Point Breeze

Or maybe not...

A hundred years ago, it made plenty of sense to have warehouses and factories located in the middle of residential areas. The Washington Avenue of the past, with its lumber mills and coal yards, makes today's forklift-laden obstacle course seem extremely tame by comparison. When the Philadelphia Traction Company had warehouses at 20th & Wharton over a hundred years ago, it seems unlikely that anybody batted an eye. But today, they don't belong there at all. Which is why we were so excited to tell you a few months ago that one of the warehouses would be disappearing and forty-eight homes would be appearing in its place. And it's why we're so excited today to tell you that the second warehouse could disappear as well.

But buildings should remain

In gentrifying neighborhoods, a common theme has been the demolition of old churches and the construction of new homes in their place. We've seen this pattern repeated at 20th & Fitzwater where six homes replaced a church, at 19th & Catharine where ten homes rose in a church's place a few years after its demolition, at 19th & Poplar where duplexes got built instead of homes, and in other spots as well. So when we spotted a dumpster this weeked in front of 1609-11 Federal St., long the home of the New Hope Baptist Church, we figured history would be repeating itself once again.

Several project progressing

Over a year ago, we visited the 1900 block of Titan Street in Point Breeze, and told you about plans to replace three older homes with new three story structures. We revisited the block the other day, and discovered that two of those homes are now under construction.

1925 Titan St. with a setback
No setback needed at 1944 Titan St.

As you can see, new construction has appeared at 1925 Titan St., replacing an old row home. They didn't have to do this, but they were kind enough to maintain the cornice line at the second story before they set back the third floor. As a result, it doesn't look totally ridiculous like so many homes with a similar setback. Down the block, 1944 Titan St. has seen construction proceed at a brisk pace, and lacks a setback because it has a previously existing three story home next door. It's currently on the market at a price of $384K. We hope they get what they're asking.

In the background of the second photo above, you can see another home framed on the other side of 20th Street.

Several projects happening

If you've been to Point Breeze lately, you've probably noticed that there's a ton of construction going on all over the neighborhood. Heading up 18th Street the other day, we kept bumping into projects so figured we'd pass along some updates. First, we look at 1334 S. 18th St., which was previously a vacant lot. Just to the north of this construction site, Community Ventures built some affordable housing units a couple years back.

1334 S. 18th St.

Now framed out to two stories, this property will eventually be a single family home. Developers Oakwood Elm LLC bought the corner property last year for $55K which is a pretty good price considering that it's allowing a by-right build of a home that will sell for over $350K. The vacant lot immediately to the south, in case you're wondering, is owned by the City. So look for it to get developed really soon. Or maybe in ten years. We just don't know. One perk for whoever ends up living here is that they'll be mere steps from the still newish cafe, the Pharmacy.

Access to Sardine Bar perhaps too easy?

When the American Sardine Bar opened a couple years ago at 18th & Federal, it was hailed as a wonderful addition to a neighborhood that had seen few if any businesses open in years. Last year, when they were able to add outdoor seating to their establishment, it added a new and wonderful dimension to the business. And now, with the weather warming up, we again start to think about enjoying some onion rings and a cold one at 18th & Federal. But this year, the scene will be a little different.