Queen Village

Project not going how we expected

Months ago, when there was still snow on the ground, we told you about three homes coming to the 100 block of League Street. At that time, we expected that an old auto garage backing up to League Street but fronting Washington Avenue would be demolished and the three homes would rise in its place. Thanks to a tip from a reader, we've learned that the garage is apparently gonna stick around. Instead it seems we have a clumsy looking reuse project on our hands.

Conversion, not replacement
View on League St.

We would have to imagine that once the new interior walls are complete the developers will tear down the preexisting facades, but at this point we don't know for sure. We are, though, sticking to our original contention that the curb cuts on Washington Avenue will remain, allowing for parking in the rear of these new homes. Though the method for construction is unlike most we've seen around town, we still feel confident that the new homes will sell for a pretty penny.

For what reason?

Over the winter, we were thrilled to share the news that a former synagogue at the corner of 6th & Bainbridge, long home to an antiques market, was being converted into thirteen apartments. We praised the developers, the owners of Bella Vista Beer and the nearby Bainbridge Street Barrel House, for preserving the building and not tearing it down. Standing in contrast to so much new construction these days, this building has tremendous character and numerous details that mark its original use.

The building

Unfortunately, we just learned that many of those details were just removed from the building for reasons we just can't comprehend. Just an hour ago, a reader sent us a photo of one of the workers on the site chipping out on the Jewish stars on the building's facade.

Few, if any, horses remain

You can tell by looking that the structure occupying 213-219 Fitzwater St. used to be something.  In fact, its name and markings leave little mystery that horses lived there at some point.  But the location has been repurposed several times, both before and after the equine portion of its history.  The image below, taken from Samuel L. Smedley’s 1862 Philadelphia Atlas, shows that the plot in question was at one time called Burlington Place. 

Burlington Place on German Street, 1862

Burlington Place stood on what was then called German Street and was listed as “north of 35.”  The only other information that we have at our disposal is the fact that it was dubbed Burlington Pl. by ordinance in 1858.  According to Philadelphia Architects and Buildings, Burlington Court would be transformed into Stable Court in 1899.  It was at this juncture that the edifice acquired its distinctive horse head stonework.  The location is shown here below in an image taken from G.W. Bromley’s 1910 Philadelphia Atlas

Any engineers have some thoughts?

In March, we told you about 733 S. 3rd St., a fixer-upper if there ever was one. The building, laid out as a duplex, had wonderful bones, but was missing a couple of crucial details. Like, you know, windows.

A few months back

As that time, the building had just been purchased for $300K and was instantly put back onto the market for $400K. We were pessimistic that that building would sell at that price without some improvements and to their credit, the property owners have been actively fixing up the property. New windows have been installed. The corner space which was home to a business many moons ago has been painted. And some bricks have been removed in a way we've not seen before.

Current view
Missing bricks

We don't claim to be engineers, but something looks a little off here. Any construction experts care to chime in on what's going on here? As in why the owners are doing this and what exactly they're doing? We have to assume it's safe as it doesn't appear as though the site has been shut down, but it sure looks weird. Any additional insight would be much appreciated.

In the meantime, the property is still on the market for $400K. And if they continue working on the property, it might soon be worth that much.

From church to synagogue to condos

The building at 771 S. 2nd St. immediately strikes the passerby as distinct from its surroundings.  In a neighborhood of attached single-family residencies, this building is unattached and set back from the street in a gated and tree-filled yard.  According to Hexamer & Locher’s 1858 Philadelphia Atlas, the building in question was occupied by the First Baptist Church.

The First Baptist Church, 1858

The Preservation Alliance lists both the date and architect of the building as unknown, though Mookieland estimates the former to be around 1809.  Apparently, according to the image here below, taken from G.M. Hopkins’ 1875 Philadelphia Atlas, the church had somehow been demoted to the Third Baptist Church.