Graduate Hospital

What's coming to Devil's Pocket?

A reader checked in today with a tip that the former home of Healthy Bites at 2521 Christian St. is under construction. In its most recent incarnation as a retail space, this building was home to a gourmet cafe/market that also did a bunch of premade meals to go. The storefront shut down a couple of years ago, but for awhile it was functioning as a commissary for the cafe's former proprietor. Not sure when that stopped, but it clearly ain't happening any more.


When we zipped by, we asked one of the guys on the site if they know what they're working on (remarkable that guys usually don't know), and we were told that it's gonna be a little restaurant. The reader who first gave us the heads up about the project had heard that it might become an Indian restaurant, which would certainly be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. If it doesn't end up being an Indian place, we suspect that neighbors would be glad to see another kind of ethnic spot, which is kind of lacking in the immediate area.

It was interesting to see that this property, which has been a deli and a market and a cafe over the last few decades, is actually zoned for a single family home. Makes us wonder whether the restaurant use will need to go before the community to get a zoning variance, or if the previous cafe use can carry over.

Has anyone else heard anything about this project? Any hopes and dreams for the restaurant that will eventually take over this space?

At least half of Montrose Court seems dead

At the end of 2011, the 2500 block of Montrose Street looked like it would soon experience a host of changes. Metro Impact had introduced a project called Montrose Court, which would have meant the construction of eight new homes on the north side of the block and three homes on its south side. Though some neighbors on Christian Street had problems with the height of the proposed homes due to concerns about shadows, we were pretty confident that the project would get built quickly.

Old renderings

Years went by, and the project wasn't happening, though the two-story homes that populated the north side of the block were eventually demolished. Earlier this year, a hole appeared on the south side of the block and we thought that the project was finally getting underway. Alas, the block still sits undeveloped and the Montrose Court lots are overgrown.

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.