Ah, 325 S. 18th St., our great white whale. This property was the very thing that first piqued our interest in real estate over a decade ago, as we wondered how a building on one of the primest corners in town could be sitting blighted and crumbling. It was with some naivete that we started doing research on the property, thinking that nobody else had gotten the idea to try to buy the place over the years. Needless to say, we were not alone in trying to buy the place. And in failing to do so, we were in some great company.
By 2014, new developers purchased the properties and were negotiating with neighbors and representatives of QVNA on how to proceed. The developers were hoping to resume construction on the existing buildings and produced a report from a structural engineer that indicated this would be a safe course of action. So we were hopeful that this project would finally get buttoned up. But then nothing happened. We came back here about a year ago, noting that demolition notices were posted and were optimistic that something could finally be moving forward. And then months rolled along and still nothing happened. Whoops.
Desiring a return visit to Pizza Dads, we trekked to Brewerytown with a purpose this past weekend. After destroying a slice, we figured it would be responsible to try to walk off some of the calories and decided to check in on some development projects in the neighborhood. We were impressed when we got to the 1200 block of N. 27th Street, noting the significant progress since our last visit in October. This block is anchored by North Abbey at the corner of 27th & Girard, an attractive former church that was converted into apartments a couple years ago. Soon after, the same developers built a duplex next door, which was a sign of things to come.
Toward the end of 2013, we considered a seemingly vacant warehouse on the southwest corner of 10th & Mount Vernon and wondered when the domino would fall on its redevelopment. At the time, the Spring Arts Point project, after sitting dormant for a couple of years, was ramping up construction on a new phase, so we figured the time could be nigh. So it took a couple years longer than we would have liked, but now something is indeed happening here.
Spring Arts Point to the east
You can see in the image above, there's now a demolition notice posted to the building. Soon enough, it will be demolished and we can even tell you what's coming next. Developers are planning a new project with ten units, though for some reason they're opting for five duplexes rather than a larger apartment building. Perhaps this has something to do with cost of construction, or maybe egress requirements in apartment buildings, or possibly it's an indication that they're planning to list these units as condos rather than going the rental route. No matter the layout of the project, it's still great to see that this property is finally getting redeveloped. Oh, and not that we'll be able to see it, but the project will include a green roof.
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.
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!
It's amazing how a Naked Philly post can change between the time that we snap some photos and the time we sit down to write about them. A great example is the demolition we noticed the other day at 2110 W. Master St., rather close to some new projects that are just getting started on N. College Avenue and at 19th & Thompson. We saw this demolition, noted that the rest of the 2100 block of W. Master is a mix of worn homes, vacant land, and half a dozen clearly vacant properties, and thought that perhaps additional market rate development was spreading to this block.
1004 S. 20th St. has been an eyesore for as long as we can remember. For at least a decade, this home has been rotting from the inside, with foliage visibly growing out of the facade since at least 2009. Until they were torn down by PHA in the summer of 2013, a pair of homes a few doors to the south were in worse condition, perhaps distracting from the deteriorating state of the home. Today, with a very small number of blighted properties remaining in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, this place sticks out like a sore thumb.
Plywood covering the door and garage door
Back when we told you about the demolition to the south, we indicated that this building had been cited by L&I. Around the same time, it went to tax foreclosure sale, but it appears that the absentee owner was able to catch up on years of delinquencies. Today, those owners owe taxes from 2016, but sheriff's sale seems like a remote possibility. Enter the conservatorship option.
Meandering through the River Wards the other day, we spied a vacant building at 2530 E. Hagert St. that we had never noticed before, even though it's been in poor condition for several years. Something about the property gave us the feeling that developers already had this property in the crosshairs, and we were on the money in that regard. The property traded about a year ago, selling for $95K, and we have to think it won't be long until the owners tear down the blighted building and construct a new single-family home here.
Several readers have reached out to us over the last few months, wondering about the Frankford Chocolate Factory at 2101 Washington Ave., and specifically asking us what's up with the 'X' signs that appeared on the building of late. We're sorry to say that these signs are not an indication that the building is the endpoint of a treasure map, nor does it suggest that the building has taken up an interest in comic books or Bryan Singer movies.
View at 22nd Street
It's really quite banal, it's just an indication of something that most people in the neighborhood already know- that the building is vacant. While all the neighbors know that the building is empty, firefighters might not have that information. And should the building happen to catch fire, this information will guide first responders in dealing with the situation, indicating that they should not enter the building.
We were passing through Brewerytown the other day and noticed the back of a blighted building on Marston Street through a vacant lot on 27th Street.
Blight seen through a vacant lot on 27th Street
Turning the corner, we immediately remembered that we had written about this block previously, a little over a year ago. We had even covered the building in question, but at the time we didn't realize you could see its rear so clearly.
Front of the building that's visible on 27th Street
When we last visited this block, we told you that the building at 1327-33 N. Marston St., a former milk depot, had been purchased by developers that creatively named their development entity Marston Street Milk Depot LLC. At the time, the developers were working to resolve some violations on the building and to make it safe. There were no zoning or building permits pulled at the time, but we mentioned that they could convert the building to a 17-unit apartment building by right. And that's exactly what they're doing! The project will mean an addition to the existing structure, squaring it off as a three-story building. Surely this will improve the views on Marston Street and on 27th Street too, at least until that vacant lot gets redeveloped.