South Philly

Former American Thrift Stores

Last week, a reader directed our attention to the corner of 8th & Wolf, to a building that was home to an American Thrift Store location for many years. Back in the days that major supermarkets were satisfied with smaller spaces and no dedicated parking, it was apparently an Acme. Today, the one-story building looks kinda rough.

Corner of 8th & Wolf

As it sits, the property doesn't seem like much of an opportunity. But the parcel is huge, at just under 15K sqft. If a developer were to take on the property and demolish the building, there would be room for over a dozen new homes. Or a nicely sized apartment building. Sure, we don't see a ton of construction this deep into South Philly, but the size of this lot could entice a developer looking for their next big project.

A block away, at 7th & Wolf, there's a property that's considerably smaller but to our eyes much more interesting.

What do you think?

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awarded Philadelphia's second casino license to Live! Hotel and Casino, a joint venture between Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming. The project will be located at 10th & Packer, where an already existing Holiday Inn will be completely remodeled. The new casino will have 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games, and will be located just a couple of blocks away from Citizens' Bank Park. According to the Inquirer, the Board saw the casino's proximity to the stadiums as a major benefit and hopes that spillover from games and events will increase casino revenue. Also, there was apparently a belief that gamblers would predominantly travel by car, which could have been troublesome for the two downtown casino proposals.

Not like the last construction we told you about in the neighborhood

Perhaps you remember that the other day, we told you about four homes under construction on Chaucer Street in Packer Park, finding this notable because we don't typically see much construction in this neighborhood. It turned out if you recall, that this construction was only happening because of a fire last year that necessitated replacing the buildings that were here previously. While we were in the neighborhood though, we came upon a row of ten homes just a few blocks away that our foxy-sense told us were quite new.

Geary Estates

The homes in question are on the 1900 block of Geary Street and you would surely agree that they look like they were dropped in from Francisville or Graduate Hospital. After doing some digging around in the trenches of the internet, we discovered that these homes are pretty new to the scene, selling throughout 2013 and into 2014. The price range for these puppies ranged from $450K to almost $550K. In case you don't remember what this block looked like before these homes went up, check this out:

Look like the homes that were here before

We don't see it too often, but every now and then we find out about construction in Packer Park, near the stadiums. Recently, a reader, perhaps on his way to see the Sixers lose, came upon four homes under construction on the 3200 block of Chaucer Street. This seemed odd, as this block has been built up for many years and he seemed to remember homes in this location previously. He was quite right- there were homes here before.

About a year ago
Recent view

Our first thought was that a developer purchased the row of homes, seeing an opportunity to build a block of new homes for resale. But public record indicates that 3237-43 Chaucer St. are all still privately owned by the same people who owned them a year ago. Then we looked more carefully at the permits for this project and discovered that the new homes were replacing homes damaged in a fire. Last September, a fire ravaged one of the homes and damaged three more. Thankfully, nobody suffered more than minor injuries as a result. But it seems the homes were damaged beyond repair, and now the families impacted by the fire are getting brand new homes as a result.

So there you go folks. It's not an exciting wave of redevelopment coming to Packer Park; it's just four families trying to get back what they lost in a fire. We send those families our good wishes, and hope that construction wraps up asap.

Huge parcel could be big opportunity

A thread on Philadelphia Speaks inspired us to highlight a blighted hulking building on a giant chunk of land down by the stadiums. Located at 3200 S. Broad St., you've almost definitely passed this property if you've ever driven or walked to a game.

South of the highway, near the stadiums

Way back in the day, before even Municipal Stadium was built, this was the site of a varnish factory according to historical maps. In the middle of the 20th century, it was the Southern Home for Destitute Children, an orphanage, so says one of the commenters on Philadelphia Speaks. Now, it's sitting empty.

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