Naked Philly Blog Posts – OCF Realty Sun, 27 May 2018 06:04:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Naked Philly Blog Posts – OCF Realty 32 32 Pair of Bella Vista Garages Going Residential, Will Keep the Parking Fri, 25 May 2018 21:22:07 +0000 The post Pair of Bella Vista Garages Going Residential, Will Keep the Parking appeared first on OCF Realty.


We’ve always been intrigued by the 900 block of Carpenter Street, as it’s one of the more unusual blocks in Bella Vista. One end of the block ends in the heart of the Italian Market, while the other end features a sweet local cafe, along with Bardascino Park and its legendary bocce courts. The north side of the block is a mix of older homes, newish homes, and some old warehouses and garages. The south side of the block includes some more warehouses and garages, but is dominated by surface parking lot which gets plenty of use from people visiting the Italian Market. Today we turn our attention to two of those garages on the south side of the street, buildings which have been sitting empty for a number of years.

The buildings

Amazingly, we covered 942-944 Carpenter St. way back in 2012, noting that they seemed like a prime redevelopment opportunity and wondering if and when a developer would take advantage. The buildings look pretty much the same today as they did back then, with one notable change. There’s an L&I notice on one of the buildings, indicating there’s some work in progress. We see that developers bought the garages about a year ago and pulled by-right permits to build additions on top of the existing garages, for use as single family homes. As the lots are zoned for single-family use, this certainly makes sense.

Wonderful cafe next door
Bardascino Park, down the street

This project reminds us of another addition we covered previously, on the 800 block of Carpenter. For that project, a developer took a much wider garage and converted it into a very unique residential property. Here, we believe that the developers will build something that’s relatively normal, and they might even demolish most of the existing buildings to produce homes that look less like converted warehouses and more like traditional new construction. It’s actually fairly common for developers to characterize new construction as building an addition in order to preserve something about the existing building. In this case, it would be the garage parking, which would otherwise require a zoning variance. Figure that the inclusion of parking will push up the sale prices for the new homes by a considerable amount, so we can hardly blame them for taking this approach.

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Regent Row Will Bring 36 New Homes to South Kensington Fri, 25 May 2018 14:02:47 +0000 The post Regent Row Will Bring 36 New Homes to South Kensington appeared first on OCF Realty.


Look out South Kensington, here comes the next wave of high end homes. PRDC Properties, the company that redeveloped the corner of 13th & South and is currently building Liberty Square near 5th & Fairmount, is behind this 36-home project, which will span a few different blocks around the intersection of Howard & Montgomery. They’re calling the project Regent Row, and according to a story from, they’ll be breaking ground on the first phase as soon as next month. Currently, the properties that are slated to be redeveloped are a mix of vacant land and old industrial buildings.

SW corner of Howard & Montgomery
East side of Howard, looking toward Montgomery

The first phase calls for ten homes on the west side of Howard Street, with another half dozen homes around back on the phenomenally named but rarely noticed Waterloo Street. The homes will be among the fanciest and largest in the neighborhood, and will include 3,400 sqft of living space, with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and parking. We’re also digging on the architecture work from Atrium Design, as they’ve thought up homes that will have a very contemporary appearance but will still evoke the industrial history of the neighborhood. Also, it appears that the homes built in the first phase won’t look the same as the homes built in future phases, which is a welcome change of pace from what we typically see for projects of this size.

Rendering of SW corner of Howard & Montgomery
Rendering at Howard & Palmer
East side of Howard, close to Montgomery
Aerial view of the project

As we mentioned above and as you can clearly see in the aerial rendering, this project will entail 36 new homes on a few different blocks around the same area. The developers are taking the unusual approach of handling four separate development sites under the umbrella of a single project, at least for now. Depending on the timeline for future phases, we can envision a scenario in which the western sites ultimately fall under a different moniker, but that’s impossible to predict at the moment.

Also worth noting, the prices for the project start at $569K, pre-construction. We have a feeling that the prices will immediately go up as soon as shovels go into the ground, and wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the last homes in the first phase sell for $100K more than the pre-construction price. As we said, these are some of the biggest homes we’ve seen in the neighborhood, and we believe that people that had been thinking about buying in Fishtown will be strongly tempted by these homes to cross the El and come over to South Kensington. When you consider that Frankford Avenue is less than a five minute walk away, it starts to feel like a bit of a no brainer, actually.

