Will the new building blend in?

If you've even found yourself on the 1600 block of Christian Street, especially at night, you've surely noticed 1631, 1635, and 1637 Christian St., opulent visions of redevelopment in a neighborhood that's had more than its fair share. The fact that this section of the block was pretty much bombed out as recently as fifteen years ago makes the homes stand out all the more as dramatic examples of a neighborhood's transformation.


We would have to imagine it's been sticking in the craws of the folks who live in these homes as well as anyone else who lives nearby that 1627 Christian St. has remained blighted despite the renovation and construction in the neighborhood. The contrast is pretty stark when you look at it.

Last blight on the block

But there's good news indeed for the people who live on this block; the blighted building is finally getting redeveloped. A demolition notice has appeared on the property, and it should soon be coming down. According to a reader who tipped us off about it, in its place will rise a new building with three condo units. According to public record, the same developers who hilariously purchased the building for $13,700 from the Redevelopment Authority back in 2010 still owns it, but we wouldn't be shocked if they flipped it to somebody else.

Never a bad thing

In April of 2013, we told you about a new home rising at the corner of Orianna & Thompson in South Kensington. That home looks like it's done (as well it should be, a year plus later), though a construction fence remains around the property.

Home on the corner of Orianna St.

At the same time, we told you about two blighted homes on the 300 block of West Thompson Street. The homes lacked windows and generally looked all kinds of crappy. They were both tax delinquent to the extent that the City could have sent them to Sheriff's Sale. And according to a commenter, both were purchased with a fake deed, and the original owners were fighting in court to get their properties back.

In the past

We don't know whether it was something judicial or simply the market, but both homes have since turned over. Developers Thirty3 LLC bought 331 W. Thompson St. in April, and 333 W. Thompson St. last October. They wasted little time in demolishing the old buildings, and have framed out two new single family homes where they once stood. Note, the new homes have little boxes on them to hold the required permits. So it's all on the up and up.

Fixes Up Blighted Home

It was an obituary that ultimately provided the information that led to the transformation of a blighted home near 49th & Baltimore instead of its demolition on the taxpayer's dollar. Detective work from Project Rehab reached all the way to Brooklyn, and in the end a home that had collapsed in on itself everywhere except for the facade was renovated and sold for $335K in a span of 18 months.

In the past

“There are always different stories and always different complications,” said Ryan Spak, who operates Project Rehab at University City District.

Since its conception in 2011, Project Rehab has positively impacted thirty-one homes in University City and West Philadelphia and has created $11.3M in real estate value from distressed properties, according to Spak. In February, we shared the story of another collapsed home at 4923 Osage Ave. that had been rehabbed and put on the market for $350K.

At long last

It was almost three years ago that we first brought the blighted Lincoln Apartments at 1222 Locust St. to your attention. Remember, we told you about its sad recent history, having suffered a fire in 2006 and sat vacant ever since. Back then, we were stoked to share the good news that progress was finally imminent here, with support from the Washington Square West Civic Association Zoning Committee for the building's renovation. 

View of the building through the trees

The supported plans included forty-four units, with six studios, thirty-two one bedroom apartments, and six two bedrooms. The plan for the building from Cecil Baker + Partners was slated to begin in the spring of 2012. As you can see from the current photos, the building still looks like dreck.

Will complete the block's transformation

It wasn't so long ago that 17th Street between Carpenter and Washington was pretty much the worst block in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. For years, a small collection of burned out husks of homes dominated the streetscape. After L&I was kind enough to demolish the blight, the block was left with a single occupied home and a couple dozen vacant lots.

Thankfully, the Carpenter Square project has gone a long way toward bringing the block back to life. Thus far, the developers have built eleven high-end homes, some of which are still available for sale. Now, they're working on the second phase of the project at the corner of 17th & Carpenter, which will include six condo units, a commercial space, and a courtyard. Like CPR, this project has breathed new life into this block. But a huge vacant lot remains on the west side of the street.

Long blighted homes are gone

When we last visited the 2700 block of Cambridge Street a few months ago, we checked in on two homes that were replacing a vacant lot and a blighted building. These homes are now finished, with one under agreement at a list price of $415K. Yowza.

These were recently finished

The price is all the more impressive when you consider the row of blighted buildings sitting at the end of the block. One would have to think that the buyers knew they'd be disappearing soon. And it turns out that they did just that a couple of weeks ago.

In the past
Blight finally gone

These three properties, formerly owned by PHA (thanks for maintaining your buildings guys) are being redeveloped through a partnership between MMPartners and Fairmount CDC. Remember, we told you all about it like two years ago. This collaboration has allowed for the renovation of homes on other blocks of Cambridge Street, and new construction as well. Check out a couple of the homes on the 2800 block of Cambridge Street:

Sure looks purdy

Remember last week when we excitedly told you that work was ongoing at the long vacant, long blighted Divine Lorraine? And do you recall the stunning before and after photos which highlighted the impressive improvement that resulted from a little power washing? Now, thanks to a (now days old) tweet from the developers, we have a rendering of a renovated Divine Lorraine, put together by the creative folks at Wallace Roberts & Todd.

Never thought we'd see the day

It was just last month that we shared the news that developer Eric Blumenfeld had gotten a commitment for most of the funding he would need to finally renovate the Divine Lorraine. The blighted beauty at Broad & Fairmount has been vacant for over a decade, and we were cautiously optimistic that work might get underway sometime this year.

In the past

What we didn't expect was for work to get going this quickly. Over the last few days, several readers have reached out, excitedly reporting action at the site. As you can see, much of the facade has been power washed, with much of the building's graffitti cleared away.

Yesterday. What happened to the L?

In addition, scaffolding has appeared on Broad Street, likely to prevent passersby from power washing fallout.

And you thought you had problems

Point Breeze has experienced considerable redevelopment over the last few years, but there's still no shortage of vacant lots or empty houses. A few weeks ago, we told you about a couple of projects on the 1300 block of Hicks Street- a new construction home had replaced a vacant lot, and an interesting looking rehab was next to some lots that still sat vacant. Today, we return to this block and consider another rehab that's next to a vacant home.

Vacant home

1332 and 1334 S. Hicks St. were clearly built by the same builder at the same time, probably about a hundred years ago. But they're in very different condition right now. Recently, developers rehabbed 1334 S. Hicks St., with new floors, new bathrooms, a new kitchen, and central air. It was on the market for less than three weeks before it went under contract at a list price of just under $160K. Quick sale, reasonable price, good times for everyone.

The home next door, at 1332 S. Hicks St., is a different story. As you can see in the photo above, the front door looks like it was pulled off the shelf at Home Depot and installed haphazardly. Plywood in the windows blocks views into the house from the front. From the back, however, we learn that conditions inside are pretty rough.

It's a great sight

If you've lived in the area for awhile, you surely remember that the 26th Precinct Police Station at the corner of Trenton & Dauphin was blighted and vacant for a really long time. Over the last few years, we covered the wonderful structure's reawakening and its conversion into apartments and a PFCU branch.

In the past

Last fall, we told you about the construction of two new homes next to the renovated former police station. Back then, they were only foundations. Now, the homes are finished and another home is under construction next door.

Renovated building with new homes next door

The two completed homes are on the market for $350K. Though they're on the skinny side, they're still fairly spacious at 2,100 sqft, with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. And you can't argue with the attractive architecture next door. On their other side, we're kind of surprised to see a home getting built.