Pennsport

Move in with Uncle Jesse

Heading home after getting whooped again in kickball, it somehow seemed appropriate that we found ourselves on Mercy Street, a tiny block just north of Snyder Avenue. Heading down the narrow street's 400 block, we were not at all expecting to find three homes that had clearly been built very recently.

400 block of Mercy Street
Three new homes

417-21 Mercy St. sit on what were previously vacant lots which were purchased by V2 Properties a little over a year ago. If the name of that developer sound a little familiar, it's because we've mentioned a few of their projects before. Remember, they have a big project in the pipeline on Front Street in Northern Liberties, with plans for twenty-three homes. And similar to their Mercy Street project, at least in terms of building on a narrow block that's just north of a major corridor, they built five homes on League Street in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.

With a long industrial past

The southwest corner of Front & Reed is decidedly inconspicuous today.  Standing at the edge of a quiet residential part of Southwark, it would hardly strike one as a once fertile complex of retail and industrial buildings.  But Front Street in Southwark was part of quite a different neighborhood before builders plopped I-95 right in the middle of it.  Indeed, in the mid-19th Century, this block stood opposite the bustling Navy Yard, as shown in the image here below, taken from Charles Ellet, Jr.’s Philadelphia County map.

Southwark at the corner of Front & Reed, 1843

Not shown in the map is the Savery & Co. Iron Foundry, which was built on the spot two years prior.  The photo below, taken from the Library Company of Philadelphia, offers an 1847 sketch of the complex at the time.

And a cool reminder of its past

This week, it seems like we're covering an unsual number of adaptive reuse projects. Seeing churches converted to apartments could be a slowly growing trend, but converting old apartments into new apartments is an age-old effort that's sure to continue interminably into the future. At 1227 S. 2nd St., new owners are joining the long bandwagon.

The building under construction

The developers purchased the property earlier this year. Its current layout has two apartments on the second floor and another unit on the third floor. When the renovation is done, there will be three units, but the layout seems likely to change. It's clear from looking at the building that the first floor once had a commercial use. Wonder what it was? Check this out:

A hint of the past

Oh cool, it was a Lodge of some kind. Perhaps for fisherman of the Adriatic? And what does CFU mean? Hint, it's not colony forming unit, as Google suggests. Looking a little more carefully at the picture of the sea carved into the stone, you can make out the words 'Jadransko More,' which means Adriatic Sea in Croatian. Lightbulb! CFU is Croatian Fraternal Union.

At crazy prices

When we last visited the southwest corner of 4th & Greenwich, we discovered a new hole in the ground just a half a block away from Dickinson Square Park and across the street from Grindcore House. At the time, we told you to expect three new homes on this site. Checking back last week, we discovered that the homes are well on their way.

Current view

Remarkably, the homes are all under agreement. The corner home is listed just shy of $435K, and the interior homes are at about $400K. Just a couple of years ago, we wouldn't have imagined that new homes could sell at such prices here, but such is the reality right now in this part of the neighborhood. And if the still-vacant Mount Sinai Hospital site is redeveloped with any sort of speed, we can see prices trending even higher.

Oddly, the southernmost home is a little bit taller than its fellows. Anyone have any idea why?

Near tons of other projects

East Moyamensing Avenue, though it's wider than many streets and travels diagonally through South Philly, is primarily a residential street. On many of its blocks, Moyamensing has other stuff going on, like schools, churches, green space, and restaurants, but homes vastly outnumber everything else. Which is why it's a little curious that 1313 E. Moyamensing Ave. has sat vacant for a number of years. But that's set to change, as groundbreaking recently took place for a new project.

A hole just appeared here

The property was purchased for $35K by developers last year, who then proceeded to flip the property for $70K to other developers. The current owners, Alpha and Omega Consulting, will be building a four-story building with a first-floor garage. This comes on the heels of a new home with a garage going up just a few doors to the south a couple of years ago. And that's not all the new development in this area.

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