demolition

Surrounded by a bunch of new development

When we think of 3rd & Brown, the first thing that comes to mind is North 3rd, a Northern Liberties restaurant stalwart that's been holding down the northeast corner for a long time. We don't know exactly when this place opened, but we know we celebrated New Years there back in 2003 or 2004. Ah, memories. Now that we're thinking about it, we should probably get back there sometime soon, it's been a minute.


The fabulous North 3rd

To the north of North Third is a building that's got a demolition notice posted to its front. 807 N. 3rd St. is a relatively unassuming warehouse, aside from the fact that it's got inscriptions on its front that say 'N. Toconita Building' and the year 1935. Doing a wee bit of research, we learned this place was a bike company for many years, though we confess we don't know how it's been used more recently. Whatever the history, the building was sold about a year ago, with developers tied to Atrium Design Group paying about $850K for the property.

About two and a half years after we told you about it

It took a little longer than we would have originally expected, but it seems a former supermarket is finally getting torn down on Ridge Avenue. It was about two and a half years ago that we told you that developers had purchased the property at 1614-20 Ridge Ave. and were going to the ZBA with plans to tear down the unexciting structure and replace it with a building with 28 apartments, 3 retail spaces, and 17 parking spots. Alas, here we are after all this time and the building remains, as does the billboard on its roof that's currently advertising 'Gunk.'  


Fence around the building

But look! There's a fence around the building! And the developers pulled a demolition permit last month! This is a pretty strong indication that the demolition activity should be starting soon and that the project will be happening in the near future. As to the reason for the delay, we couldn't tell you, but we do see that the property changed hands last year, selling for $1.4M. The developers that took the property through zoning purchased it for $675K in 2014, which just goes to show the added value of approved plans as well as the increased heat of the market over the last couple years.

Maybe this time something will happen

A couple years after a proposal stalled out at 1217 E. Columbia Ave., developers are giving it another shot. Currently, this address is home to a warehouse that's a throwback to a more industrial time in the neighborhood. But looking around the area today, the building doesn't much fit in with its surroundings.


One off from the corner

In the summer of 2015, developers came to the community with a plan to demolish the building and replace it with an eight unit apartment building that would have included six parking spots. But the neighborhood pushed back because the property is zoned for single family homes. The parcel could be legally subdivided and a pair of homes could be constructed by right, but the subdivided lots would be oversized and the homes would have hilariously large back yards. At the time, the head of the FNA zoning committee indicated that the neighbors preferred homes over apartments because homes would fit better into "the character of the area."

It certainly could happen

Parking sure is tough in Center City, and it could soon get tougher. You may recall, last month we told you that we had heard that developers were buying the parking garage on the 2000 block of Lombard Street and would close it by the end of the year. We predicted that this building would be demolished and replaced with town homes in a by-right project, as the property is zoned for multi-family use. Needless to say, this would result in the loss of a couple hundred parking spots for the neighborhood.


Garage on the 2000 block of Lombard

For those wringing their hands about this project, we've got more bad news. At the same time that this property was listed for sale, another property, 414 S. 16th St., was also listed just a few blocks away. And in case you're wondering, it's also a parking garage. While we'd heard about movement for the garage on Lombard Street, we hadn't heard much about the garage on 16th Street. But in the last couple days, we've heard rumblings that this garage is also under agreement. We have to imagine that this will mean it will also close its doors in the near future, with residential redevelopment a likely outcome.

Should rise next to another project we've covered

Last fall, we discovered a newly vacant lot at 1228-32 W. College Ave., across from Girard College, where developers had recently demolished a row of buildings that had seen better, less stuccoed days. We told you to look out for a new by-right project at this address with 11 apartments and 6 parking spaces, anticipating that construction would get started relatively quickly. And we were spot on for a change. Checking in on this project over the weekend, we could see that the construction has been moving swiftly for months. Also, we noted that the developers made an interesting choice, constructing the building with a courtyard in the middle, ostentibly to provide better natural light for the units.


Looking north on W. College Ave.

So much scaffolding

If this were all we had on our mind, this story would feel a little premature. Fortunately, we've can dish on some additional news for the property immediately next door. This was a one story garage for many years, but that building was demolished at some point, perhaps around the same time as the stuccoed buildings next door.

Even more student housing for the block

We try to visit the 4000 block of Baring Street every few months, as this block as been the epicenter for student housing development in West Powelton over the last half decade. More often than not, we find something new and exciting when we visit. We thought this was the case when we passed through the area the other day, as it appeared a large vacant lot at the corner of Budd & Baring was in the very early stages of development.


Construction fence

This looks like a large parcel that could accommodate a significant building, so we figured we were onto something. Doing a little bit of research though, we discovered that this property has less in store than we originally believed. It turns out 4059 Baring St., the far western lot pictured above, is privately owned and will be developed into a five unit student housing building. The three eastern lots are owned by the Greater Faith Baptist Church down the block and aren't in the redevelopment queue at this time. It's still nice to see that one vacant lot will disappear, though we'd have been happier to see three more bite the dust.

But nothing exciting is on the immediate horizon

We were traveling down 21st Street the other day and some renovation work caught our eye on the 2100 block of Market Street. When we last visited this block, a former Papa Johns was under construction at the corner and we didn't know what was coming in its place. Sound the trumpets everyone, it's a Dunkin Donuts. On the plus side, the place has a little outdoor seating area in the back in which you can sit around wishing you were at Beiler's instead.


Newish Dunkin Donuts at the corner, renovation two doors down

Outdoor seating behind the new Dunkin Donuts

Two doors down, you can see in the first image above, there's some serious renovation work happening. Looking at the permits, we can shed some light on the situation. It seems the plans call for office space on the upper floors and a vanilla box restaurant space on the first floor. Perhaps someone has already laid claim to the office space, but given the non-specific description of the first floor, we'd guess that the restaurant space doesn't yet have a tenant. So it goes.

Surrounded by Spring Arts Point

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.


Demolition notice

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.

Glad the building has stuck around

We were cruising through Grays Ferry the other day and some construction caught our eye at 30th & Dickinson. We don't spend so much time in this neighborhood so we confess, we didn't remember what had been here before. Thanks to the magic of Google Street View though, we quickly discovered that it was previously a one-story warehouse with a sweet mural preaching the virtue of "Common Ground." Today, it's a pile of dirt and some construction equipment.


Former view at 30th & Dickinson

Construction at 30th & Dickinson

So... what's happening here? Don't get too excited guys, permits indicate that this property will turn into a parking lot. You may be wondering, what's the need for a parking lot at 30th & Dickinson? We're pretty sure it'll be for the Carl Moore Health Center, located at the other end of this block, at 31st & Reed. This place opened in September and is associated with GPHA, and offers various medical services, including family medicine, dental care, behavioral health, nutrition, and podiatry.

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!

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