Fishtown

Been in the works awhile, looks like it could happen soon

An undetermined number of years ago, some city planners and/or school district employees determined that the best school yards are those that are covered in asphalt. Not knowing their identities and understanding that they're probably long dead, we can't even send them a thank you card for the many lousy school yards we "enjoy" today. Across the city, many communities are no longer willing to accept big parking lots that double as school yards and are working on all sorts of improvement efforts. At the Arthur School in Graduate Hospital, a major construction project took place over the summer and should wrap up in the coming weeks. In West Philly, we've been covering the greening efforts at Lea Elementary for years. In Bella Vista, the Nebinger School has taken a phased approach to improving its school yard.

At the Adaire School at 1300 E. Palmer St., parent group Friends of Adaire have worked for the last several years to push forward a school yard revitalization project, and it's certainly a large space that could use some love.

And to think, it could have been yours!

We know we haven't checked in on Front Street in the last month or two, but that doesn't mean that it isn't still seeing its share of development action. Today, we look at some likely redevelopment at 1523 N. Front St., a building that we told you about two years ago when it was listed for sale for $2.1M along with a collection of nearby lots. This building was originally constructed around 1850 as the Second Associate Presbyterian Church, according to Hidden City, but it's been used as a warehouse for James Scollon's Sons Building Construction & Repair since the 1960s. And it could have been yours, had you been willing to pony up some coin!

Building next door is plenty interesting

The other day, we happened upon a wee bit of construction on the 2300 block of E. Fletcher St., between Cedar and Memphis Streets. Looking at Google Street View, we see that 2336 E. Fletcher St. was previously a green one-story garage. Developers purchased the building, tore it down, and viola, we have two new homes under construction. These homes will have garages, according to the permits, and because street parking happens on the other side of the street this won't take away any spots. 

And we've got renderings!

Last week, we told you that some old buildings had disappeared on Berks Street, and a new condo project would soon rise behind the shopping center on East Girard Avenue that's home to Beer City and a Dunkin Donuts. To say the least, this shopping center isn't exactly monument to 21st century commerce.

Shopping center on Girard

Inspired by our coverage of this immediate area, the owners of 629 E. Girard Ave., the property across the street from the shopping center, reached out to us to share news of a project that's now moving forward. Here's a look at that property right now:

Would fill a long vacant lot

There's a long vacant property on Blair Street that could soon get redeveloped, assuming the ZBA gives the go ahead. 1807-19 Blair St. takes up roughly 5,000 sqft and has bustling Frankford Avenue to the east and Shissler Recreation Center immediately to the west. In July, developers presented their plans to Fishtown Neighbors Association for six new homes on this property, each with a front-loading garage. We don't know how the community responded, but given that a similar project was built just a few years ago up the block as part of the Frankford Square project, we would guess that it didn't face too much opposition.

View of the lot
Rec center across the street

Assuming that this project happens, it will mark yet another big change for this block, which looked completely different just half a decade ago. At and around the corner, developers built a collection of mixed-use buildings back in 2011-2012. Further up the street, a former warehouse was recently demolished which will soon make way for a number of duplexes and an apartment building. Closer to Norris Street, there's the Frankford Square project that we mentioned earlier. 

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