Grays Ferry

We've never been there, amazingly

Every now and then, we find ourselves on a block for the first time. And that's what happened today after we got a tip about some ongoing demolition on the 2500 block of Alter Street. This block is accessed from 26th Street but dead ends before it gets to 25th Street, blocked by the train ramp to the 25th Street viaduct. Until recently, there were half a dozen homes on this block. With the demolition that's now approaching completion, it's down to five homes.

Looking east on Alter Street

Looking at the demo from the west

Developers purchased 2532-38 Alter St. last year, and have consolidated the six parcels into four lots. Once they're done tearing down the one building that was on their property, they'll commence construction on a quartet of duplexes. This will probably be the first new construction on this block in a hundred years.

We've seen several projects come down the pike in Grays Ferry in the last few years, so this one comes as no surprise. We've seen other projects on both sides of the viaduct and wondered whether proximity to the tracks might be a detriment, but at least this project will have a buffer. Oh, and it has a nicely tended community garden across the street as well.

Glad the building has stuck around

We were cruising through Grays Ferry the other day and some construction caught our eye at 30th & Dickinson. We don't spend so much time in this neighborhood so we confess, we didn't remember what had been here before. Thanks to the magic of Google Street View though, we quickly discovered that it was previously a one-story warehouse with a sweet mural preaching the virtue of "Common Ground." Today, it's a pile of dirt and some construction equipment.

Former view at 30th & Dickinson

Construction at 30th & Dickinson

So... what's happening here? Don't get too excited guys, permits indicate that this property will turn into a parking lot. You may be wondering, what's the need for a parking lot at 30th & Dickinson? We're pretty sure it'll be for the Carl Moore Health Center, located at the other end of this block, at 31st & Reed. This place opened in September and is associated with GPHA, and offers various medical services, including family medicine, dental care, behavioral health, nutrition, and podiatry.

Or... not

We probably noticed the Triad Realty sign on the car wash on 34th Street just south of Grays Ferry Avenue a couple months ago, but didn't think much of it. But the thought of the sign stayed with us. We started wondering just how much ground the sign covered. Did it just involve the building housing the car wash? Did it include the gas station immediately next door to the north? Did it include the recently renovated Dunkin Donuts to the south? We needed answers.

View of the building

From the other side, Dunkin Donuts next door

Gas station at the corner of 34th & Grays Ferry

We reached out to Triad to enquire and learned that the opportunity isn't quite as sweet as we'd hoped. Indeed, the car wash is looking to close up shop, and its building is available for lease. The gas station isn't included in the proposition, nor is the Dunkin Donuts. So what you're looking at is a large warehouse building with a partial mezzanine with a donut shop on one side and a gas station on the other side. The place is not for sale, so you can forget about any redevelopment possibility. Then again, given the location next to the highway and the zoning as auto-oriented commercial, we're not sure what would actually be a higher or better use than the car wash.

A mere five year wait since we first told you about plans for this location

It was almost five years ago (man, we've been doing this awhile) that we told you about plans for three duplexes on the corner of 36th & Wharton in the Forgotten Bottom neighborhood. The properties at 3536-40 Wharton St. were sitting vacant, though neighborhood bar Tony D's had stood there until just a few years earlier. That building looked like three stories of garbage, so it's no shock it got torn down.

In the past

Earlier this week, we got word that construction had gotten started here. And we needed to see for ourselves, since we keep expecting to see development in Forgotten Bottom but have found ourselves perpetually disappointed by the slow progress in the neighborhood. And by slow progress, of course, we mean that there's been almost no construction here despite the proximity to West Philadelphia and the easy access to the Pennovation Works. But hey, when we zipped by the properties we did indeed see that there's some construction happening.

Spring is coming, after all

The property at 2500 Reed St. has been sitting vacant for at least a decade, and while our memory doesn't go back much further for the property, we'd think that it was used for some kind of industrial purpose in a previous life. This makes sense, since it sits right next to the CSX tracks and industrial is quite consistent with most of the other buildings that immediately surround the tracks. Plus, the fact that the 166K sqft parcel is sitting entirely empty would seem to suggest that one or two buildings once stood here, not a collection of homes. Two points for anyone that can remember what used to be here.

But enough about the past, let's talk about the present. Specifically, today we'd like to bring it to your attention that this property isn't sitting entirely vacant anymore. To wit, it's looking much greener these days. We passed by recently and noticed a whole bunch of raised garden beds. And while we don't necessarily regard this with the same energy and enthusiasm that we would a large scale mixed use development, we can still appreciate that the greening of this parcel represents a major step up from its previously vacant state.