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Our Bad, New Building at 5th & Bainbridge Will Have 3 Floors of Parking Above Ground Thu, 24 May 2018 16:25:45 +0000 The post Our Bad, New Building at 5th & Bainbridge Will Have 3 Floors of Parking Above Ground appeared first on OCF Realty.


Just a few weeks ago, we provided an update on the sizable project planned for the north side of the 400 block of Bainbridge Street, after learning more specific details about the plan. We told you to expect a six-story mixed-use building with 54 apartments, a Target on the first floor, and 154 parking spots underground. The CDR packet for the project was recently posted online, and we learned that our intel was a little off base. The project will still go up six stories and the Target is still, uh, on target for happening. The unit count has decreased by half a dozen, to 48 units. More significantly though, the parking lot has shrunk to 120 spaces and it won’t be underground- instead it will occupy the bulk of floors two through four. That’s… not ideal.

Current view

Thanks to the magic of CDR, we can share some renderings of what you can expect to see if and when this project gets built. Design work was done by JKRP Architects.

Project rendering
View from the east
Rendering from the north
Overhead view

The building lays out with the Target on the first floor, apartments all the way up on the western side, parking on floors 2-4 on the eastern side, and apartments on floors 5 and 6, above the parking garage. Most of the current property is used as a surface parking lot, and it’s our understanding that the developers intend to use part of the parking garage in the same fashion, with the rest of the spots reserved for Target customers. Previously, we cheered this approach, appreciating the trade of a surface lot for a functional building while also increasing the count of parking spots over the status quo. That situation hasn’t changed, but our enthusiasm is significantly tempered by the fact that all of those parking spots will be above ground.

Sectional drawing of the building

Inga Saffron wrote a story about this project, wondering whether a reduction in the number of parking spaces could provide an opportunity to chop a floor off the building. We’d offer an alternate suggestion, to keep the building the same size, increase the residential unit count by a few dozen, and bury the parking. South Street ain’t what it used to be, but it’s still a vibrant commercial corridor that’s enjoyed by both tourists and neighborhood residents. Additional density would mean good things for local businesses and moving the parking underground would improve the aesthetics of the proposal as well.

As we mentioned, it’s no sure thing that this project will even happen, since it will require a variance from the ZBA. We don’t think Queen Village is quite as passionate about parking as some other neighborhoods, but we still don’t imagine the community will respond to the proposal with a request for less parking or more density. As we see it though, there’s clearly room for improvement for this project, and we hope some changes find their way into the plans as it moves through the process. Not that this helps, but we’d strongly support the project as it’s currently constituted if they could only find a way to swap Target for Trader Joe’s. Don’t hold your breath, folks.

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Two Story Warehouse Could Flip on Springfield Avenue Wed, 23 May 2018 20:09:10 +0000 The post Two Story Warehouse Could Flip on Springfield Avenue appeared first on OCF Realty.


Within the last six months, we’ve covered three projects that indicate growing developer interest in student housing projects further south and further west than we’ve traditionally seen in Southwest Philadelphia. The first example was at 1047 S. 51st St., where developers proposed a 12-unit building on a vacant lot just south of the Media-Elwyn tracks. That project was ultimately denied at the ZBA a couple months ago, so who knows what will ultimately happen with that property.

Next, we told you about something more substantial, a 22-unit building on the rather yucky 5000 block of Warrington. That project was being built by right and has progressed pretty well over the last several months. Then came the largest project of all, a five-story building with 65 apartments and ground floor retail at 5013 Springfield Ave., pretty much next to the railroad tracks. We’re pretty sure that one is by-right, and hasn’t started yet.

With at least two sizable projects in the queue for this area, it’s reasonable to look at other development opportunities nearby. One such opportunity can be found at 1000 S. Saint Bernard St., a two-story warehouse building that’s currently home to the African Cultural Center. If you look at the building though, you can see there’s a sign posted that indicates it’s available.

The building
Looking toward the train tracks

We reached out to the owners of the property and learned that the cultural center is moving, and they’re looking for $1.5M for the 17K sqft building. From where they sit, the first floor could be used as a banquet hall while the upper floors could be converted to half a dozen apartments. We don’t believe that kind of project would pencil, but it would certainly be cool if a developer were to find a way to maintain the building and repurpose it for student housing. Or, really, any reuse would be cool, like maybe a beer distributor? Alternately, demolition and the construction of a larger apartment building would probably make sense here, given the types of projects we’re seeing nearby. None of those possibilities are terribly likely though, until the asking price comes down a bit.

