West Philly

A few different projects are puttering along

Between the 4200 and 4400 blocks of Chestnut Street in Spruce Hill, there are several active construction and/or redevelopment sites to be found. So last week, we took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to get a snapshot of what's going on. We didn't need to go much past 42nd Street to find the first project. The building at 4212 Chestnut St. is currently being demolished, work which should stretch over the next few weeks. It looks like this building was an office building of some kind, but soon it'll be gone.

4212 Chestnut St. being torn down

We haven't heard what exactly is going on here and came up rather empty poking around online. The property was sold in 2014 for around $1.1M to an entity with the same mailing address as the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. It traded again a few months back, as a developer based out of Southampton bought it for $1.75M. As of now, there are no permits that indicate what will replace this old building, but student housing seems like a safe bet.

Combination of new construction and a former frat house

Perry World House opened to the public in September, shortly after the fall semester got started at Penn, after about a year of construction. In finally getting around to covering this building, we admit we're a little late to the party. But better late than never, we'd say, and this especially applies when sharing images of a building this excellent.

The finished building

We first told you about this project in the fall of 2015, shortly after construction got underway. At the time, we shared some of the history of the 3800 and 3900 blocks of Locust Street, where most of the buildings were demolished when Penn built the superblock section of campus in the 1960s. Only a few structures remained, including 3803 Locust St., a building that was designed by Samuel Sloan and dated back to the 1850s. The building was used by a fraternity for many years, but had been sitting vacant in anticipation of this project.

How did this lot come to exist?

There's a vacant lot at 318 N. 42nd St. where developers are looking to build something new. Ho hum, more student housing for this block, which saw three new homes go up a few years ago and is a stone's throw away from dozens of relatively fresh projects. So why do we bother bringing this little property to your attention?

The property

Looking up 42nd Street

A peek at the zoning application is the first indication that there's something unusual afoot. The application calls for two buildings- a single family home and a rear building with 6 apartments and 6 parking spots. Looking at the parcel from the street, this doesn't seem so possible. Looking at it from above, all is explained.

What a combination

If you want to be a hero at work, one of the best ways is to show up with a dozen donuts from Beiler's. They're delicious, they're relatively inexpensive (11 bucks for a dozen!), and for some added comedy, the Fruity Pebbles donut has been known to provoke the occasional office brawl. But alas, if you don't live or work near Reading Terminal Market, Beiler's has represented a neigh impossible dream.

But no longer. About a month ago, Beiler's opened up a new location at 3900 Chestnut St., on the first floor of the Chestnut Hall apartment building. Now, Penn students, Drexel students, and the tens of thousands that work on this side of the river have easy access to Beiler's and new office heroes are emerging every day. The donuts are just that powerful. We didn't even dare walk in the door, for fear we'd be unable to resist the urge.

A decidedly contemporary look in West Philadelphia

We just can't quit you, 4000 block of Baring Street. We were here just last week, telling you about a five unit project just getting started on the block. As we were writing that story, we were kicking ourselves for not getting decent photos of Good Food Flats, a much more significant project down the street that's now approaching the finish line. You may recall, we first told you about this project at 4030 Baring St. in December of 2015 after predicting for years that a row of butchered old buildings would eventually get demoed and replaced with new construction. We also were able to find an image of what these buildings looked like once upon a time, showing the extent to which time and poor stewardship can ruin architecture.