There's finally light at the end of the tunnel for 2012 Wharton St., a property we first brought to your attention in the fall of 2013. Once upon a time, a huge warehouse made sense at this location, and over the years the building was home to the Philadelphia Traction Company, John Wanamaker's stables, a budget food market, and most recently a printing press. But as the neighborhood has emerged from decades of disinvestment, and new businesses are starting to eye the Point Breeze Avenue corridor, this building and its neighbor at 2010 Wharton St. have actually harmed the neighborhood, cutting off a portion of Point Breeze from its commercial corridor.
When we first visited the 1100 block of S. Syndenham Street back in the fall of 2013, we were very excited to share the news that a blighted building would get renovated and that developers would soon build two new homes. This was particularly noteworthy because at that time, the block was in horrendous condition. It featured numerous vacant lots and a number of blighted buildings as well. This was the case in spite of the fact that the surrounding blocks had seen all kinds of development.
Beginning of the block
But recent years have been kind to this block. When we checked in on the block in 2015, the aforementioned homes had been built, along with a third home on the eastern side of the block. And two more new homes were under construction. And a couple of the once blighted homes had been renovated. Visiting the block today, we see there's been more progress, and there's still more to come.
Point Breeze Avenue has seen incremental improvement over the last few years, as new homes have sprouted in the surrounding neighborhood. OCF Coffee House opened a few years ago at the top of the commercial corridor, taking a space in a renovated building which had been blighted for many years. More recently, the Kind Institute opened its doors in a new construction building at the corner of Point Breeze & Titan. And let's not forget about On Point, a byob coming soon to 1200 Point Breeze Ave., or Design Movement, an antique store that took over a space on the 1200 block previously occupied by a hardware store. Now, good things are on the way for 1245 Point Breeze Ave., another prominent corner on the corridor.
OCF Holdings currently has the building under agreement, and the plans look fantastic, if we may offer our entirely non-biased opinion. The plans call for three floors of apartments over retail, with fifteen residential units in total. Toner Architects did the architecture, and Designblendz did the sweet looking renderings.
A Facebook post yesterday caught our attention, as it shared the news about a new corner grocery store planned for Point Breeze. 1713 McKean St. has been sitting vacant for many years, despite the total renovation of the former Abbott Dairy building next door. It turns out, the building is owned by the same people who did such a great job renovating the dairy building, and now they're working toward a similar goal here.
If you didn't notice the sign on the fence, you could believe that the ongoing construction at the corner of 23rd & Washington is a fabulous example of progress and a step in the right direction for a corridor that's begging for mixed-use development. If you then read the sign, you'd discover the depressing truth that this building, now getting framed out in steel, will be a 60'-tall storage facility, and your excitement would turn to depression. But alas, that's what's happening, though more slowly than we were led to believe last summer.
View at 23rd & Washington
So yeah, this storage facility is happening. But developers on the 2300 block of Alter Street are thus far undeterred as they build a row of new townhomes on the entire south side of this block. The first phase of eight homes looks like it's finished and now the second phase, consisting of six more homes, is underway. You can see the newest homes from Washington Avenue.