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Two Big Apartment Projects Pushing Forward on Germantown Ave. Wed, 23 May 2018 15:51:29 +0000 The post Two Big Apartment Projects Pushing Forward on Germantown Ave. appeared first on OCF Realty.


The 1400 block of Germantown Ave. has changed dramatically over the last several years, a microcosm of the evolution of South Kensington as a whole. Most of the projects we’ve seen on this block have been on the small side though, with some single family homes, and some duplexes and triplexes mixed in for good measure. But the two projects currently under construction on the block are horses of a different color.

Corner of Germantown & Master
Looking east on Master
View from the eastern side of the building
Project rendering

We told you back at the end of 2015 to expect a renovation of 1401 Germantown Ave., an old industrial building once used to produce store fixtures. The project comes from G-8 Life, a developer that’s generally built small projects with unusual designs. The design for this one is far from funky, as it’s bringing an old building back to life and even incorporating the old signage at the corner. The project calls for retail on the first floor and fifty apartments, some of which were listed earlier this year at prices ranging from $1200-$2200/mo. It’s hard to tell from the outside whether the interior work is finished, but if it’s not, you can figure it’ll wrap up pretty soon. As for the retail space, we haven’t heard any news on that front- maybe someone in the neighborhood knows something?

Looking north on Germantown
Closer look at construction on Germantown
Second phase coming soon
Project rendering

Up the street, another apartment building is under construction as part of a ground-up development. Two summers back, we told you that developers had purchased the warehouse building at 1413 Germantown Ave., and had a plan convert it to residential use while building a bunch of town homes on the adjacent property. That plan ultimately fell by the wayside, replaced by the project we now see moving forward. The first phase, currently under construction, calls for a 6-story building with 50 apartments, 5,000 sqft of industrial space on the first floor, and 15 parking spots. A second phase will see the warehouse next door get torn down and replaced with a second apartment building with 70 units, 22 parking spots, and more industrial space. As for what’ll happen with that industrial space, we couldn’t tell you. Artist workspaces, perhaps, for people not interested in the Crane building a block away?

Despite all the development this block has seen, it still retains a handful of vacant lots. Figure it won’t be long before we’re telling you about new projects for those properties, as part of a bigger story about the block being completely filled in. And of course, all these new residents will be flocking to nearby businesses, especially a few blocks away on Frankford Avenue. Closer to home, the folks at ReAnimator Coffee just around the corner surely aren’t sad about all the new business they’ve seen thus far, or the additional bundle of customers on the horizon.

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Nice Progress For Penn Treaty Metals Project Tue, 22 May 2018 19:38:43 +0000 The post Nice Progress For Penn Treaty Metals Project appeared first on OCF Realty.


With every year that passes, Frankford Avenue continues its evolution from a commercial corridor with a heavy dose of industrial use to a commercial corridor dominated by mixed-use and retail. For a case in point, consider the 1300 block of Frankford, where Toile, Jinxed, the Parlour, office space, and the flagship La Colombe are all located in converted warehouses and garages. Ditto City Fitness on the 1400 block, which converted a plastic bag manufacturing company’s old headquarters into the biggest gym in the neighborhood. While those changes are of the adaptive reuse variety, there are also examples of demolition and new construction, like the former Penn Treaty Metals property at 1405 Frankford Ave., across the street from City Fitness.

We first told you about this project a little less than two years ago, as the developers were preparing to present to the community. We suspected that it would be a contentious discussion about the project, mostly because parking gets people extra riled up in Fishtown. We explained that the developers were able to build a 32-unit building with no parking by right, but were proposing a 30-unit building with ground-floor retail and 16 parking spaces. Still, we wondered whether that would be enough to get the neighbors to support the height variance for the project. In the end, the community came out narrowly in support of the project and it eventually got approval from the ZBA. Work got started last summer and we were pleased to see the progress when we passed by the site the other day.

View from the north
Closer look on Frankford
Parking access from Marlborough
Remains of the park next door
Current rendering

You can see, the building has shaped up, for the most part, and that the retail spaces are going to be awesome, with super high ceilings. According to the brochure from MSC Retail, one of the two retail spaces is leased, with the other still available. Has anyone heard anything about the tenant for this property? Is there a particular type of business you’d like to see take over the other space? Maybe Penn Treaty Metals wants to make a comeback at this location?

