Last fall, we told you about two new homes under construction on Palethorp Street, just north of Girard. Palethorp, in case you're unfamiliar, is a tiny north-south street just east of 2nd Street, which is lined with homes as you make your way up through South Kensington. At its beginning on Girard, there's a double-wide mixed-use property that was most recently home to a place called the Lodge 215. At some point in the last couple of years the clothing and furniture store closed its doors at 177 W. Girard Ave., and now a corner commercial space on Girard Avenue sits waiting for the next sucker entrepreneur.
Space on the corner
New home up the street
The property has been on the market for over a year, and was originally listed at a price of half a million dollars. That seems high to us and apparently seemed high to everybody else because it's listed as under contract at a list price of $360K. The property has the double-wide commercial space which you can clearly see in the photo, and it also has two bilevel apartments above. One unit is liveable, the other is seemingly unfinished.
According to Hidden City, the Greenwich Street Church was originally built in 1866. For over a hundred years, it served a Presbyterian Congregation, and in 1987 it was converted into the Khmer Palelai Buddhist Temple. The monks moved to Southwest Philly, and now their former home is no more.
In the past. Image from Trend.
Just some bricks remain
Seeing the huge vacant lot, we suspected that this site would soon be the next huge residential development to crop up in this neighborhood. With over 11K sqft of space and over 60 feet of frontage on both Tasker and Greenwich Streets, you could easily build ten homes here with parking. Instead, it seems like the plans here are much more modest. Hidden City says that the owners of the property, who are members of the family that own Pat's Steaks, intend to only build two houses here.
Back in January, we showed you some images of the former Saint Rita's school at Broad & Ellsworth as it was being demolished. At the time, we told you that the Saint Rita of Cascia Shrine next door had plans for the site that once contained the school which were coming to fruition after years of stops and starts.
Saint Rita of Cascia Shrine
Future building site
Originally, the plan here was to renovate the old school building and add on another small structure to create the Cascia Center, "a place of healing, reflection, and assistance for all people." Somewhere along the line, the plans changed. The new version of the project involves the school's demolition (check) and the construction of a one-story structure on the corner with a parking lot in the rear. Not that the original plan was the paradigm of good urbanism, but this new one is so much worse.
The intersection of Preston & Filbert in West Powelton sits near 2.0 University Place, the new LEED Platinum pre-certified building that went up last year. At this intersection, one corner is being renovated and another could be seen as a redevelopment opportunity.
Building is for sale
Already situated at the southeast corner is the headquarters of the Philadelphia Dance Company, one of the leading troupes in town. On the northeast corner is a beat-up and vacant ground-floor commercial location with possibly vacant residential above that last changed hands in 1967. A handwritten ‘For Sale’ sign indicates it’s available, if you're interested. Across the street on the northwest corner sits a building that sold in March 2012 for $138K. We figure it is the new owners who, for some reason we do not understand, opted to cover the brick façade with rain grey stucco. So far as we can tell, the renovation is still ongoing, but we’re thinking it could be stalled.
At 18th & Girard, across the street from the stately Church of the Gesu and Saint Joe's Prep, an old building that appears long shuttered and runs up next to a vacant triangular lot on Ridge Avenue has us thinking one thing: opportunity. For evidence, consider the range of development nearby.
Looking east on Girard toward the El. Scaffolding is still up but they're getting there.
While it's nice to provide an update on a project we previously covered, today we're far more interested in the long-vacant lot just a few doors to the west. 225-29 W. Girard Ave. has been vacant for as long as we can remember. A reader tipped us off that it was listed for sale earlier this month for $400K which we confess seems like a pretty high price considering the property's location and odd shape. Still, if someone were to purchase this lot it would represent an interesting development opportunity.
Yesterday, a blown transformer cut off power for a good chunk of the northwestern sections of Center City, and normal traffic patterns were badly disrupted. As a result, we were diverted down 15th Street heading south through town, and came upon an interesting development opportunity we'd never noticed before.
305 N. 15th St. is tucked into a challenging spot. Just to the south is the Vine Street Expressway. Immediately to the west is an entire city block that's taken up by an onramp and an offramp. So while lots of cars pass this spot daily, it's not exactly what you would consider friendly to pedestrians. And while these truths won't be changing anytime soon, there is a decent chance that something will soon alter the status quo here.
Earlier this week, we were in Northern Liberties and spotted an interesting building that's available for sale. 625-29 N. Front St. stands alone on its block, surrounded by parking lots. Architecturally, it's rather unique, suggesting a possibly interesting history.
Looking back at some historic maps, it's clear that this location has had transit significance for quite some time. By 1962, the Philadelphia Transportation Company had a substation here, which we are guessing was the original function of this building. PTC, by the way, owned the El, the Broad Street Line, and several bus and trolley lines when it was folded into Septa in 1968.
PTC substation in 1962. Note the Belt Line along Delaware Ave., and that I-95 hasn't been built yet.
The building itself has about 7,000 sqft of interior space over two floors. The ceilings on the first floor are an impressive 25' which you might be able to guess from looking at the outside. The second floor has much more standard ceiling heights. We could see an office use here on the boring side, or a restaurant on the more interesting side.