Passyunk Square

They keep doing good stuff

Over the last couple of years, the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation has renovated a number of buildings on and near Passyunk Avenue, improving the corridor one property at a time. Thanks to their efforts, the Avenue now has a comic book shop, Will BYOB, and a new Fond location, among other stuff. And soon, PARC will renovate the former Colombo's to accomodate a new steak house, and will oversee the construction of a new gateway to Passyunk Avenue. But at the moment, they're working on a renovation of 1520 E. Passyunk Ave., most recently home to Karina's restaurant.

Replacing a surface lot

A surface parking lot near Passyunk Avenue could soon disappear, provided developers get ZBA approval to build two homes on the northeast corner of 12th & Tasker. From what we can tell looking at public record, physician William Zaccone purchased the lots a few years ago, perhaps to use as parking for his medical practice down the street. We're unsure as to whether the project is coming from the doctor himself or from a developer that's buying his lots.

The lots
Looking toward Passyunk Ave.

It appears as though the project went before the Passyunk Square Civic Association back in April, but it got punted because the developers didn't have drawings to show the community. It was continued at the ZBA in April, though it's scheduled to go back soon. Will it be continued again, or will it get approval and move forward?

Never thought this day would come

Remember two summers back when we wondered about the vacant lot on the northeast corner of 9th & Wharton, across the street from Pat's? At the time, we gave you a little history lesson, explaining that the lot was formerly home to St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church, which closed in the 1970s and was demolished some time in the 1980s. At some point, a mini golf course appeared here, but it's been gone for decades. Today, some halfway decent murals barely draw attention away from the fact that a big vacant lot is across the street from one of Philadelphia's most popular eating establishments. Hilariously, the lot has been owned since the mid-1990s by Anna Olivieri, a relative of the owners of Pat's.

The vacant lot

Aside from the photo looking super dark due to the rain, you may also notice something new on the site. A 'For Sale' sign! Looking next door at the blighted vacant building that's owned by the same person, we saw a similar sign.

Gym coming soon

Over the past year in Passyunk Square there has been a push of redevelopment, mostly infill. But some of its has been for readaptive purposes like plans to convert the former Kingdom Hall at Jehovah's Witness building on the 1200 block of Federal Street into new apartments. A couple blocks away, the Wharton Street Lofts at 12th & Wharton were once the Annunciation BVM School. But the school closed after the 2011-2012 school year, was sold and last winter the Passyunk Square Civic Association approved plans to convert the old school into 45 apartment units. The lofts became available this year. As for the first floor commercial space, look for a 24-hour gym to come soon.

Another little Passyunk Square project

In Passyunk Square, developers continue to envision worthy investments. Last month, members of the Passyunk Square Civic Association heard a proposal to build three single-family homes near 7th & Wharton.

Demolition coming

Developers presented plans to build the homes at 738-44 Wharton St., which would replace an out-of-use one-story garage and former plumber's office. The parcel was purchased in December by Broad Bay Investors for $215K. This is an interesting example of infill development along a block that has a variety of two and three story row homes, some of which date back a century and some of which are only about a decade old. So we wonder whether the designs will reflect the traditional brick fabric or if the architects will use a more contemporary approach we've been seeing in other neighborhoods.