Old City

Finally something happening here

Over the weekend, we were enjoying a not-oppressively-hot afternoon at Race Street Pier and were reminded about the One Water Street project. Numerous plans have come down the pike for 230 N. Columbus Blvd. over the years, so you can forgive us for being pessimistic when PMC Property Group presented plans for this address back in the spring of 2014. Despite our negative attitude, the project is very much under construction.

Recent view from the south
A few weeks back, from the north

In case you've forgotten, the project includes 250 apartments, 73 parking spaces, lots of green space, and no commercial uses. Varenhorst did the design work, as they've done for other PMC projects.

Some units already leased, CVS is coming soon

The northeast corner of 3rd & Market is looking considerably better these days, but at the same time its personality is irreversibly changed for the worse (in our estimation at least). Remember, for so many years the Shirt Corner made its home at this location and the gaudy paint job on the building made for an entertaining if not effective marketing campaign.

In the past

The business closed a couple years back and Alterra Properties purchased the building. They actually purchased a row of ten properties, and planned to reuse many of the historic structures for a new mixed-use project. But some unforeseen structural defects in the old buildings made it impossible for the developers to save the buildings and by last spring they were all demolished. By the time September rolled around, the steel that forms the first floor of the new building appeared and in the months that have passed since then, most of the rest of the building has been finished.

Limited availability for the Pope!

The corner of 2nd & Church has gone from empty to bustling over the last few months. We first brought the building at 17-19 N. 2nd St. to your attention back in the summer of 2012, wondering how such a well-located structure could sit vacant for so many years. On a personal level, we've had this place on our radar for over a decade, wondering why nobody was taking over the retail space last occupied by the long-shuttered Synapse Cafe.

In the past

About a year ago, we shared the great news that new owners had finally stepped in and that the building was getting the renovation it desperately needed. Passing by recently, we witnessed first-hand that the renovations are finished and a new business has taken over the entire property.

And a quick walk to Dave & Busters too

The 300 block of N. Front Street is an interesting one. If you start in South Philly, this is the first block of Front Street that runs to the east of I-95, which means it's the first block of Front Street with unfettered access to the waterfront. It's got its old cobblestones mostly intact, like several other nearby blocks of Front and unlike the 800 block of Leithgow Street. A poultry slaughterhouse makes its home on the block. And perhaps surprisingly, it's home to a few vacant lots.

343 N. Front St. in the past

The vacant lot pictured above though, is no longer vacant. Developers bought 343 N. Front St. last year and now it's an active construction site. Those same developers also have purchased the one-story garage pictured next door, and they're building there too.

Revised from a previous version from a couple years back

A little less than two years ago, we brought your attention to 107 Callowhill St., a t-shaped lot close to an I-95 onramp. The lot was understandably neglected given its location, but the redevelopment plans made some sense when you consider the construction activity in recent years just a couple blocks away, north of Spring Garden Street. But after several fistfuls of months, the project had not moved forward.

Image of the parcel from a couple of years ago

The plan we detailed previously involved four apartments and an upstairs commercial space. One apartment was going to be on the first floor, two were planned for the second floor, and the fourth unit over the third and fourth floors. Abitare Studios, the company that designed the project, was also planing to move their offices from Old City to a commercial space that was to be on the third and fourth floors in the back of the building. The new version, approved recently by the ZBA, eliminates the commercial use and adds story and an apartment unit. Check out the renderings: