fairmount cdc

Long blighted homes are gone

When we last visited the 2700 block of Cambridge Street a few months ago, we checked in on two homes that were replacing a vacant lot and a blighted building. These homes are now finished, with one under agreement at a list price of $415K. Yowza.

These were recently finished

The price is all the more impressive when you consider the row of blighted buildings sitting at the end of the block. One would have to think that the buyers knew they'd be disappearing soon. And it turns out that they did just that a couple of weeks ago.

Last week, we told you about Teaful Bliss relocating from 11th & Spring Garden to the corner of 28th & Cambridge, in Brewerytown. When we were up there snapping photos and grabbing a tasty cup of tea, we noticed a touch of new construction just down the block. If you visited the 2700 block of Cambridge Street a couple of years ago, you would have probably been struck by the number of vacant homes on the block. While several remain, at least one has disappeared in recent months.

In the past
Last week

LJR Investments Inc. bought both of these properties last year. As you can see, the vacant home has been demoed and the previously vacant lot is now gone. Both lots have seen new single-family homes framed out, which should be finished in the coming months. LJR also owns another lot on the block, closer to 27th Street, which looks like it could become a construction site pretty soon.

Right around Christmas time, we first told you about plans for ten new homes scattered over four blocks of Cambridge Street on the Fairmount/Brewerytown border. This project was to involve a partnership between developers MMPartners and Fairmount CDC purchasing blighted PHA properties, and redeveloping them into nine market-rate homes and one home to be sold at an "affordable" price to a buyer that meets certain income requirements.

A couple of months ago, we checked in on three of these homes of the 2800 block of Cambridge, which by then had been demolished, with reconstruction underway. We stopped by this block again earlier this week, and noted considerable progress. As you can see in the photos below, the homes are built, exterior work is progressing, with interior work surely taking place as well. The signs on the site would seem to indicate that the builders are Doozer Construction, a Center City based construction company.

On the recommendation of a reader, we made our way to Brewerytown the other day to check in on some ongoing residential projects that we've covered in the past few months. First we stopped at 31st & Baltz, where last month two foundations sat, waiting for new houses to be built by developer Steph-Sin. In the weeks since, the homes have been framed, and facades have gone up as well. Pretty good progress, if you ask us.

Middle of March
Plugging away

Around the corner, on the 3000 block of Girard, three properties owned by ML Builders LLC were vacant lots a month ago. Now, foundations have arrived for all three, and the two easternmost parcels are being framed out. Still no framing for the last lot, but we'd guess it's next on the list. These properties will all be triplexes, once construction is complete.

Just last week, we told you about Cambridge Row, a partnership between Fairmount CDC and local developer MM Partners to purchase a number of PHA properties, rehab them, and sell them on the open market. This project will be taking place on the 2700-3000 blocks of Cambridge Street, and will involve the revival of ten properties that have been sources of blight for years. And it seems that the spirit of rehabbing properties on Cambridge Street is contagious.

2800 Cambridge St.

2800 Cambridge St. is an imposing corner property, dwarfing the two story homes next door due to its height and the fact that the other homes on the south side of the block are set back from the front of their property line. The building was purchased by Cambridge Partners LLC back in September for $135K, and these developers seem serious about redeveloping this shell.

According to the zoning application, the builders want to create three apartments here, when there were two apartments once upon a time. Part of the renovation will be the a one-story addition on the two-story section of the building, and another addition on the one-story section.

Last year, the Philadelphia Housing Authority sold off hundreds of homes in a successful though flawed auction process, relieving itself of a fraction of its inventory of vacant and blighted homes. Despite this effort, PHA still owns over a thousand vacant properties that it clearly doesn't have the capacity to repair to make fit for residents, and which will therefore will sit vacant and blighted for who knows how many more years.

Some PHA blight

Enter a partnership between Brewerytown developers MMPartners and Fairmount CDC. According to a press release, the two have come together to purchase ten properties from PHA on the 2700-3000 blocks of Cambridge Street. The intention is to renovate and sell these ten homes, with nine to be sold at market-rate prices, and one to be sold at an "affordable price," to individuals earning 80% AMI.