Way back in 2011, we wrote about the 2100 blocks of Federal, Annin, Ellsworth, and Alter Streets, trying to understand why the homes on these blocks don’t look anything like other homes in the neighborhood. Most homes in Point Breeze are of the row home variety, and these homes certainly don’t qualify as row homes. The homes are twins, with each going up two stories, with brick on the first floor and vinyl on the upper floor, and a gabled roof. Each home has a side yard with a driveway and a huge backyard, too. Like we said, they’re not like the other homes in the neighborhood.
The homes were built in the early 1980s by South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S., a social services organization in the neighborhood that’s still active as a Registered Community Organization in Point Breeze. They were built as affordable units that were offered for sale, and several of the homes are still occupied by their original owners or their family members. Other homes on these blocks are turning over, like so many other properties in Point Breeze. One of the homes, 2103 Ellsworth St., was purchased by developers and demolished, with two new homes built in its place. These homes also don’t exactly fit in with the other homes in the neighborhood, but they seem a little more compatible than the home they replaced.
Different owners are now looking at 2104 Annin St. as the next redevelopment opportunity in this part of the neighborhood. They’re looking to demo the existing home and replace it with three new homes, each with one-car parking. We haven’t seen the plans, but given the size of the parcel we have to think this means three homes with garages. We understand that this project would be a partnership between the longtime owner of the property and a developer, with the owner getting one of the new homes. That aspect of the project makes it tough to hate on, even though we’re none too fond of front loading garages, from an urbanist perspective.
The project was supposed to go to the ZBA this week, but it appears it has already been continued. We don’t know whether the project will get approved as currently proposed, but we have to think that some kind of redevelopment will eventually get approved for this property. And we suspect this won’t be the last time we see redevelopment proposals for these extra-wide properties. Projecting forward, we expect a mishmash of different architectural styles and approaches on these blocks and the homes turn over and get redeveloped, a la 19th Street in Francisville. Things are gonna get worse before they get better, folks.
Disclosure: OCF Realty, parent company of Naked Philly, is the broker and contractor for the homes at 2103 Ellsworth Street.