Remember Manton Street Park? Back in the summer of 2011, a collection of near neighbors cleaned up this long vacant parcel at the corner of 4th & Manton, turning it into a pocket park and community garden. In short order, they learned that the City owned lots had already been sold to a developer, and it looked like the open space would be redeveloped into new homes. Things looked grim for this little patch of green on Manton Street. But after months of discussions a compromise was reached, the developers agreed to build fewer homes, and the block kept its pocket park. Today, it's looking pretty sweet.
Manton Street Park
Recently, work began on a new mural that will further brighten up Manton Street Park. The artist is David Guinn, the guy who painted the now-covered Autumn in Bella Vista and the still-visible Winter: Crystal Snowscape. When we passed by today, the artist was onsite, doing his thing.
In Pennsport, it seems like we're seeing a steady stream of former industrial buildings get demolished in favor of new construction homes. After a Target trip the other day, we breezed past 103 Tasker St., possibly the next in line for that kind of treatment.
Building is available
The two story property is listed for sale for $250K, which we think is more than the owners will be able to get for it. According to the listing, it runs street to street, so rear parking sounds like it should be possible but with only 41' of depth, some kind of garage would be required, either on Tasker or Greenwich Street. The listing also indicates that the property needs work, so maybe the future owners will renovate the building rather than tear it down and build new. A third floor addition would make that course of action a little more palatable. Also, does anyone know where the Republican First Ward now meets? Seems this was once a location for that sort of thing, if the sign on the door is to be believed.
The 300 block of Wharton Street is dominated by Saint Casimir's Lithuanian Church, which has been a fixture in the neighborhood for over a hundred years. The associated school closed a few years back and membership has shrunk some, according to the South Philly Review, which led to an administrative merger with Saint Andrew's Parish back in 2011. The other day, we spied a zoning notice on the building next door which was surely once associated with the church but we couldn't tell you how.
Squat building with a zoning notice
Saint Casimir's Lithuanian Church
A few years back, plans came forward to split off the church's former school, located behind the building you see above, and add on a few stories and create an apartment building. Despite the fact that some near neighbors opposed the plan, it was approved by the ZBA. But nothing has happened with the project since it got those approvals. Upon seeing a zoning notice at 338 Wharton St., we thought that the school project was coming back into the picture. We were way off base.
Pennsport is a great place to live. It's a walkable neighborhood, it's close to Center City, near the river, has easy access to the highway, and Target is but a stone's throw away. Perhaps that's why developers have descended upon this neighborhood of late, snapping up medium-sized parcels and building a bunch of homes at a time. At 2nd & Reed, six homes have appeared. At 3rd & Reed, a bundle of homes are slowly going up, replacing a church. At 2nd & Wharton, the southwest corner saw four new homes a few years ago and eleven new homes more recently. And there are more projects in the area, we assure you.
Pennsport has seen its share of big new residential projects in the last few years, and recently we thought we'd stumbled onto the next one at 1800 E. Moyamensing Ave. when we spotted a bunch of zoning notices on a big warehouse. The thought that another warehouse in the neighborhood would be torn down and replaced with a dozen or more townhomes seemed like an obvious assumption and the post started writing itself in our head.