Remember two summers back when we wondered about the vacant lot on the northeast corner of 9th & Wharton, across the street from Pat's? At the time, we gave you a little history lesson, explaining that the lot was formerly home to St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church, which closed in the 1970s and was demolished some time in the 1980s. At some point, a mini golf course appeared here, but it's been gone for decades. Today, some halfway decent murals barely draw attention away from the fact that a big vacant lot is across the street from one of Philadelphia's most popular eating establishments. Hilariously, the lot has been owned since the mid-1990s by Anna Olivieri, a relative of the owners of Pat's.
Aside from the photo looking super dark due to the rain, you may also notice something new on the site. A 'For Sale' sign! Looking next door at the blighted vacant building that's owned by the same person, we saw a similar sign.
How exciting! These properties are finally for sale! Someone will step in and redevelop them! Maybe we'll buy 'em! We called the realtors to find out a price, and we promptly discovered that a buyer has already stepped forward for both the lot and the building. Apparently, an investor was grabbing a cheese steak the day the signs went up a couple of weeks ago, and quickly got the properties under contract. The lot will sell for $1.25M, and the building for $275K. While we surely would have liked a chance to put in a bid (that would have been entirely too low) we're still really pleased to learn that someone should be redeveloping these properties very soon.
It should be fascinating to see what's proposed here, since the zoning is inappropriately for single family homes. We're not entirely confident that people are stampeding to buy a new home across from a cheese steak factory, but a mixed-use project could certainly make sense. No matter what's proposed, it will almost definitely have to come before the community and then the ZBA, so we should be getting more info on these properties in the coming months. Still, the hard part is over. The lot is finally changing hands. It only took about eighteen totally unproductive years.