Point Breeze

Our souls, we mean

Walking past 1130 S. Dorrance St., you'd think that the residents are stealing cable. Assuming you're able to avert your gaze from the rat's nest of wires hanging from the utility pole out front, you can see there's a long wire draped across the front of the building on Ellsworth Street, going from the cornice on the 3rd floor to some location on the first floor. We've never stolen cable, but we'd think it would look like this:

1130 S. Dorrance St.
Top of the building

Since the owners of this blog happen to manage this property, we know that the tenants here aren't, in fact, stealing cable. The tenants recently moved into the unit and called Comcast to set up their cable, and this is what happened. The cable terminates at one of those newfangled gray boxes that were giving Fishtown residents fits earlier this summer. A reminder, the stated reason for these gray boxes are to "clean up" cables on the outside of homes. Not so much here.

At least a dozen new homes

If we turn back the clock a mere two years and visit the 1800 block of Gerritt Street, we find a block with mostly well tended two-story homes, a handful of blighted buildings, and a bunch of vacant lots. The two largest lots were very well tended, and the tables, umbrellas, and sheds suggest that they were used as extended yards for some of the residents of the block.

Just a couple years ago
One of the large lots

Visiting the block last week, we see a radical and rapid change. By our count, this block has seen over a dozen new homes started over the last two years. Some are already finished and sold, and some are just getting started. Needless to say, the large, well tended vacant lots are gone, overtaken by new construction. Check out these images:

Southern PB gets a new restaurant

The northern end of the western part of Point Breeze has seen all kinds of development over the last handful of years, while its southern side has remained largely unchanged over that period. Sure, we've seen development drift further south of late, and we do see the occasional project in the 19145 zip code, but it's still really the exception to the rule. That's why we were so surprised today when we saw a story from Michael Klein about the new restaurant on the 2100 block of Snyder Avenue called La Mula Terca. Previously, this location at 2053 S. Beechwood St. was home to Muzo's Chicken & Steak. The new awnings are a major step up.

We don't quite understand the chain of title though

The 1500 block of S. Bouvier St. has seen tremendous change in the last few years and there's more on the way. We don't have to look back too far into the past to see a block that was littered with blighted properties and vacant land, but if you visit today you'll see a number of new homes have risen on the block. But despite the new development, there's still a large patch of vacant land on the south side of the block.

Looking south on the 1500 block of Bouvier St.

But that's not sticking around for much longer. Affordable housing developer Innova has poured three foundations at 1524-28 S. Bouvier St., and three new homes are forthcoming. You may recall, they have a large affordable project just a block to the north on the 1400 block. What we're not sure about here is whether these three homes will be offered at an "affordable" price, as Innova does do the occasional market rate project, as we've seen.

It's really just a shame

Well, that sucked.

Project rendering

1245 Point Breeze Ave. went to the ZBA earlier this week, with a plan for a four-story mixed-use building with a grocery store on the first floor and fifteen apartments above. At the community meeting for this project, the standing ovations gave the impression that a letter of support would be forthcoming but somehow, the vote and the letter reflected opposition instead. This resulted in opposition from the councilman's office, and at the hearing the councilman's representative specifically indicated opposition to the residential density. The Planning Commission voiced their opposition, and the ZBA then voted against granting the variance.

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