Naked Philly

Would fill in another vacant lot

It was just a couple of months ago that we last visited the 1900 block of Cecil B. Moore Ave., telling you about plans for 24 units on a large vacant lot. That project, at 1913-1919 Cecil B. Moore Ave., got approval from the ZBA shortly after and construction should be getting started sometime soon. We're generally fine with this, as it's almost always good when a vacant lot bites the dust.

Back in January

Our concern at the time, which remains with us still, was that the design of the new student housing project would be, uh, utilitarian, like so much of the other new construction we've seen around this area over the last number of years. And that (valid) concern remains. The situation is exacerbated on this block by a number of really attractive old buildings, including the cinema turned church in the image above. Unfortunately, as we've covered before, developers built some regrettable stucco boxes next door to that building a few years back which stand among our least favorite buildings in town.

One of the properties has been blighted for years

Several readers reached out last week, excitedly sharing the news about some demolition happening at the Grays Ferry & Carpenter intersection. We knew that this couldn't be happening on the southwest corner, as that property is owned by the Veolia plant around the corner and contains several large large tanks of who knows what. The northwest corner has some newer homes, so we figured it was an unlikely candidate. And then our hearts lept. We've been frustrated by the blighted building on the southeast corner for many years, complaining about it in a post in 2013. At the time, we noted that the back of the property had collapsed and we wondered whether the rest could follow. According to L&I though, that wasn't going to happen. Still, every time we passed this building, we felt our blood pressure rise.

Back in 2013

We visited the intersection the other day and holy moly, the place is getting torn down.

Current view

According to public record, the same people that have owned the property since 1983 are still the owners. Looking at the permits, it's pretty clear that this isn't a City ordered demolition, like we expected several years ago. We'd wager that developers have purchased this building but it hasn't been reflected in public record, and they are tearing it down with plans to build a new home in its place. But wait, there's more demolition!

Warehouses, blight, and vacant land, oh my

The other day, we directed your attention to a blighted building on N. College Ave., thanks a tip from the guy that runs the @genbrewerytown Instagram account. We were looking through some previous images on the feed and noticed 2538 W. Oxford St., an old warehouse with a 'For Sale' sign on it. Always on the lookout for possible development opportunities, we figured we'd check it out in person.

Looking west on the 2500 block of W. Oxford

When we made the trek to this block, we discovered a some rough looking but occupied buildings, a number of blighted buildings, a row of vacant lots, and a couple of old warehouses. This block is actually loaded with potential, but we don't know when or if it will fulfill that promise.

New cafe is easy on the eyes

Ever been to Rival Brothers Coffee at 24th & Lombard? This little coffee shop has been one of our favorites in the city since they opened back in 2014, in a space that was previously occupied by Taste Buds Market. They roast their own coffee, offer pastries from High Street, and have a limited number of sandwichy options. We recommend the peanut butter toast. The biggest issue with this place is the size. With only half a dozen tables or so, it's not uncommon to walk in and see a packed house, and turn around and walk out the door. It seems the owners recognized this issue, as they have just opened a larger second location at 1528 Spruce St., in a retail space in the Touraine.

One project is already sold out

We were passing through South Kensington the other day and figured we'd update you on a pair of residential projects moving forward near 6th & Jefferson. First, let's look at the project that started first, on the southwest corner of the intersection. We first told you about this five-home project a little less than a year ago, when the property was sitting vacant, as it had for at least a decade.

Southwest corner of 6th & Jefferson

That's not an empty lot anymore. We were initially alerted to this project by a sign that had been posted to the property, advertising the upcoming construction. That sign indicated that these homes would be priced starting at $325K. These are three bedroom, three bathroom homes with parking which would sell for over $500K just a few blocks to the south or a few blocks to the east, so this sounded like a deal that was too good to be true. Many buyers agreed, it seems, as all of the homes in this project are now under agreement at a price of $350K. With development picking up in this part of the neighborhood, the homes still seem underpriced at that number.