It's a little outside of our usual geographic reach, but this one is so important that we felt we had to share. The old Roberto Clemente Middle School, located at 3921 N 5th St., has gotten approval for a complete overhaul.
First, some history:
According to Hidden City, the building was originally built as the Apex Hosiery Factory, but became a school in 1967. As the decades passed, the school fell into deplorable condition and finally closed in 1994 after a new Clemente School was constructed at 2nd & Erie. From there, the building was used as the Greater Philadelphia Book Bank, a resource that allowed teachers to pick up used school books for free. That was closed down by the School District in 2007, and the building has sat vacant since.
Last week, we told you about Teaful Bliss relocating from 11th & Spring Garden to the corner of 28th & Cambridge, in Brewerytown. When we were up there snapping photos and grabbing a tasty cup of tea, we noticed a touch of new construction just down the block. If you visited the 2700 block of Cambridge Street a couple of years ago, you would have probably been struck by the number of vacant homes on the block. While several remain, at least one has disappeared in recent months.
In the past
LJR Investments Inc. bought both of these properties last year. As you can see, the vacant home has been demoed and the previously vacant lot is now gone. Both lots have seen new single-family homes framed out, which should be finished in the coming months. LJR also owns another lot on the block, closer to 27th Street, which looks like it could become a construction site pretty soon.
Yesterday, we broke the good news that a new home is rising on the 1900 block of Christian Street, on a lot which has been vacant for a whole lot of years. But there's some other development nearby that bears checking in on which is equally, if not more exciting for folks who live nearby. First, we check in on the southwest corner of 19th & Catharine, which we last visited over the summer. At that time, one home was being framed out and an old church was on the chopping block.
View from the south
Over the last several months, the church has been demolished, a second home has gone up, and a foundation has been poured for a third house. In a few months when all three homes are finished, the luxury homes on the northeast corner will have some competition for the title of fanciest houses at the intersection.
A reader tipped us off the other day that several homes are currently under construction on the 1900 block of Latona Street. Yesterday, we zipped over there to take a look and found three active construction sites to share with you. First, we look at 1929 Latona St., which is being demolished, according to the permits. Public record tells us that Realkore One LLC bought the property back in 2005, though we wonder whether construction signals a new owner on the scene.
Coming down. Previously this building had green vinyl siding like its neighbor
Moving to the east, we turn to 1920 Latona St., which is currently getting cleaned out. This property was listed for sale at an asking price just shy of $100K, and is either under agreement or has already sold. While the previous property is getting demoed, this one will apparently remain, though we'd imagine it will be completely renovated.
Earlier this year, we told you about plans for Kingsley Court, a suburban-style 32 home development that would replace the blighted Ivy Ridge Assisted Living facility at 5627 Ridge Ave. in Roxborough. The project had a formal groundbreaking in February, and when we went by the site a couple of weeks ago we saw that demolition appeared to be complete.
In the past
In the future
We'll be sure to check on this project again in the months to come, and look forward to mocking the architecture in person, rather than just on the rendering.
For anyone who's lived nearby for the last few years, 925 S 23rd St. has been an unfortunate eyesore. Surely, the neighbors were cheered when the vacant property received a Doors and Windows citation back in March, though they've surely noticed that nothing has changed at the site in the six months since. But hope springs eternal, and it looks like this building is finally on the way out.
You can see the yard through the house because there's no back wall
Over the summer, Jib Partners Lp purchased the property for $200K. The previous owner bought the building back in 2006, before the homes immediately next door were even constructed. Permits were pulled for a renovation to the property which was started (note again the missing back wall) but never completed. Those permits remain open, but no work has been done in years.
Obviously, we're generally only interested in development taking place in and around Philadelphia. But we also have a certain fascination with funky architecture stories from other cities. So when a reader sent along this story from The Atlantic Cities, we couldn't resist sharing.
At first glance, you may think that the facade is falling off the house pictured above. It is, in a sense, but it's actually a little more complicated than unexpectedly failing architecture in a seaside English town. The home you see above is actually a public art installation from designer Alex Chinneck. The home was previously blighted and vacant, and was acquired by the town's government to turn into public housing. But the renovation isn't expected to begin for about a year.