West Philly

Setbacks and no porches

In Powelton Village, tucked amongst a row of older row homes, three new single-family homes are currently being constructed where once stood a vacant unkempt lot for many years at 42nd & Baring. The lots were owned for decades by Drexel University, which wisely decided to unload them in 2012.

In the past

The string of three lots back up to Drexel's Vidas Athletic Complex and was purchased in June 2012 for $148K by North 42nd St LLC along with another lot down the street. So far the three-story homes have been framed out and, notably feature third floor setbacks to "blend in" with the two story homes on the block. Though without front porches, they'll never really fit in with the surrounding housing stock.

After almost two years

Two years after a Christmas Eve fire at Elenas's Soul toppled three businesses along the 4900 block of Baltimore Avenue, Gary's Nails, the third business that closed due to the fire, is now undergoing renovations to reopen.

After the fire

When we passed by a couple of days ago, we saw new lumber inside 4910 Baltimore Ave. as well as a dumpster outside, and work permits in the window. And next door at 4912, where Elena's Soul used to be, a new Greensgrow site, a small urban farm that sells what it grows, was open. Right next door to that, the Cedar Park Cafe has been open since August.

Shades of Convention Hall

When the Wells Fargo Center, then called the Corestates Center, opened in 1996, it quickly gained a reputation as one of the best stadiums in the country. And the old girl has aged pretty well, as anybody who's attended a Flyers game, a Sixers game, or Disney on Ice could tell you. But like anything in this world, stadiums have a lifespan. And with eighteen years having passed since it opened, it's reasonable to start thinking about what will succeed the Wells Fargo Center. To their credit, building owners Comcast Spectacor are already on the task.

Wells Fargo Center. Image from Wikipedia.

From what we understand, they intend to take a page out of the Phillies' playbook and are heavily engaged in talks to build their next stadium closer to downtown Philadelphia. Their sights are firmly set on the rail yards which sit between the Art Museum and the eastern end of Drexel's campus. You may recall, we told you in November that Drexel is aggressively working to put together a master plan for this 96-acre site which is as well located as it is underutilized. According to Drexel rep Sheila Igun, Comcast Spectacor is trying to get a new stadium incorporated into the master plan.

Could add to energy on Baltimore Ave.

There's been so much talk about development up near the 5000 block of Baltimore Ave. in West Philly the past six months, one could almost forget about numerous plans for redevelopment down near the other side of Baltimore, before Clark Park, closer to the 40th Street Portal.

There are plans for the portal itself to be renovated from a 16K sqft concrete trolley station into a green space engineered with green infrastructure, like green roofs, an estimated $3M project, according to numbers reported in the Daily Pennsylvanian, plus there was another public meeting yesterday, hosted by developers U3 Ventures regarding the 92-unit proposal at a long-vacant 43rd & Baltimore lot.

Now, it appears more improvements are on the horizon on this side of Baltimore Ave., as representatives of The City School Spruce Hill campus presented plans to renovate portions of the facade of their structure, an old church at 4115 Baltimore Ave., as well as build a small, very modern looking addition to an older building, to the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee at its February meeting.

Looks very dramatic

For some time, 3827 Hamilton St. was a fenced-in vacant lot. The folks who own it have had it since 2007, and own several rental properties in the area. In 2012, they decided to redevelop the property, and got a variance from the ZBA to build a three-unit building. Within the last few months, work got underway on a new structure. But a week and a half ago, the building, still being framed out, collapsed. Passing by over the weekend, we discovered a site that's still in need of significant cleanup.

Collapsed building

This building was going up a few doors down from another project we've previously covered. In the fall, a new twelve-unit building finished up, replacing an old warehouse. We would imagine that the place is full of students at this point.

New apartments down the block

Around the corner on Lancaster Avenue, twenty-two more units on coming soon. We last checked in on 3862-68 Lancaster Ave. back in December, before groundbreaking on the three-story building. Now it seems it's fully framed out.