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Titan Park Under Construction At Last Tue, 22 May 2018 15:26:03 +0000 The post Titan Park Under Construction At Last appeared first on OCF Realty.


Living close to downtown Philadelphia presents a variety of tradeoffs. Sure, you can easily walk into Center City for the purposes of work or play. Then again, demand is higher for housing in the neighborhoods closest to downtown, which usually means higher costs and less space. And since land is at such a premium, homes in neighborhoods in and around Center City tend to have less outdoor space. This is where parks come in, giving folks a chance to stretch out, toss a football, and let their dogs and/or kids run around. Some parks are big, like Columbus Square or Chew Playground. Others are quite small, like the pocket park at 22nd & Catharine or the nascent Titan Park.

Several years ago

You remember Titan Park, right? Located at 108-110 Titan St. and measuring a mere 952 sqft, it’s one of the few survivors of a citywide pocket park program from 1976. Back in 2012 when we first wrote about it, neighbors had just rediscovered the property and were making moves to beautify the space. At the same time, they were pushing back against a plan from the City to sell off the parcel for redevelopment. To their credit, the park’s friends group not only prevented the sale of the property, they also snagged a grant to work with the Community Design Collaborative to come up with a sustainable redesign for the park. As they waited for funding for said redesign, they continued to work on their little pocket park to make it more attractive and functional in the interim.

Couple years back

Exactly two years ago, we shared the good news that funding was in place and renovation was on the horizon for the summer of 2016. But that summer came and went, as did the summer of 2017, with no construction taking place. We have no idea what caused this delay, but we were cheered last week, when we received an email from the park’s friends group, informing us that construction is finally underway. We visited the park yesterday, and can confirm that this is indeed the case.

Current view
Low res rendering from 2016

It took more than six years, but Titan Park is finally happening. Kudos to the small group of people that have advocated for this space over the years, pushing to prevent its redevelopment and pretty much willing it into becoming a productive and desirable public space. We don’t know whether the rendering above is still representative of the final plan for the park, but we’ll be on the lookout for what it looks like in a couple months, when construction is complete.

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Gotta Love These Homes Across From Schuylkill River Park Mon, 21 May 2018 15:08:21 +0000 The post Gotta Love These Homes Across From Schuylkill River Park appeared first on OCF Realty.


Fitler Square doesn’t see a whole lot of construction, given its relatively stable ownership base and the fact that so many of the homes in the neighborhood are already in pretty good shape. When homes do get fixed up in this neighborhood, the work generally takes place inside, with developers electing to leave the facades alone. This is due in part to the fact that many facades in this area are fairly attractive to start with, but it’s probably more influenced by most of the neighborhood sitting within the Rittenhouse Fitler Historic District. With homes in such a district, owners are able to do as they wish inside, but must get permission from the Historical Commission to make any exterior changes. Hence, it doesn’t happen too often.

On the 2500 block of Pine Street, neighboring homes 2528 and 2530 Pine St. both got major interior and exterior work done last year, making them outliers for the area. Making the homes even more unusual, you can see in the images below that both homes are set back from Pine Street, unlike any other homes on the block. Nb, the western home sold at the end of last year for a whopping $1.215M. Not a shocking number at all, when you consider the home and the location.

View of the homes
Clearer view
Looking east on the block

These facades don’t look much like any others in the neighborhood, which made us wonder how the developers were able to build them as such. So we looked at some old agendas from the Historical Commission to find some answers. But we couldn’t find any mention of either property. Then we looked at a map of the historic district and realized that the block somehow sits just outside the district. So the owners of the properties were able to do whatever they wanted with the facades. Similarly, that explains how the newish home happened across the street.

More construction coming soon across the street?

Remember, we brought this property to your attention about a year ago, noting that developers were planning four more homes for the surrounding properties. That project needed ZBA approval, which finally came through last November. Construction hasn’t begun just yet, but we see the permitting is moving along and we imagine construction will get moving in the coming months. Figure, if the rehab across the street sold for just over $1.2M, the new homes on Pine and Panama Street will sell at even higher prices. We’d think they’ll trade at over $2M without even breaking a sweat.

