Looking east on Girard toward the El. Scaffolding is still up but they're getting there.
While it's nice to provide an update on a project we previously covered, today we're far more interested in the long-vacant lot just a few doors to the west. 225-29 W. Girard Ave. has been vacant for as long as we can remember. A reader tipped us off that it was listed for sale earlier this month for $400K which we confess seems like a pretty high price considering the property's location and odd shape. Still, if someone were to purchase this lot it would represent an interesting development opportunity.
Lately we've been abuzz with talk about redevelopment opportunities in Kensington around 6th & Thompson. Potential is certainly good to talk about, but what we really like to see is construction actually taking place. Such is the case with the renovations of a couple of bruised and vacant properties just north of 5th & Girard.
In the past
For years, the strip of buildings at 1210-14 N. 5th St. has sat apparently vacant and surrounded by empty lots. They had a ghost town kind of charm to them, in a way. Thing is, this ain't a ghost town. Disinvestment had become the main tenant, and all of the properties featured first floor space that seemingly once contained stores. When we passed by recently though, renovations had been made to the two southern properties, with new windows installed and tidied brickwork. According to public record, 1208-12 N. 5th St. sold last April for $365K to 1208-12 N 5th St. LLC.
From time to time we come across an intersection and write about one development related story, only to find that a few months later that same intersection or very close to it becomes a hotbed of redevelopment stories.
One of our recent kicks is 6th & Thompson. While the northeast corner contains one of the cooler looking buildings in the neighborhood, both the northwest and southwest corners are huge vacant lots. Some of the lots on the northwest corner look like they serve as a green space for the neighborhood. While neighborhood green space is a beautiful thing, it’s clear that both of these corners represent tremendous development opportunities. Or at the least, one of them could be developed and the other maintained as open space.
Cool looking mixed-use rehab on northeast corner
As far as what would be developed first, our money’s on the southwest corner. Formerly owned by a church, the five properties that make up this large lot were together purchased last year by Thompson Street Holdings LLC. With a purchase price of $250K, one would have to imagine that big plans are in store for this parcel.
In South Kensington, the public sources are indirectly investing more than $1M, including a $250K grant from the American Street Empowerment Zone, overseen by the Department of Commerce, to spur business development at 1600 N. American St., for years a large vacant lot. This is an area that’s teeming with residential development, and there are currently plans for two huge mixed-use projects a couple of blocks south of here that would bring 500-plus new units and additional retail to the area.
Looking up American Street
Last month, the City, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and Veyko, a metal fabrication firm now located in Northern Liberties, celebrated groundbreaking for a new $2.1M manufacturing facility. PIDC financed $933K for the project. Because of its location in an area targeted for revitalization, the project was afforded the benefits of the Empowerment Zone, which was launched in 1994. It’s one of three projects in the American Street Empowerment Zone that will receive grants. The new facility will afford Veyko the opportunity to create 15 new jobs.
Redevelopment in South Kensington has been all over our board as of late the way Francisville was a year ago. So that has us thinking about this worn two-story building at 1300 N. 4th St. on the northwest corner at 4th & Thompson.
Time to be redeveloped
The building features a rusted protector in front of a ground-floor commercial space. Over two and a half years ago, permits were filed to turn that retail space into a barber shop and to build an addition on the third floor, so that the building would have apartments on its second and third floors. Since then, nothing has progressed. This building was last purchased for almost nothing, only $8K in 2005, according to public record. Right next door there is an undersized vacant lot and next to that are two homes that were built in the last few years that both sold for over $300K.