Intuitively, you might expect that the block of 50th Street south of Baltimore Avenue would be a solid block, with a mix of housing and retail runoff from the commercial corridor. And you'd be correct! What's somewhat surprising though, is that this situation is a relatively recent development. If we look back just a few years, we see a couple of blighted buildings just south of Dock Street Brewing and further south, some former industrial buildings that looked rather underused and unloved.
In the past
Also in the past
As the years have gone flying by, times have changed. The owners of Dock Street purchased 705 and 707 S. 50th St. back in 2015, giving hope that these long vacant buildings would come back into active use. In the time since then, they've totally renovated 705 S. 50th St., opening Dock Street Cannery a few months ago. In the back, they put Dock Street beers into cans (hence the name). In the front, there's a lounge and tasting room that offers beer, cocktails, and small bites. If Great Caesar's Ghost knows what's best for you, you'll make your way over there sometime soon.
Next door, the permits call for retail sales on the first floor and office space above. We don't know what kind of retail to expect, but figure it'll somehow relate to beer.
A reader tipped us off about a building under construction in Southwest Philly close to Baltimore Avenue, and we have a feeling that projects like this are going to become an increasingly common feature on this here blog. A few months ago, we brought a new triplex to your attention at 51st & Florence, and today we look at the corner of 50th & Pentridge, where a new duplex is getting built. A two story home stood here previously, though it seems it was in poor condition based on some old violations.
In the past
A developer bought the property at sheriff's sale in 2014, and their original plan called for a quadplex. Somewhere along the line, they modified their plan, removing two of the units. We have to imagine that these units will be offered to students and when considering student housing, the number of bedrooms, not the number of units, is typically the important consideration. So this shouldn't be nearly as much of an issue as it would be in other neighborhoods. You can see, the building rises high over the neighboring home and the homes across the street.
The last few days have been agonizingly hot to the point that leaving an air conditioned home, office, or car quickly seemed like a sweaty bad idea. Today, the skies are a little gray and we've seen a little rain fall, but we're finally getting a respite from the high temperatures. Seems like a good excuse to make your way to Baltimore Avenue to enjoy the annual Dollar Stroll, no?
2) Stop into one of your favorite businesses along the corridor.
3) Get some tasty treat or useful item for a buck.
4) Repeat until stuffed, exhausted, or both
Mariposa will have banana whips and cookies
Pretty much all of the expected suspects will be participating in the Stroll, including the above-pictured Mariposa, Dock Street Brewery (offering small beers and pint glasses), and Green Line Cafe (hot dogs, carrot dogs, iced coffee, and iced tea). Plus there's gonna be food trucks, and live music, and general awesomeness all over.
Out in Cedar Park, on the 5000 block of Baltimore Ave., plans for new businesses keep coming, adding to an already diverse neighborhood neighborhood that in recent months has seen new businesses open and old ones burn, literally.
Sometime early next year, Babylon Bistro should open at 5021-23 Baltimore Ave., properties we wrote about last year when they went up for sale. This fusion restaurant from the folks at Aksum will offer breakfast all the time like Eggs Vita: 2 poached eggs on an English muffin with smoked salmon and guacamole, as well as speciality sandwiches and classic American and International dishes. After months of litigation because the seller tried to back out of an agreement of sale, Saba Tedla, who also opened Seeds Gallery at on this block last summer, acquired the buildings in January for $283K.
“Someone has to take the plunge, essentially,” said owner Saba Tedla
Cliché be damned, in Cedar Park, neighbors are showing how seriously they take being members of a community. When Elena's Soul (4912 Baltimore) caught fire on Christmas Eve, its subsequent demolition toppled more than one business. Its neighbors on each side caught wind of falling debris to such an extent, owners were forced to close as well.
Three closed businesses
At the Cedar Park Café (also 4912 Baltimore), which opened last year, the felled forces crashed through the roof. Gary’s Nail’s (4910 Baltimore) was bordered up around the turn of the New Year.
Just around the corner from the artisans space The Cedar Works project we informed you about a few weeks ago, an abandoned home takes up half of a duplex on the corner of 50th and Pentridge Streets. The same owner owns an abutting vacant lot.
An available sign has been posted at this unkempt, yet not overgrown next lot over to the north since at least September, 2009, according to GoogleEarth. Two lots actually makeup the vacant lot. The northern lot is owned by Mid-Autumn Realty LLC, according to public record. Its southern neighbor, the also vacant 723 S. 50th St., last sold for $7,800 in 2005, and as we said has the same owner as the blighted property next door.
While West Philly has been home to various urban innovations, from co-ops to urban farms to the Dirt Factory, one thing developers in other areas of the city, specifically in Port Richmond and Fishtown, have been more active in revitalizing is repurposed old buildings. Not to mention the Loft District.
As we predicted just the other day, there’s more commercial love planned for the western end of Baltimore Avenue in West Philly. This time, in the form of art.
Seeds Gallery will open the weekend of July 27 at 5011 Baltimore Ave., the former location of a Rock School known for blasting its amplifiers every weekend at 9am, exposing the locals to the licks of 12-year-old guitarists playing Crazy Train.
Since October, Seeds has existed in mobile form, showcasing artists’ work at restaurants, cafes and law firms.
“Our perspective is the art has to go where the people are,” said owner Saba Tedla, who also owns Askum, the Mediterranean kitchen located at 47th and Baltimore (which opened last July 27, hence the correlation in dates).
Tedla said they’ll focus on seeding artists into the community. She said Seeds wants to develop a relationship with its exhibiting artists that extends beyond the dates of their showcase.