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Shopping Center in the Works Next to State Office Building Fri, 18 May 2018 20:43:38 +0000 The post Shopping Center in the Works Next to State Office Building appeared first on OCF Realty.


The blandly named Pennsylvania State Office Building appeared on the southwest corner of Broad & Spring Garden in the late 1950s, and still stands as a classic example of Modernist architecture. Back in 2013, Tower Properties undertook a $70M project to renovate the building into 200+ apartments, naming the finished product Tower Place. As the time, we told you that this renovation effort was only the first phase of construction for this property, and that it would be followed by a new high rise building on 15th Street and a shopping plaza on Spring Garden. Several years later though, neither has happened. Apparently, the developers were required by law to delay additional construction for five years, under the terms of the federal tax credits used for some of the renovation financing.

SW corner of Broad & Spring Garden

Don’t look now though, as something new is finally brewing for this corner. Unfortunately, it’s the retail building, not the apartment building. A few days ago, reported on the plan, noting that it’s already been mostly leased up. The roughly 25K sqft building will include a CVS and a Citizens Bank for sure, with leases still being worked out with Starbucks and a Sprint store. The leasing pamphlet from MSC Retail shows up to 8K sqft still available, with 3K possibly being taken by a Petvalu store. The pamphlet also includes some renderings of the building, so steel yourself for a peek into the future.

Rendering looking west
Tenant mix

While these stores will certainly make life a little more convenient for people that live nearby, we don’t believe that a one-story commercial building at this location is any kind of cause for celebration. An apartment building on 15th Street, on the other hand, would have been a great addition to the intersection, adding density on the edge of Center City, right near a subway stop. Let’s just hope the CVS building is the second phase for the site, with the apartment building bringing up the rear in a third phase sometime soon.

Project planned for the NW corner

As we’ve told you previously, there are some other projects in the pipeline for this intersection. The Mural Lofts project converted an old school into an apartment building, and a commercial building reminiscent of the CVS building is planned next door, on the northeast corner. On the northwest corner, we mentioned far more ambitious plans from Parkway for an 18-story office building with 80K sqft of retail space, along with a mixed-use building with 144 apartments and a token 5K sqft retail space. Assuming all of these projects come to fruition, this intersection will add over 150K sqft of retail space, 500K sqft of office space, and roughly 650 apartment units. Even in the current real estate climate, those numbers are staggering for Broad & Spring Garden.

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Looks Like the W.G. Schweiker Building is Coming Down Wed, 16 May 2018 17:22:02 +0000 The post Looks Like the W.G. Schweiker Building is Coming Down appeared first on OCF Realty.


It was nearly seven years ago that we first brought the W.G. Schweiker building at 2621 W. Jefferson St. to your attention, noting at the time that it was listed for sale for $80K (too high a price, at the time!). The building caught our eye because it had spectacular bones and a particularly memorable cornice. This makes sense, as the business that once occupied the building was a roofing and construction business that specialized in cornices, along with skylights, heaters, and ranges. We were hopeful, at the time, that whoever bought the building would be able to renovate it and maintain some of its unique original details.

View from Jefferson

So we were very excited, soon after, when we learned that MM Partners had purchased the building and was working on a renovation plan to convert the building into an artist live/work space. Ultimately though, those plans never came to fruition and the property sold to new owners in 2017, trading at $260K (amazingly, a rather fair price just a few years later). Soon after, we learned that the new owners were also looking to renovate the existing building, with a residential conversion on the horizon. We don’t know what changed, but looking at the current state of the building and the permits from a couple months ago, it seems that the building and the associated warehouse to the north are both getting demolished. Already, the warehouse is almost all gone.

View of the warehouse behind the main building
Cornice is on the ground
View in the past

It’s a little strange to see the cornice intact, sitting on the ground across the street from the property. The fact that the demo contractor didn’t smash it up gives us a sense that it will be preserved and reused somewhere, though it’s probably not a good idea to leave it sitting around on the ground for very long.

As for what will replace the Schweiker building, there are no permits just yet, but we expect an apartment building of some kind, as the property is zoned for multi-family use. You can pretty much bet your life though, that the new building won’t compare to what’s getting demoed. It’s a shame that we’re losing this unusual building that has been sitting neglected for so many years. If you’d like to catch a last glimpse of the building before it disappears, we suggest hightailing it to Brewerytown sooner rather than later.

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