In West Philly, the site where a fire took a neighborhood favorite on Christmas Eve in 2012 will become the newest site for Greensgrow, an organization dedicated to increasing healthy and fresh produce options in underserved urban areas.
Beginning in April, Greensgrow will take over the former site of Elena's Soul at 4912 Baltimore Ave., which has remained vacant since the building was demolished following the fire, the West Philly Local reported. The site will operate as an urban farm growing small plant starts and trees; there will also be workshops and a small farmer's market, according to the WPL.
When we checked in on 3221 Spring Garden St. last summer, the 24-unit building with 13 parking spots was just starting to get framed out. Passing by last week, plenty of progress is apparent. We're quite confident that the building will be ready to accommodate the wave of new students seeking shelter for the fall of 2014. From the looks of it, even kids looking to make the move over the summer could be in luck.
This is progressing
As we drank in the progress on the north side of the street, a large new building on the southern side of the block caught our eye. For years, 3222 Spring Garden St. contained vacant land and a one-story garage. Now, it's looking rather different thanks to the efforts of the same developers building a triplex at 42nd & Chestnut.
The last few years have been rough ones for the Philadelphia School District, with budget shortfalls, layoffs, and school closings. One would think that the District would be aggressively working to sell shuttered schools in an effort to fill some of the gap in their budget, but that process to this point has been, let's say, measured. We still think they should have considered the $100M ofer for all the closed schools from Municipal Acquisitions, but that ship has sailed. Still, an Inquirer report earlier this week informed us that some schools are finally going to be sold, with plans for two to be redeveloped.
Architecturally, West Philadelphia has some of the most interesting buildings in town. Standard Philly row homes, Old Victorians, Greco-Roman inspired buildings, and plenty of other styles line the streets of West Philly, distinguishing it from much of South Philly, for example. We were on the 4600 block of Sansom Street yesterday investigating a reader tip, and came upon 4622 Sansom St., a vacant lot. Next door looks like a building that was once a twin to this property. A photo from Phillyhistory.org confirms this.
The now-demolished building in 1954
The corner lot has been vacant for at least a decade, and the home next door looks to be much worse for the wear of having lost its neighbor. Across the street, a building constructed in a similar style remains intact, though with perhaps a little too much vinyl.