It’s not entirely clear to us exactly how a small surface parking lot came to exist spanning the 700 blocks of Latona and Manton Street. Lookin at historic maps, we can see that there were homes here at one point, but the properties have been vacant since at least the 1940s. At some time over the last several decades, a parking lot appeared at 725 Latona St., with access from Manton and space for roughly a dozen cars. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly something you’d expect to find on a random South Philly block.
It also should probably go without saying that a property of this size and at this location would be better as something other than a surface parking lot. The owners of this property have come around to this perspective and from what we understand, have it under agreement with developers. Those developers intend to build five townhomes here, with two on Latona and three on Manton Street. All the homes, according to the plan, would have garages. The ZBA will have to give their approval first, but based on the initial reaction from the local community association, we’re optimistic that this will happen.
Assuming these homes get built, they will add to the architectural diversity on the blocks, which already feature more varied home design than many other blocks in South Philly. They will still stand out from the rest of the homes on both blocks, as there’s no obvious new construction on either at this point. But that should soon change, in theory.
You may recall, the 700 block of Latona Street boasts something far more unusual than a little surface parking lot – a three home gated community with a huge front yard that also includes a koi pond. That property, which was originally intended to include several more units, has been under agreement with developers for several years as they’ve tried to come up with a redevelopment plan for the property that would manage some community support. Perhaps you also remember that a proposal ultimately got ZBA approval a little over a year ago, with a plan for ten homes with a mix of one and two car parking.
Interestingly, that project still hasn’t broken ground, and we believe the new owners only settled within the last couple weeks. If the new owners have indeed taken possession (and if the variance isn’t tied up in the courts), then this project will obviously be a source of considerable change for this block as well. Assuming that both projects move forward in 2020, they will represent two significant changes for a block that’s seen hardly any changes in years, coincidentally taking place at almost exactly the same time.