Additions and Subtraction on Kater Street

The 2100 block of Kater Street has a lot going for it. It’s just a half block off of South Street, which might present a bit of a challenge over in Queen Village, but in this part of town it just means that the residents have easy access to commercial amenities. There’s a gym around the corner, plus a pharmacy, a coffee shop, a bar, a few brunch places, and a Wawa. Not to mention, the Grays Ferry Triangles are just a few more steps away, along with a pair of supermarkets. Objectively, if you like living in a city, this is exactly the kind of block where you’d be thrilled to live.

Looking west on the 2100 block of Kater

If we’re to nitpick though (and what else are you supposed to do on the internet), there’s one item that some people might change about this block. As we’ve said on numerous occasions, the ideal Philadelphia row home is at least 16 feet wide and about 40 feet deep. This kind of size allows for the open floor plans you see in most new construction, as well as two sizable bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. Anything smaller than those dimensions and you start to pinch living space. For many residents on this block, especially on the south side of the street, a pinched living space is an everyday reality. The widths of the homes vary on the block, with some stretching 16 feet but others measuring 14.5 feet and a handful covering a little less than 14 feet. Compounding the problem is that most lots on the block are less than 50 feet deep- when your lot only goes back 43′, your home probably won’t be 40′ deep. In summary, this is a great block but some of the homes are rather small because they sit on undersized lots.

Given what we’re seeing on this block right now, it seems that location trumps lot size. Two homeowners on this block are currently expanding their homes, adding third stories. Some might consider these additions to be jarring on this predominantly two-story block, but we’re all for this kind of construction as it makes the homes more livable and tends to keep people in the city. Also, it appears that the third floors will have mansard roofs, which softens the architectural blow of the taller structures.

A pair of additions

You can see, there’s a sizable vacant lot in the background of the above image, which should seem strange when you consider the excellent location. It turns out there were homes there until just a couple of months ago. A developer purchased three homes in a row on this block and is now planning to build three new three-story homes in their place.

Three homes were torn down

If you’re familiar with this block, you might know that 2136 Kater St. has been a privately owned vacant lot for many years and you might think that this property is also included in the new development. That’s unfortunately not the case, as we don’t see any permits on that property. It’s a shame, because including that property with the other three would have created a condition where the developers could have consolidated the four lots into three and built a trio of sizable homes on this wonderful block. Instead, they’ll be constrained by the existing imperfect lot sizes. Nevertheless, we suspect they’ll find buyers quickly and easily. Like we said, there’s a Wawa around the corner.