South Philly

Behind thrift store turned laundromat

A reader reached out to us the other day, having unexpectedly discovered some zoning notices on the 700 block of Daly Street. We had never visited this block before, though we covered an Acme turned thrift shop turned laundromat around the corner at 8th & Wolf a couple years ago.

Laundromat on Wolf Street

Behind this building is the 700 block of Daly Street, a fairly standard South Philly block with a little more vacancy than we'd have expected. The north side of the street is mostly filled in, though there are a handful of double-wide vacant lots to be found. The south side of the block worse, with a mix of vacant lots and a fenced-in surface parking lot. It's two of the vacant lots on the south side, 728 and 730 Daly St., that have the zoning notices.

Almost at Oregon Avenue

Tasked with purchasing some ephemera for a New Years Eve party, we recently found our way to Party City, located in the Whitman Shopping Center at 3rd & Oregon. Party hats and plastic champagne flutes in hand, we made our way back toward Center City, enjoying the South Philly experience of driving north on 2nd Street for a spell. After just a block though, we were stopped dead in our tracks by the sight of some new construction on the 2500 block of S. 2nd Street. This is simply not an area where we would ever expect to find any development activity. And yet...

Three new homes

Two foundations next door

We couldn't tell you why this unassuming block had a large stretch of empty lots for many years on its western side. But if we turn back the clock to 2007, we see that the vacancy dates back at least a decade.

It's now a church, obv

Did you know that there was a vibrant Jewish community in South Philadelphia in the first half of the 20th century? Don't believe us? Well, someone wrote a book on the subject, so it must be true. And there's some considerable architectural evidence that backs us up as well. Previously, we've told you about some buildings that were originally used by the Jewish community but have since been reused for different purposes, like the senior housing building at 5th & Moore that was built as Jewish Education Center #1, or the synagogue turned flea market turned apartment building at 6th & Bainbridge, where the current owners inexplicably chiseled away all the evidence of the building's Jewish history. Yesterday, quite by accident, we happened upon a former synagogue at 1826 S. 6th St., a building that was converted into a church a few decades ago.

Large laundromat on the way

Several readers have reached out to us, wondering about some slow moving construction at the southwest corner of 22nd & W. Passyunk. Some folks might remember that a Goodwill store was located for years at 2334 S. 22nd St., but the store closed a few years ago and no other business has taken over the space in the years since.

In the past

We were doing some grocery shopping at the (somewhat underrated) Shop Rite at 23rd & Oregon over the weekend, and figured this would be a nice opportunity to check in on the property. The building has been vacant for awhile and a renovation is taking place which suggests a new tenant on the horizon, though to date, we'd describe the pace of the renovation efforts as "medium," at best. Finding out what's next was pretty straightforward, as the L&I Map provided more detail than we could have hoped for.

Some lipstick for a pig

Ah, Snyder Plaza. You love that it's there when you need to make a Target run or you want to take your weepy four year to Chuck E. Cheese's, but deep down you hate it because of the awful traffic flow and the fact that it doesn't even remotely relate to the surrounding urban environment. But one thing we've always appreciated about the shopping center is the mural on Swanson Street, on the side of the building that was home to Shop Rite for many years. We believe a Fresh Grocer is taking over that space, by the way, but we haven't seen that formally announced anywhere.

Mural on the former Shop Rite

Future Fresh Grocer?

Perhaps inspired by the aforementioned mural and perhaps just because the shopping center hasn't exactly been a wonder to behold, the Mural Arts Program has teamed with the Goldenberg Group to pretty up Snyder Plaza. According to Mural Arts, the shopping center is turning into Swanson Walk, a transformation that will mean new buildings, new stores, and some new public art. The first murals were completed at the end of September, with four local artists putting their mark on Swanson Walk. The new murals certainly make for a more attractive shopping center, and we'll be excited to what happens next.