West Philly

More progress in the area

A once-stalled new construction project along the 3300 block of Spring Garden Street near Drexel has been completed, but its next door neighbor is still a boarded up and blighted building.

In the past

When we passed by 3309 Spring Garden St. early this month, a new structure with a stucco exterior, as opposed to the traditional brick that compiles the majority of facades along this block, was finished. Looking back at an image of the building in 2011 via Google Maps, we see the ground-floor windows were boarded up and the stucco was unfinished. Looking at the L&I Map, it seems that work paused on the project for a couple of years before ramping up again in 2013. The same developer that built 3309 Spring Garden St. owns the blighted building next door. But recently pulled permits suggest that this building will be rehabbed, with three new apartments coming soon. 

Building has nice bones

Over the years, we've beaten you over the head with stories about redevelopment just north and west of Penn, near Lancaster Avenue. Baring Street in particular has been an unprecedented source of Naked Philly stories, from the slow and steady transformation of the 4000 block to the recent news of three new homes coming to 42nd & Baring. But despite all the new construction and the dozens of new apartments, blight, vacancy, and development opportunities remain. For example, a double wide building we originally mentioned three years ago on 40th Street just north of Baring remains in terrible condition. And a little to the east, a boarded up home represents another opportunity for redevelopment.

3 projects getting started

Early this morning, we were passing through Mantua and spotted a construction fence on the south side of the 3400 block of Wallace Street. Across the street and down the block, we then saw formwork, announcing another project nearby. This made lots of sense to us, as vacant land in this area has become increasingly attractive to investors looking to build student housing. And we'd bet that's exactly what will happen here.

Two triplexes coming
Homes next to future construction

Developer Ramy Shraim bought 3432 and 3434 Wallace St. back in 2012, and is just now getting around to developing them. You may recall, this is the same developer that built a rental property on Lancaster Avenue on the site of an old gas station. According to the L&I Map, Shraim is building two triplexes on these lots, which we are confident will also be rentals. Count on them to target Drexel students.

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.