Point Breeze

Filling in two long vacant lots

Though many surrounding blocks have improved dramatically over the last several years, the 2000 block of Reed Street has remained stubbornly crappy. Part of that may have to do with the fact that there's a funeral home at the corner of 20th & Reed. But we'd say it's got more to do with the the fact that there have been several long vacant properties on the south side of the block and the north side of the block has historically been a mix of vacant land and a big ugly warehouse. But times are changing for this block.

Looking west on the 2000 block of Reed

Closer look at two new homes

At 2036 and 2040 Reed St., developers are building a pair of new townhomes. These lots have been sitting empty for at least a decade, so it's encouraging to see that they are finally filling in. Also notable, the blighted home next door was purchased by another developer back in 2014, so there's a good chance it will soon get redeveloped as well. As for the still vacant lot at 2038 Reed St., it's owned by a City agency and could continue to sit empty for years to come. Or it could change hands tomorrow, for affordable or market rate housing. One thing is almost certain, if someone does buy it, they will almost definitely not pay full price, as we've seen time and time again in this neighborhood.

We'd have expected duplexes

Wharton Square Park should be a gem in Point Breeze, a block sized green space on the western side of the neighborhood. You'd think that the homes surrounding the park on 23rd, 24th, Wharton, and Reed Streets would be among the most sought after in the neighborhood, but we'd say we've probably seen less development on the blocks facing the park than we've seen on many other seemingly inferior blocks in the neighborhood. We don't have a great explanation for this. But there has been plenty of development on blocks near the park, and it seems likely that development will eventually push onto the streets surrounding the park. For example, two homes now under construction on the 2200 block of Reed Street could drive additional attention to the area.

We'll see whether the ZBA says okay

We went to the South Philadelphia HOMES community meeting earlier this week and despite the fact that a member of the community accused the moderator of spouting "fake news," it was a pretty tame evening. That's not to say that any of the projects got community support, but no police presence was needed so we'll call it a win.

First on the agenda were two identical projects on the 2000 block of Oakford Street, a block that marks the beginning of Oakford as it springs off of Point Breeze Avenue. Developers are looking to build four story duplexes at 2009 and 2021 Oakford St., which are currently sitting empty. In between these lots, a different developer is currently working on a single family home.

Unexpected, on the 1600 block

From what we understand, the Point Breeze Avenue commercial corridor was once an amazing neighborhood amenity, with such a selection of stores that neighbors rarely needed to venture to Center City for shopping purchases. Today, this is not the case, as the Breeze is home to more empty retail space and vacant land than businesses. In fits and starts, the corridor is reawakening, as a handful of new establishments have opened over the last few years, like On Point Bistro, Tasty Toast, Kind Institute, and most recently, Mattei Family Pizza. But Point Breeze Avenue still has light years to travel before it can be favorably compared to its similarly diagonal sister street, Passyunk Avenue.

We've been more focused on the northern blocks of the corridor, thinking that new businesses will drift from north to south in the same way that development has moved through the neighborhood. So it was a bit of a surprise to learn that developers were looking to build a pair of mixed-use buildings on the 1600 block on Point Breeze Avenue. This block has more vacant lots than existing buildings, but it has been home to the Point Breeze Popup Beer Garden for the last couple years. The zoning notices at 1606 and 1650 Point Breeze Ave. sit on either side of the beer garden.

Plus a two story rehab, too

If you asked us even a year ago if we expected that the 2200 block of Cross would be humming with development, we would have responded with a resounding no. First, it's on the wrong side of Point Breeze Avenue. And aside from that, it's too far south!

But we would have been wrong. As we've seen, developers are now building west of Point Breeze Avenue, with a bunch of homes now under construction on the 2200 block of Wilder Street. And every time we think that development won't push further south in this neighborhood, it seems to push further south. We should really just stop being surprised by any development at any location in Point Breeze.

Looking east on the 2200 block of Cross Street

The construction on this block comes almost exclusively from one developer, V2 Properties. These guys are getting busy all over town it seems, and Point Breeze is no exception, as they've already done projects on the 1800 block Fernon Street and others. On this block, they're building homes at 2226, 2241 and 2253 Cross St., all of which were previously sitting vacant. Check out these new homes: