Point Breeze

New home coming in its stead

At the corner of 17th & Alter, just a few steps south of Washington Avenue, we recently discovered a building getting demolished. 1112 S. 17th St. was, for many years, a church, and was most recently home to the Commission Community Church of God. Before that, it was known at the 17th Street Church of God, and prior to that we could not tell you. It doesn't look like the building was originally constructed to be a church, but it doesn't look like it was built to be a home either.

In the past

Whatever the building pictured above was originally built for is moot at this point, as it's now getting torn down. We passed by the other day and discovered the 2nd story is gone. The rest will surely follow.

Half demolished

Developers bought the property back in February and are planning a new single-family home on the site. Considering the 17.5' x 62' footprint of the parcel, it's gonna be a really nice house that may even have parking in the rear. The home will have some downsides though. As you can see, there are warehouses immediately next door to and right behind the future home. But we'd wager that those are just temporary inconveniences. It seems like it's only a matter of time before those buildings also meet the wrecking ball and new homes rise in their place. And we'd wager it will happen sooner rather than later.

New homes, new bar, new dirt lot

We've been covering changes at the intersection of 21st & Federal for quite some time, with several projects making a mark at different corners. On the northeast corner, a row of seven homes have sprouted, replacing a long vacant lot. This was originally going to be fourteen condo units, but feedback from some near neighbors resulted in the revised plan. The homes, which have 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and parking in the rear, are currently listed for $479K and several are already under agreement. Wowza.

Row of homes are nearly done

On the southeast corner, we told you about a former launderette getting demolished back in November. We first covered this building way back in the summer of 2011, and for years it stood in dilapidated condition before it was thankfully put out of its misery. No idea what's happening there at the moment, though we've heard whispers that it's available for sale. It would certainly make a nice spot for a new home. Meanwhile, immediately next door at 2046 Federal St., a foundation appeared over the last few weeks. That will soon be a four-story triplex which we're guessing will be sold as condos. But rentals would make sense too.

A major project coming before the community, this time with parking

About a year ago, we told you of plans from OCF Holdings to demolish a warehouse at 20th & Wharton and replace it with twenty-two homes. The plan seemed like a no-brainer, as the warehouse sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood just a block away from a commercial corridor. The property is zoned for industrial use and while this may have been extremely appropriate many decades ago, it's clearly not the way of the future. Nobody's interested in animal husbandry or a lumberyard at 20th & Wharton, we'd imagine.

Current view
Zoning map. Red is commercial, yellow and orange are residential, purple is industrial.

JKR Partners did the design work, and this is a rendering of the previously proposed project. Please note, the second warehouse that's immediately to the west is not part of the project, but the developers were cooperating to make the two proposals architecturally compatible. That proposal, for 48 homes, is currently in limbo.

Three homes are under construction

A few years ago, the tide of development started flowing across Washington Avenue, and new homes appeared on blocks like Ellsworth, Federal, and Latona Streets. But there wasn't a whole lot happening south of Wharton Street, at least in the western sections of Point Breeze. More recently, we've seen a serious bump in construction south of Wharton, with many projects in the ground and some more still to come. Today we look at the 1700 block of Dickinson Street, where three homes are currently under construction and at least one more should follow soon.

Two new homes are under construction

The southeast corner of 18th & Dickinson has been vacant since at least 2007 per Google Maps, and we're guessing for many years before that as well. If you visit the corner today, you'll see two new homes under construction. Emerald Properties bought the three lots on the corner a couple of years ago and now they're redeveloping the properties. The corner lot is zoned commercial and has approvals for a first floor commercial space and an apartment above. They have an application to the ZBA to build a single-family home, but whether they get approval remains to be seen.

An interesting effort to improve the neighborhood

As community groups go, it seems Newbold Neighbors Association has all the fun ideas. Their biggest fundraiser every year takes place in the form of a neighborhood beer tour. Last spring, they added a wine tour to the docket. Count us in.

The source of the Newbold name

NNA's latest and greatest idea has a decidedly less boozy theme, but could have major implications for the neighborhood's improvement in the years to come. A few weeks back, the group announced a microgrant program designed to fund plans to improve the community. The group is currently taking applications for $500 grants for anything that people can imagine to "make the neighborhood a better place." Can we get some other community groups in on this idea?

The application demands that people really think through their proposals. Applicants must live within the group's boundaries, which go from Broad Street to 18th Street, Washington Avenue to Passyunk Avenue. The projects, which must be for public consumption, also need to occur within those boundaries. The preference is that the funding goes toward materials rather than labor. Also, the group is seeking projects that fulfill at least one, and ideally multiple goals of the organization, including "improve public safety, beautify the neighborhood, support sustainable development, promote local businesses, provide greener streets, help reach new residents, and foster smart planning and zoning."

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