Passyunk Square

Row of homes could start soon

Arson is the suspected cause of a fire that scorched a warehouse at 1403-09 Darien St. in Passyunk Square this winter, displacing a few Philadelphia bands and destroying some expensive music equipment.

East side of Darien St.

A few months before the fire, we wrote about developers' plans to demolish the warehouse and build six new garage-front homes here. The Passyunk Square Civic Association supported the project. But when we passed by last week, the burned-out facade of the warehouse was still standing. The developers got their zoning permits over the summer, and we'd wager that construction will get underway sometime soon. As you can see, the new homes, from FUSA Designs, will have some colorful bay windows.

Dresses up the playground near Pat's and Geno's

Capitolo Playground in Passyunk Square, is one of our favorite neighborhood parks in town, even though it was built atop a former cemetery. Now, the completion of a new mural on the playground building is a testament to one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city. It's also one of two beautification projects planned in the neighborhood right now, with plans for another mural at 10th & Washington this winter. The mural features a collection of diverse faces, young and old, as though you were simply walking down the street in this neighborhood. That the faces have been painted on the wall, larger than life, might remind us to the simple beauty of anyone's face, the marvel that we’re even here to begin with.

Do it and build some mixed use!

Do you lie sleeplessly in bed at night, just wishing you owned a chunk of Washington Avenue? Do you fantasize about being catalyst that unplugs the dam and sets off the chain reaction that redevelops all of Washington Avenue with a mix of residential and commercial uses? Do you just think about owning a property next to a car wash and around the corner from Nam Phuong?

If any of the above resonates with you, 1200 Washington Ave. might be just what the doctor ordered. It's currently on the market for $1.2M.

View from Washington Ave.
View from Alter Street

The property has eighty feet of frontage on Washington Avenue, and measures over 10,000 sqft. Unlike many parcels on Washington Avenue, it's zoned commercial and not industrial, which permits a mix of commercial and residential by right. The sellers it seems, have mocked up a potential plan for the parcel, and included it with the listing.

Fundraiser coming up

Columbus Square is a wonderful South Philly park that serves a multitude of purposes. It's got a ball field, a soccer field, a dog park, a playground, a rec center, a spray field, a rose garden, and tons of neighborhood space along the outside of the park. But soon, it seems, this park which sits between 12th & 13th, Wharton & Reed Streets, should be getting a dose of reinvestment.

Entrance at 12th & Reed
Greenery at 13th & Reed

Last year, the Community Design Collaborative worked with stakeholders in the neighborhood to put together a conceptual design for a remodeled Columbus Square Park. If the entire plan were to be enacted, the park would see some significant changes, including the reduction of the size of the sports fields, the demolition of the "roundhouse" structure in the first photo above, an expansion of the dog park, and the creation of a new community lawn area on Reed Street. The plan includes some additional recommendations, highlighted below:

Replacing rare vacant lots

It's not too often that we get to tell you about new construction homes coming to Passyunk Square. In other neighborhoods, like Point Breeze or Francisville, plentiful vacant land encourages rampant residential development. But Passyunk Square doesn't have so much vacant land, so much of the development in the neighborhood involves demolition and rebuilding, like the site of the old Armory building, or renovation of existing buildings like the work of PARC on Passyunk Avenue. But every now and then, we come upon some vacant lots in the neighborhood, like those at 1108 Greenwich St., which should soon get redeveloped.

The lots

Earlier this month, developers appeared before the Passyunk Avenue Civic Association to present plans for two homes with parking. According to the PSCA website, the community voted not to oppose the project. Once the homes are built, it will fill in a gap on an adorable block that flows directly into Passyunk Avenue.