development opportunity

Large parcel now available for sale

We lived around the corner from Pat's and Geno's about a decade ago, and occasionally found ourselves on the 700 block of Latona Street.

700 block of Latona Street

Every time we walked that block, we wondered about the unusual 706-724 Latona St., a property we jokingly referred to as "the compound." It's like nothing you'll see anywhere else in town, with a mere three homes and a staggering amount of open space behind a metal gate. A zen garden takes up about half of the property, and it includes an actual koi pond, with fish swimming around having a grand old time. The rest of the space is paved, providing easy parking for the residents.

It's a bit of a fixer-upper though

We don't usually call out individual properties listed for sale, but every now and then a particularly special one comes on the market and we feel like we'd be remiss if we didn't bring it to your attention. Such is the case with 1221 Pine St., a historic home in the Washington Square West neighborhood that's now on the market for $550K

View of the home

According to the listing, the home was built by by Joseph & Eliza Shoemaker, Jr. in 1829, with the first floor originally functioning as a drug store. According to the Historical Commission, the architecture of the building perfectly represents the period in which it was built. Though the exterior of the building is in pretty shabby condition, it appears to be mostly intact and it probably strongly resembles its original state.

The listing has many photos that show the interior of the house, which has a number of seemingly original details but still looks like it will need a total rehab. The current owner, who bought the property in 1985 for $50K (!) seems to have done some renovation work over the years, but looking at the photos we can't be sure that anybody has been living there lately. The building has about 3,000 sqft inside, with three large rooms on each of the first three floors. The top floor has another large room with roof deck access. At this time, per the listing, there's only one working half bath. Like we said, the place needs some serious work.

Okay, enough exposition. Check out these photos!

Build condos perhaps?

When we last visited the 2300 block of Federal Street a few years back, we told you about some renovation activity on the south side of the block, close to 23rd Street. In the time since then, some of that work progressed to a logical conclusion, while other work sadly stalled out. It seems likely though, that any work that's now interrupted will eventually get finished. Such is the nature of development in Point Breeze these days.

South side of the 2300 block

At the time of our last visit, we also drew your attention to a former church on the northwest corner of the intersection. At the time, 1144 S. 23rd St. was seemingly sitting vacant, with L&I sealing the side door after a slew of violations. When we passed by the property over the weekend, the building was clearly getting some work done, so we figured we'd look into the situation.

And to think, it could have been yours!

We know we haven't checked in on Front Street in the last month or two, but that doesn't mean that it isn't still seeing its share of development action. Today, we look at some likely redevelopment at 1523 N. Front St., a building that we told you about two years ago when it was listed for sale for $2.1M along with a collection of nearby lots. This building was originally constructed around 1850 as the Second Associate Presbyterian Church, according to Hidden City, but it's been used as a warehouse for James Scollon's Sons Building Construction & Repair since the 1960s. And it could have been yours, had you been willing to pony up some coin!

Surrounding properties are of interest, as well

Would you be able to find Leland Street on a map? We'll give you a hint, it's in Francisville. Give up? We don't blame you.

Leland Street runs for just over a block in Francisville, starting at Wylie Street and ending forever at Ginnodo Street. According to public record, Leland Street has only 27 legal addresses. Amazingly (though it's not so amazing given the neighborhood), one of those properties will soon get redeveloped. Some advance warning, this post might get a little confusing but this map should prove handy to maintain your bearings. Sorry to do this to you on the afternoon before a holiday weekend.

907 Leland St.

In the map image, we've highlighted 907 Leland St., the property that's going to be redeveloped. The developers are looking to build a five-unit building on this lot with parking in the back and will go before the ZBA later this month. Interestingly, the parking will be accessed via the drive-aisle used by the row of newer homes next door even though that property was (we think) developed by someone else. This project has been continued several times and we're not sure why- it seems like a reasonable enough plan for this location.

