Graduate Hospital

Will complete the block's transformation

It wasn't so long ago that 17th Street between Carpenter and Washington was pretty much the worst block in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. For years, a small collection of burned out husks of homes dominated the streetscape. After L&I was kind enough to demolish the blight, the block was left with a single occupied home and a couple dozen vacant lots.

Thankfully, the Carpenter Square project has gone a long way toward bringing the block back to life. Thus far, the developers have built eleven high-end homes, some of which are still available for sale. Now, they're working on the second phase of the project at the corner of 17th & Carpenter, which will include six condo units, a commercial space, and a courtyard. Like CPR, this project has breathed new life into this block. But a huge vacant lot remains on the west side of the street.

Check it out this minute

Back in May, we told you that the 2014 PHS Pop-Up Garden would be appearing on the 1400 block of South Street. We've been foaming at the mouth in anticipation, and now the wait is over at last. Remember, this was a godforsaken vacant lot just a month ago (and for like the past twenty years), and the Horticultural Society has done their usual bang-up job in turning it into a temporary green slice of heaven in the city. We visited the other day, and snapped some photos for your enjoyment:

Way fewer units this time

Remember earlier this week when we updated you about Saint Matt's on Grays Ferry, and shared the good news (to us at least) that the church's conversion into thirty-eight apartments was nearing completion? Today we look at another former church nearby, at 810 S. 23rd St., though this one is quite a bit smaller than the former Saint Matt's.

Current view

It's possible that you remember that we actually wrote about this building once before. Way back in the fall of 2011, we trumpeted the fact that the building, which actually has most of its frontage on a bucolic Madison Square garden block, was for sale. Back then, we speculated that the building, built in 1911,  would make a superior single-family home, and secretly dreamed of opening up our own microbrewery in the building. We also thought that condos could work. And condos are exactly what we're gonna get.

The interestingly named Auto Source Export Inc bought the property at the end of last year and went before SOSNA a few months ago with plans to turn the building into two residential units. One of the units will have its entrance on 23rd Street, while the other will enter on Madison Square. The facades will largely remain intact, though you can bet they'll be cleaned up significantly.

It's taking awhile but it's worth it

Over two years ago, we told you about a divided community opinion regarding plans to convert the former Greater Saint Matthew Baptist Church into apartments from Barzilay Development. Neighbors were concerned, stop us if you've heard this one before, that thirty-eight new apartments with zero parking spaces would put more pressure on an already strained parking situation in the neighborhood. Given the number of people who were unenthused about the project, we were weren't too optimistic about its fate at the ZBA. But the ZBA granted the variance, and construction has been ongoing at the old church at Grays Ferry & Fitzwater.

Recent shot

Though you can't particularly tell by looking at the exterior, the renovation project is actually hitting the home stretch, and the leasing effort has begun. According to a press release, apartment options include one, two, and three bedroom lofts, along with one and two bedroom apartments. Unit sizes range from 381 sqft to 1,382 sqft, and prices range from $1,200/mo to $2,750/mo. Check out these renderings:

But the Water Department is on it

For the last couple of months, living on the 2100 block of Kater Street has straight-up sucked. While performing the necessary task of replacing the water and sewer lines on the block, the Water Department has completely torn up the street. It's totally impassible by car, tough to traverse by foot, and neighbors have surely been dealing with noise and service disruption during the construction. And to add insult to injury, ten trees were unexpectedly cut down last week. 

In the past
Similar view shows trees are gone

In case you're wondering, these weren't exactly saplings.