New restaurant coming eventually

We went to Ugly American at 1100 S. Front St. a couple of times over the years, typically before a poker game with one of our freelancers. It was a decent enough neighborhood pub with pretty good food, quizzo, and a hot dog special if memory serves. So we were certainly bummed when the place closed its doors back in early 2013, but doubted the space would sit vacant for too long. We confess, we thought it would be filled by now, but the delay was likely due to the fact that the property had been sitting on the market for a couple of years, originally at a price of $600K. 

In the past

Along with a restaurant space on the first floor and a basement seating area that had been used for private events, the building also has a four bedroom apartment on the upper floors. But the price tag was too much, it seems. Finally, this summer, new owners took over for $425K, which works out to be a pretty solid deal if the property owners also intend to open a restaurant themselves. And according to Passyunk Post, who noticed a liquor license in the window a couple months ago, that's exactly what's happening. Look for a new neighborhood bar that also serves brunch.

A little less vinyl siding in the neighborhood

Two Street has traded in some vinyl siding for a couple of extra-wide homes. We went by 1738 S. 2nd St. yesterday en route to Target, and came upon a new home under construction. This home has replaced a pair of two-story homes that had been used as rental properties. They certainly weren't the most handsome places in the neighborhood, and according to an old listing they used to be a single home. Also, they sat inefficiently on a 24'x100' lot, leaving a big empty yard on Philip Street.

In the past
New extra-wide home on the block

Though it's not pictured, the developers, who purchased the property last fall for $175K, have built a second home that fronts Philip Street. So long, inefficiency, hello two wide homes! But that's not all that's happening on this block.

And it's pretty awesome

Along the river just south of Washington Avenue, you can walk out along a new boardwalk above the water at Pier 53. You can climb a spiral staircase that coils around a land buoy that stands 55 feet tall. If it was there a hundred years ago, the buoy would have waved to immigrants, more than one million, as they sailed into Philadelphia.

Land buoy

Last November workers broke ground on Phase II of Washington Avenue Green. On August 15th, the Mayor Nutter and others celebrated the ribbon-cutting on the transformation of the $2.15M pier into a public space that included new landscaping along the riverbank that will contribute to the overall ecology of the park and looks like a strip of wetlands, and a wide reaching view of the Delaware River, the bridges and Center City. It's a photograph millions will take from this point on.

Will be a really big house

The other day, we spotted some construction activity at 1117 S. 2nd St., a double-wide property in Pennsport. This building, according to an old listing, was originally a dry goods and butcher shop, though it hasn't been used as such for many years. The listing also mentions some old details that have remained, including an old meat locker that's been converted into a bedroom. So there's that.

The building
A cornice that may have once had more detail

We actually spoke to someone who walked through the property before it went on the market, and they described a place that needed a ton of work. The second floor has been used as an artist's space for many years, and was pretty much wide open. Also, the vacant lot next door goes with the home, and previously had an outdoor pool. Doesn't seem like that's sticking around.

No clue whether the wait times will be similar

The DMV experience is generally terrible- a few Simpsons episodes featuring Patty and Selma have driven this point home. But our experiences at the PennDOT Driver License Center at 1530 S. Columbus Blvd. were generally tolerable, with relatively manageable wait times in a rather depressing setting. But that setting is now gone forever, as this location recently closed its doors. Passing by the other day, we spied dumpsters on the site.