New development will have easy access to Beer City

Another day, another missed Fishtown development opportunity. Yesterday, we told you about a planned conversion of a former convent on Susquehanna Avenue into apartments, noting that we suggested purchasing the property about a year ago when it was listed for sale. Today we direct your attention to 1221 E. Berks St., another property we've covered in the past. We spied 'For Sale' signs on this property four years ago, noting that the price was way too high but suggesting that, at a lower price, it would be a worthwhile development opportunity.

In the past

The property is huge, covering almost 15K sqft, but you can see it wasn't very efficiently utilized. Part of the property was being used as a parking lot, while some unattractive buildings covered the rest of the site. Considering the location, half a block off East Girard Avenue, the parcel was clearly ripe for redevelopment. Checking in today, we can see that the buildings have been dropped and construction should be on the horizon. According to a thread on, developers are planning 29 condos with 23 parking spots.

Could it be a development opportunity?

We never would have visited the bottom of Point Breeze Avenue if a reader hadn't reached out recently, wondering about the huge vacant lot that's located where the road ends at 28th Street. Always down for an adventure, we made the trip down to the area to see what all the fuss is about with this property, which is almost 44K sqft in size. We can't say we found out much.

Huge lot

Investors purchased 2117 S. 28th St. a couple years ago for under $100K and earlier this year listed it for sale for around $600K. On the plus side, the parcel is enormous and would accommodate roughly 120 residential units by right. On the other side of the coin, it's in a location that would probably not support market rate development at this point in time. I-76 is just a couple blocks to the west and the 25th Street viaduct is a couple blocks in the other direction. To the immediate south is a vast PHA development. Thinking about it further, we're not sure that market rate will ever work here, but we could see this parcel eventually getting developed as affordable housing.

A home would seem like a better idea

If you went to Drexel, it's possible you once lived or went to a party on the 3200 block of Winter Street. If you didn't, we'll forgive you if you've never set foot on this little block, whose eastern end is mere steps from those pesky railyards that separate this section of West Philly from the Schuylkill River. At that eastern end, at 3201 Winter St., sits a building that doesn't really seem to fit in with the rest of the buildings on the block. And we're not talking about an ugly new construction student housing building for a change.

Shed at 3201 Winter St.

Looking west on Winter Street

All the homes on this block are twins that date back to the end of the 19th century, but sadly, 3203 Winter St. lacks a twin. Instead, it has a crappy looking, stucco-coated shed sitting next door. So... where did this thing come from?

We told you to buy this property two years ago!

About two years ago, we brought 4328-44 Ridge Ave. to your attention, noting that the 42K sqft property was available for sale for $1.5M. Mostly because of the location right next to the Schuylkill River, we believed that there was a development opportunity at this address, despite the fact that the two buildings on the property reminded us of an old hotel in the Catskills. We predicted office use, but were still hopeful for a residential conversion.

Passing by the property earlier today, we not only discovered that the property is now under construction, but we also learned that it is indeed moving toward residential use. Huzzah!

Then again, maybe not

As Pennsport continues to boom, developers have been building up Dickinson Narrows just to the west of the neighborhood. V2 Properties in particular has done a ton of work in this area, with projects on Mercy, Dudley, Emily, and Hoffman Streets, among others. On the 400 block of Hoffman Street, we see one such property which sold last year for $280K.

A new home on the 400 block of Hoffman Street

Around the corner from this home, we noticed a "For Sale" sign on a row of buildings on 5th Street. Considering all the construction that's happened in the area in recent years, we thought it might represent a development opportunity for somebody.

For Sale signs on the buildings

You can see, there are three buildings in a row which look alike, so we figured that all are available. We also suspected that the vacant lot at the corner, now housing a storage container, was also available. Checking the listings, we discovered that the corner isn't actually available and the buildings available for sale aren't actually an opportunity after all. 1907-1911 S. 5th St. were a development opportunity less than a year ago, when we believe a developer purchased them along with another building half a block away for a combined $350K. Now, each of the buildings are listed for $280K, or the package can be yours for $1.12M.