Passyunk Square

But we actually lived there once upon a time

You've probably never visited the 1200 block of Annin Street. It's a skinny block that looks like it dead-ends at its western end (but there's actually a narrow path out to Federal Street). Architecturally, it's a very mixed bag, with a row of newer-looking garage-front homes with driveways, a couple of standard Philly row homes, and a bunch of former warehouses that have been converted, mostly into residential use.

Looking west on the 1200 block of Annin Street
Former warehouses converted to residential
More warehouse conversions

We actually lived on this block back in the day, in a building that was once a toilet seat factory but was converted, at some point, into five apartments with 1:1 parking. It was a fine place to live for a year, and it was kind of fun to come back to cover a proposed project for the block.

Reuse still woulda been nice

We first brought a blighted building at 1221 S. Broad St., a former armory, to your attention back in the summer of 2011, when plans to build a four-story mixed-use building threatened to cover a mural of what looked like a zombified Frank Sinatra. The old armory was constructed in the 1880s, and sat mostly vacant in recent years, slowly deteriorating inside.

Project has taken years

We first visited the 10th & Cross intersection in early 2012, and showed you 1526 S. 10th St., a one-story building that once housed a corner business. Remember, it was a pickup location for neighborhood paperboys at one point and a corner store before that. But that was decades ago. In recent years, it looked like it was was used as an apartment. When we visited, the building had a tarp on the roof and plans for an addition.

A few years ago

For whatever reason, the project took a couple of years to get off the ground. We checked back at the end of 2013, and framing was finally taking place. When we passed by earlier this week, we discovered a project that looks to be finished, at least on the outside. There's no question it's an improvement- the front doors at the corner would be appropriate at King's Landing.

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.