Point Breeze

Block already has a bunch of new construction

At a South Philadelphia HOMES meeting last night, we learned about plans for three new homes on the 1300 block of S. Dorrance Street.

The lots

This block is a bit tricky to get to by car, as it can only be accessed via Earp Street, which can only be accessed from 19th Street. So if you'd like to check this block out, we urge you to walk or bike. Then again, until fairly recently, there haven't been so many people interested in visiting this block. When we last found our way here back in 2013, there were only five homes to be seen, at least one of which was vacant. But similar to the surrounding neighborhood, there's been a building boom on the block, at least on the east side.

This will indeed be an upgrade

Coming soon to 17th & Annin, five new homes! This project came onto our radar recently when a realtor sign appeared at 1136 S. 17th St., an old warehouse. The property is zoned for commercial use, which is appropriate given the building that we see today. But when you consider that the surrounding neighborhood is all residential, the commercial use and zoning are outdated.

Current view
Looking up 17th St.
Current view on Annin St.

The project got approval from the ZBA back in May, and will mean five new homes, all fronting Annin Street. Each home will have a parking spot, accessed via a rear-drive aisle. GJDesign did the architecture work and provided us with a rendering. You can see, it's a fairly contemporary design.

Includes the elimination of a long-time blight

Remember a few years ago, when development in western Point Breeze pretty much stopped at Wharton Street? It feels like a distant memory these days, with construction activity all over the neighborhood, occasionally extending south of Tasker Street. Five years ago, 3 new homes under construction on one side of the 1800 block of Reed Street would have been quite unexpected. Now it's just par for the course. So let's take a look:

New foundation at 1802 Reed St.
Another foundation (behind the truck) at 1822 Reed St.

For many years, the first two lots in from the corner sat vacant, until a duplex arrived at 1800 Reed St. a few years ago. But 1802 Reed St. continued to sit vacant. Last year, Polner Group LLC purchased this property along with 1822 Reed St., also a vacant lot. Recently, foundations appeared at both addresses and now plans call for new homes for each property. 1802 Reed St. will surely rise a regular three stories, but we'd have to imagine that 1822 Reed St. will have one of those odd third-story setbacks. Ah, the anticipation is killing us!

So much construction on this little block

Point Breeze has clearly experienced a major development bump in recent years, with projects spread all over the neighborhood. It's at a point now where it's tough to find any block that doesn't have at least one project ongoing at the moment. Some blocks even have multiple projects under construction at the same time. But the 1400 block of S. Bouvier St. might be the most active block in the neighborhood. Currently, by our quick count, there are about a dozen homes under construction on this block.

Northern end of the block just a few years ago
Northern end of the block today

Toward the north side of the block, you can see a new home has appeared at 1411 S. Bouvier St., a property which actually sold for $335K earlier this summer. Across the street, two different developers are constructing three homes. 1418 S. Bouvier St., the home with the bay, is currently listed for sale for $360K and the others aren't yet on the market but we'd expect a similar price point. Of the four homes we just mentioned, three have replaced vacant lots and one replaced a blighted building.

Nice progress for this project

If you've traveled down South Broad Street lately, perhaps you've noticed the relatively new steel structure that's appeared between Morris Street and Castle Avenue. That structure is, of course, the new Community Health and Literacy Center that we told you about last fall. This site was previously home to the South Philadelphia Neighborhood LibraryHealth Center 2, and the DiSilvestro Playground and Recreation Center, but all of those facilities were in rather poor condition. Those buildings are now, of course, long gone.

View at Broad & Morris
Rear view, from 15th & Castle

In case you don't remember, this project will have multiple uses, all of which will benefit the community. On the third floor of the building, CHOP will open a primary care facility, moving from their current location a few blocks away at Saint Agnes Hospital. The practice currently sees 31,000 patients annually and the new space will offer much more space and updated facilities. On the second floor, plans call for a new 30,000 sqft Health Center 2, which moved to Saint Agnes during the construction. The first floor will house a new library and parking, and another building will be a new rec center. The playground will also undergo a complete transformation.