A reader tipped us off recently that they noticed some demolition activity on the south side of the 1600 block of Poplar Street, but it seems that the demo contractors moved pretty quickly and were mostly finished their work by the time we were able to pay a visit. In the past, there was a rather wide building standing at 1624 Poplar St. which we imagine was at one point affiliated with the adjacent Church of the Living God. The cross above the door seems like a pretty good indication, at least.
In the past
The property is quite large, measuring roughly 9,000 sqft in total. With multi-family zoning, it represents an easy opportunity to build condos or rental apartments by right, and that's exactly what's happening. The developers have a plan to subdivide the parcel into five lots and are planning to build a quartet of quadplexes, leaving one of the lots vacant for the time being. We confess, we have no idea why they're keeping the westernmost lot vacant, we'd think it would make sense to develop that one too. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the last lot is directly next door to a building that dates back over 150 years. Maybe the developers are worried about underpinning?
Francisville has grown by leaps and bounds in the last half decade, but some blocks in the neighborhood have remained in sad shape. Even Ridge Avenue, which has seen numerous new buildings sprout up in recent years, still has its share of blight and vacancy. A couple years ago, we drew your gaze to the 1400 block of Ogden Street which was notable in that it was almost entirely vacant, and wondered when someone would start redeveloping this block. We saw signs of life about a year ago, when developers had framed out a five-story building with three apartments and ground-floor parking at the southeast corner of 15th & Ogden. While the building has progressed considerably since then, it surprisingly doesn't appear to be totally done just yet.
SE corner of 15th & Ogden
But wait! What's that we see next door to the building!?! Could that be... construction?
Duplexes under construction next door
Holy smokes, that's exactly what it is. A developer picked up 1436 and 1440 Ogden St. back in 2012, but they took their sweet time with these properties. Now they're well on their way to building a pair of duplexes. Will the units be offered for sale? For rent? Who knows.
We first visted the 1500 block of Parrish Street over five years ago, when we shared the news that the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale planned to buy a warehouse at 1521 Parrish St. and make their home there, moving from a space near Drexel's campus. Part of that plan also included the purchase of what we believe was once a stable at 1533 Parrish St., the demolition of said building, and the creation of a surface parking lot. But alas, that plan never came to fruition, the Boys Choir instead moved to a space near Broad & Spring Garden, 1521 Parrish St. got converted into apartments, and 1533 Parrish St. never got torn down.
Over the summer, we told you that the former home of Joy Chinese Restaurant at 723 N. 19th St. had been listed for sale and then gone under agreement in less than two weeks. At the time, we wondered about the future of this little building, which we suspected was once home to a hot dog stand. The location is fantastic, just a block off Fairmount Avenue and close to many of the residential projects that have brought hordes of new neighbors to Francisville over the last number of years.
A diamond shaped property and commercial zoning, however, made us wonder exactly what kind of project might happen here. We figured on two possibilities, either a mixed-use building with ground floor retail and a couple of apartments above, or a purely residential project with either one or two units. It turns out, the developers that bought the building are opting for the former. Contrary to our expectations, it appears that the project is happening by right.
News flash, Ridge Avenue is changing. Okay, this isn't as much a news flash as it is a reminder of the drum we've been beating for several years. But just because it's old news doesn't mean it's irrelevant or not worth mentioning regularly. After all, some blocks on Ridge have been totally transformed. Take, for example, the north side of 1600 block. As recently as 2011, there was one lonely building on this block, stretching from Parrish to Ogden Street.
In the past
It's quite a different scene today. We last checked in on this block a little over a year ago, when a new mixed-use building was approaching the finish line at 1523 Ridge Ave. and another building was just getting started next door. Visiting the block today, we see that the latter building is finished or very close to done, another building has appeared on the eastern side of the block, and another project should soon rise in between. Oh and by the way, the lone building on the block from a few years back is now gone. Check it out.