lot? Simple, it's a lot that looks like a flag. More specifically, it's a lot that has only a small sliver of street frontage, with the majority of the lot sitting further back from the street, often behind buildings. Here, allow us to show you what we mean:


Looks like a flag indeed

This is the very lot in question, 1323R E. Montgomery Ave., a property you wouldn't necessarily know exists if you walk by on E. Montgomery Avenue.


The view on E. Montgomery Ave.

Despite its hidden nature, this property is quite large, boasting over 10K sqft of space which is pretty easily accessible via Wilt Street. A few months ago, developers came to an FNA zoning meeting with a plan for two apartment buildings on this parcel, with four units in one of the buildings and eight units in the second building. That project would have also included a dozen parking spots. But it seems the community wasn't into the concept.

First floor brewpub is under construction

The recent history for the building at 1101 Frankford Ave. has been storied, no doubt, though its early history is even more interesting. This structure was built in two phases in the 1850s and was first used as the Landenberger Hosiery Mill and later as part of an elevator factory. As recently as a couple years ago though, the building was sitting vacant and blighted, tied up in tax delinquency and litigation. We were cheered in the spring of 2014, when we learned that new ownership had stepped in and that a redevelopment plan was finally set to move forward.


A few years ago

We passed by the building the other day (before the snow, thankfully), and it occurred to us that the renovation efforts appear to be complete. A reminder, the renovation converted the industrial building into 15 apartments with parking and a ground-floor retail space. Check out the new and improved building:

Twelve-unit project was previously proposed here

Back in the fall of 2013, developers proposed a plan to demolish an old building that had been home to a plumbing business at 428 E. Wildey St. and replace it with a twelve unit apartment building. Apparently the community wasn't into the idea, opposing it at an FNA zoning meeting. As a result, the developers withdrew their application to the ZBA and when we visited the property in February of 2014 (incidentally, in the snow), it was sitting vacant and with an uncertain future. We didn't mind at the time, as we were able to tell you about some other projects happening nearby, but we had a feeling it wouldn't be our last time reporting on this property.


In the past

How right we were. We passed by the property the other day quite by accident, and discovered that the old plumbing building is gone and a new project is very much under construction. It appears that different developers came forward to buy the property, paying $765K last summer. Before they closed on the parcel, they went through the zoning process, getting approval for a nine home development, with five homes fronting Wildey Street and four homes fronting Salmon Street. One of the Wildey Street units sits above the entrance to a drive-aisle which services the parking for the other eight homes. Harman Deutsch did the architecture work.

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