Spring Garden

Loonstyn at it again

While it's a bit of a slow train coming, redevelopment along North Broad Street, or at least plans for it, continue to surface. While it's still very early in the process, Loonstyn Properties, which has become a major developer in the area over the past few years, is currently under agreement to purchase three buildings near 15th & Melon, a block west of North Broad, just south of Fairmount Avenue.

Of the three buildings, two could become a mixed-use project with ground-floor commercial. Those two, 1427 and 1429-35 Melon St., are now a one- and two-story brick garage that absolutely scream reuse. The brick looks like it's in good condition, the brick arched door on the two-story building is charming, a type less seen. The third building, 675 N. 15th St., will remain in its current state as a four-unit residential building, though minor renovations will be made as needed. According to Bill Loonstyn Jr., it's still too early to decide whether the buildings will be converted or not. The company is still looking for an architect, and plans are preliminary.

Is it back?

Back in November, we told you that Momoyo at 20th & Brandywine was closed, possibly temporarily and perhaps forever. Last week, a reader told us that work being done to the storefront, and a retro sign had been revealed. We passed by the other day and saw the old sign, and noted that it will soon be covered up forever.

Old sign is being covered
Check out the panels

Though one of the workers on the site told us that Momoyo was open for business, it certainly doesn't look like it. And their Facebook page has no activity since last summer. Does anyone know what's going on with this business? And what do people think about the panels being installed on the storefront?

We told you it would be so

Last summer, we told you that five new homes were coming to the 600 block of Sydenham St., which is part of an easy-to-miss nook in the Spring Garden neighborhood. We first visited this block in 2011, when a row of homes on the 1500 block of Melon Street were under construction. Those homes are finished and sold, and now some new houses are joining the block, which has seen plenty of new construction in recent years.

The little area in question
Newer homes on Melon

For the last few years, the parcels upon which the Sydenham homes are now rising have been used as an informal parking area, ostensibly for folks who live on the block (whose garages suggest that they didn't really need the extra parking all that much). Originally, the developers proposed six homes for 643-53 N. Sydenham St., but reduced the number down to five before getting the necessary approvals.

It's quite a new home

We first visited 1538 Green St. in June of 2012 when it was still a surface parking lot. We came back to it as digging began for a new foundation. Last fall, a large new home was well underway, but still under construction. Today, the nearly 8,200 sqft home is just about finished. The size of the place hearkens back to the mansions commonly built in this neighborhood a century ago. Many of those have been carved into multiple apartments, but we don’t foresee such a fate for this home.

Over two years ago, we first brought you the news that the Ruffin Nichols Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church at 11th & Mount Vernon had been purchased by developers. At that time, we suspected that this meant the end of the building, and we were right. About a year later, part of the church had been taken down but demolition activity had ceased on the site, creating a weird situation where passersby were able to get a very unusual look inside the mostly-still-standing church.

Two years back
A year ago

Finally, over the last few months, the rest of the church was demolished. Now, the spot where the church stood for many decades is a flat dirt lot. Eventually, we understand fourteen condos and four townhomes will rise here.