We aren't exactly sure what brought us to the 2400 block of Kimball Street the other day, but when you consider that there was snow all over the place at the time and it was like 70 degrees yesterday, perhaps you can forgive us for not remembering- it feels like a lifetime ago. Whatever the thought process was that brought us to the block was quickly interrupted by the sight of 2440 Kimball St. and the giant pile of garbage bags in front of it. The photos don't really do justice to the impressiveness of this pile of construction detritus.
Looking west on Kimball Street
All the garbage bags
As we said, we were there a few days ago so it's quite possible that this isn't the current situation. And in case you're wondering, this is a renovation project that will involve the addition (with an unfortunate setback, 'natch) of a 3rd floor. You can see this is a mostly intact block of two-story homes, heaven forbid a developer use a mansard roof here. On the plus side, since it's a rehab, at least they'll be maintaining the cornice line.
We first visted the 1500 block of Parrish Street over five years ago, when we shared the news that the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale planned to buy a warehouse at 1521 Parrish St. and make their home there, moving from a space near Drexel's campus. Part of that plan also included the purchase of what we believe was once a stable at 1533 Parrish St., the demolition of said building, and the creation of a surface parking lot. But alas, that plan never came to fruition, the Boys Choir instead moved to a space near Broad & Spring Garden, 1521 Parrish St. got converted into apartments, and 1533 Parrish St. never got torn down.
We've had a couple of readers reach out over the last month or two, wondering about the huge property at 59 Leverington Ave., where a building that had been home to a kennel and perhaps more famously Rambo's Ice House, was recently demolished. This property is in a curious location, with Septa Regional Rail lines located immediately to the south, and the beginning (or the end) of the Manayunk Bridge Trail to the north. Smushed between the current and former rail lines is about an acre of land, something you probably wouldn't have guessed given the small size of the building that previously stood here.
When we last visited the block bounded by 4th, 5th, Reed, and Dickinson Streets about six months ago, we noted that the demolition of the former Mount Sinai Hospital was entering its home stretch. At the same time, we were surprised to see that construction had already began for Southwark on Reed, the 95 home development replacing the hospital. Back then, the first seven homes had been framed out, with foundations in place for another row of homes. Checking in today, there's been a staggering amount of progress given the short amount of time that's passed.
View from 4th & Reed
These homes are already done
Looking down the row, from Reed Street
Thus far, fourteen homes have already been completed, with a mix of 16'-wide homes, 18'-wide homes, and 20'-wide homes. Every home in this first phase has sold and most are already occupied, with prices starting at $495K, $575K, and $630K, depending on the width. We visited the sales office and took a tour of the 20'-wide model home and came away impressed with the layout and finishes. We really should get a model home designer to come to our house someday...
Developers bought this property about half a year ago, paying $2.4M for the privilege. At that price, you'd have to think that something significant would be coming here, and you'd be entirely correct. The developers are planning a five-story, 72 unit apartment building for this site with 10 parking spots and a small fresh food market on the first floor. The project is by-right, but since it will mean the creation of over 50 new units, it has to go through the CDR process. It's on the agenda for January 10th.
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.
Over the summer, we told you that the former home of Joy Chinese Restaurant at 723 N. 19th St. had been listed for sale and then gone under agreement in less than two weeks. At the time, we wondered about the future of this little building, which we suspected was once home to a hot dog stand. The location is fantastic, just a block off Fairmount Avenue and close to many of the residential projects that have brought hordes of new neighbors to Francisville over the last number of years.
A diamond shaped property and commercial zoning, however, made us wonder exactly what kind of project might happen here. We figured on two possibilities, either a mixed-use building with ground floor retail and a couple of apartments above, or a purely residential project with either one or two units. It turns out, the developers that bought the building are opting for the former. Contrary to our expectations, it appears that the project is happening by right.
Ugly Moose closed its doors just before the calendar flipped, ending a 15 year run at 443 Shurs Ln. in Roxborough. This closing did not come as a surprise, with buzz about it since the fall and the bar actively counting down the days until the end. Still, for those that patronized the place for a number of years, now is a sad time. And for people who never set foot inside, today is just another day.
Entrance to the Ugly Moose
The bar was down this driveway
In September, representatives from HOW Properties attended a meeting with the Central Roxborough Civic Association and presented a plan to demolish everything on the site and construct a four-story commercial building with a 57-car parking lot. Possible tenants included a daycare center, a gym, and a restaurant. Somewhere along the line though, the deal apparently fell through.
At the time, we traced the changes for the project over the course of the last year, detailing its evolution as SOSNA and near neighbors met repeatedly with the developer to hammer out a plan that would work well enough for everyone. The final plan includes a five-story mixed-use building at the corner of 25th & Washington with 64 apartments and a large retail space on the first floor, a pair of duplexes on Grays Ferry Avenue, and 17 townhomes in the middle of the property. The developers have named the project Graduate Square- check out these renderings, with credit to PZS Architects for the design work.
Northern Liberties was once a hub of industry, but only a handful of industrial businesses remain in the neighborhood as it has swung aggressively toward residential development over the last decade plus. And as land has become more valuable, we've seen some of the exodus first hand, with a notable example being the Trans Atlantic Company leaving the 400 block of Fairmount Avenue in favor of a residential project that's a combination of new construction and adaptive reuse. A similar but much smaller situation may soon play out at 1143 N. 3rd St., a warehouse that's been home to Cristalvetro Glass for a number of years.