Queen Village

After years and years of fabric stores

When we last checked in on the corner of 4th & Fitzwater, new construction at the southwest corner was approaching completion. Remember, the building that once stood here burned in the spring of 2013, leading to its demolition. While its replacement was under construction, Jack B. Fabrics moved to the 743 S. 4th St., on the southeast corner. In the months since our last visit, the construction finished up and the fabric store moved back to its original location, leaving the space across the street vacant. But it appears as though plans are in the works to fill that space.

Former and present home of Jack B. Fabrics
LCB notice in the window across the street

The names on the LCB application are Scott Schroeder and Patrick O'Malley. Schroeder, according to Philly Voice, is the chef at SPTR and American Sardine Bar. O'Malley is a pastry chef. As of last week, there were no additional details on the project.

Construction is getting started

The warehouse at 112-20 Christian St. that was once home to the Scandinavian Shipping Supply Co. is no more. In its place, a vacant lot. But not for long. Back in the fall of 2013, we told you about plans for the demolition of the building and plans to replace it with nine townhomes. At that time, the developers and the community were still hammering out the details for the project, which was to have four homes on Christian Street and five behind them, facing an interior courtyard. But despite support from members of the Queen Village Neighbors Association, the Planning Commission, and the councilman, the project was denied by the ZBA last spring.

In the past

At the time, there was concern that the developers might simply default to a project they could do by right, a 29-unit apartment building. But somewhere along the line, a variant of the original project was reintroduced and found favor in the eyes of the ZBA. Now, an altered version of this project is underway, though we confess we don't know what changes were made to appease the ZBA.

Because the developers chipped off all the original details

In the summer of 2013, the Antiquarian's Delight at 6th & Bainbridge closed its doors when the building they called home for many years changed hands. About a year ago, we were excited to share the news that the structure, a former synagogue with wonderful original details, would be preserved and converted into an apartment building. Over the summer though, we were extremely disappointed to see that the developers, who also own Bella Vista Beer and Bainbridge Street Barrel House, had decided to remove the Jewish markings on the building that expressed its history.

Jewish stars and Hebrew words were scraped off the facade

We passed by the other day, and the renovation is done. The bricks have been cleaned up considerably and new windows have gone in. The side of the building has been stuccoed, and the Jewish stars on the front have been replaced by some weird design that's matched on the upper floor of the northern wall.

What a difference this will make

At the bottom of Fabric Row, at 4th & Queen, a collection of buildings are under construction as part of a project that's transforming a long-lousy corner. Previously, the southwest corner of this intersection contained a collection of stucco-covered buildings that were probably quite old, but altered beyond recognition from their original condition.

In the past

Over the summer, we brought you to this corner as renovations were just getting underway. A laundromat that had lived here for years had closed down, and the facade of the corner building and several more to the south were getting work done. Passing by the other day, the construction has stepped up several notches.

Current view

For the corner building, the height has been bumped up several feet, now exceeding that of the building next door. A few doors down, two stories have been added atop a former garage. New bays have appeared, and several storefront windows have been carved out, making the space more attractive for retail tenants down the road. And thankfully, the two intact cornices look like they're being preserved.

A reader pointed us to a website for this project, which is called 404 Queen. There, we discovered a rendering for this bad boy.

But we make no promises

The pasty building at 718-724 S. 2nd St. has looked awful for many years. Most recently, Queen Village neighbors hired a lawyer to make sure a new developer who started work on the building this fall without community involvement was doing it safely.

Several weeks ago

For at least the past eight years, neighbors have been staring at a blighted construction site in the middle of a well developed residential strip of Queen Village. We first wondered about the site that includes a section fronting Monroe Street three years ago. Then it was owned Queens Mews South LP, a Brooklyn company that after a long, lengthy complicated community process went belly up, according to Mike Hauptman, Queen Village Neighbors Association zoning chair.

“We could sort of tell it wasn't a great project,” said Hauptman, an architect, about those plans. It involved stringing numerous addresses into one parcel. The building looks like single-family homes, but is really one apartment building with a single entrance. One aspect that concerned neighbors then was that the redevelop, developers planned to go deeper underground than the neighboring homes where they would build extra support, a delicate process known as underpinning. So when the developer went bankrupt and the property sat like a worn tooth, neighbors weren't thrilled for a number of reasons.