Two new homes, all framed out. Beautiful. In a few months, they'll be completed homes and we imagine they'll be snatched up like most of the new construction in the neighborhood. Notice the vacant lot next door which stretches up Opal Street? Perhaps you remember, we touched on this parcel over the winter, when it was a snow covered meadow. Like the lots next door, it's also on the outs.
Looking up Opal Street
In case you've forgotten, there's plans for five new homes here, with two fronting Reed Street and three more fronting Opal Street. Just last week, the project got approval from the ZBA. So look for those homes to get underway pretty soon. Design work for the project was done by GJDesign & Architecture.
Few blocks in Philadelphia have experienced a transformation like the 2000 block of Annin Street. Just three years ago, this block, whose north side is dominated by the backs of the homes on Ellsworth Street, possessed just six inhabited homes out of 28 developable lots. It looked more like Detroit than Philadelphia.
In the past
As the years have passed, the progress has been incredible. Let's walk down the block together, from east to west, to look at the changes and consider some new projects that have just gotten underway.
Formerly blighted corner
At the corner of 20th & Annin is an attractive community garden. Let's not rehash its history today, ok? Let's just agree that it's prettier than the litter-filled, overgrown, Jersey-barrier-fenced lot that immediately preceded it. Moving on.
Last week, a reader suggested me make our way to the 2000 block of Federal Street, as multiple projects are currently taking place over there. So we did, after getting a cup of coffee at the end of the block, and spied three ongoing projects. First, there's 2018 Federal St., which has been a vacant lot for many years.
New home coming
This propery has been owned by PHDC for decades, and was purchased by JBS Renovations earlier this year. They'll be building a three story home here, though the third floor will likely be set back due to a pesky requirement in the Zoning Code. Honestly, we're just happy to hear about a City agency selling off a vacant lot for a change. In the photo above, you can see a dumpster down the block.
Aronimink Investors bought 2022 Federal St. a couple of months ago, and they're now cleaning it out. According to permits, they intend to add a third story. Look for another setback here, which hopefully won't look too weird.
A couple of weeks ago, we noted that some new foundations had appeared at 22nd & Federal in Point Breeze. Today, we look a block to the west, where there's all kinds of stuff happening on the 2300 block of Federal Street. First we look to the northwest corner, where a former church has sat vacant for years. It was last on the market in 2009 for $80K, but found no takers. In the years since, it's accrued a bunch of violations. The side door on Federal Street was sealed by L&I.
Northwest corner of 23rd & Federal
Across the street, there's another blighted building that's a few doors down from a home that's undergoing renovations.
South side has blight and renovation
We actually mentioned 2302 Federal St. a little over a year ago, when permits had been pulled and construction begun to convert the vacant triplex into a single-family home. We're not sure the source of the delays, but new permits were pulled a couple of months ago, leading us to believe that construction will soon resume. A few doors down, 2308 Federal St. is getting a shiny new facade.
A little further west on the block, at 1200 S. Bucknell St., there's a 'For Sale' sign on a vacant lot. Perhaps foolishly, we assumed that this meant a person could buy said lot. Bad assumption.
Last summer, we told you about a plan to completely renovate Ralph Brooks Park, located at 20th & Tasker. This park, which is currently is pretty rough shape, is most easily identified by the large mural listing names of people in the neighborhood who have been impacted by violence. It's an upsetting but very real indication of the trouble that Point Breeze has faced in the last couple of decades.
The park today
Plans for the park renovation include a new basketball court, a new play area for neighborhood kids, an urban garden, a business kiosk, new seating for kids and parents, greenery, lighting, and a new mural. The cost for all of these improvements will be about $500K. A year ago, they were about halfway there. Hopefully, by the time this weekend is over, they'll have the majority of the funds they need to get the project moving, thanks to a fundraiser taking place at Union Transfer.