New Construction

We'll see what the ZBA says

Despite a strong showing by neighbors concerned with parking issues, the Fishtown Neighbors Association recently supported plans for eight new single-family homes on a mostly vacant lot on the 2400 block of E. Gordon St., just a block away from a couple of our favorite restaurants in Fishtown.

This home would go

Developers plans to build five homes on Gordon Street and three on Dauphin Street, moving around lot lines on this parcel which runs street to street. The project, designed by JKR Partners, will also include some demolition, and would animate an under-used Fishtown block.

The community vote at the July 15th FNA zoning meeting was sixteen in favor to fifteen opposed. Near neighbors were more strongly opposed than the community at large. According to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair, the high number of no's was due to parking because the proposal offered nothing in that department. According to Karp, there's a question as to whether the ZBA will even listen regarding parking concerns for this project considering it's not required by the code. The developers are only seeking a variance for lot size, and a minimal one at that.

Joining the mansion parade in Old City

A couple of months back, we told you of plans for three contemporary mansions at 240 Arch St., right across the street from the Betsy Ross House. Passing by recently, we discovered that foundations have been poured for these homes.


A reader gave us a heads up that the project now has a name and a website. That website has both details about the homes and pretty renderings of the homes. The project has been dubbed The Ross Luxury Townhomes. As you might expect, these new homes are gonna be mighty fancy.

Project rendering
Another view

According to the website, the homes will each have over 4,000 sqft of living space, two-car parking (in garages, yay!), huge bedrooms, smart home technology, and wine cellars. Most interesting are the roof decks, which will each have kitchens and hot tubs. Certainly not amenities that Ms. Ross enjoyed in her day.

A bunch of homes are under construction

Over the winter, when we last checked in on Mildred Court, the twenty-five home development under construction on 8th Street, Montrose Street, and Carpenter Street, the buildings that once stood there had been demolished and formwork had appeared on Carpenter Street. We passed by the other day and discovered all kinds of progress at the site. Most of the homes have been framed out and sheathed, and many of the windows have been installed as well.

Looking down 8th St.
New homes on Montrose St.
Homes on Carpenter St. are the furthest along

In case you don't remember, this collection of new homes is coming from developer US Construction, the same guys who built the collection of homes spanning Christian and Montrose Street a couple years back. Like that project, Mildred Court will be offered as rentals for a few years after they're built, and will then likely go on the market for sale. Also like many US Construction projects, JKR Partners did the design work.

Replacing concrete lot

If you're traveling through Grays Ferry, you might come upon a wonderful old building at the corner of 28th & Morris. That's the former Anthony Wayne School, which several years ago was converted into affordable rental units. The building still strikes an imposing figure, with its exterior architectural features thankfully preserved.

Anthony Wayne Apartments in the former school

Once upon a time, the school and its playground and parking lot took up half a city block. What used to be the playground, according to CBS Philly, at the corner of 27th & Morris, has been a vacant concrete lot for many years. And it wasn't exactly adding anything to the neighborhood.

Renovation and new construction

We've seen serious changes in Francisville in recent years, mostly in the form of long-vacant lots filling in with residential or mixed-use development. The concentration of this redevelopment has taken place near the 19th & Poplar intersection, though we've recently started to see additional infill closer to Ridge Avenue, the neighborhood's depressed commercial corridor. As we were passing through the area the other day, we spotted a tall new addition just off of Ridge.

New building has appeared

Carmel Developments, developers who have lately been busying themselves on Frankford Avenue, purchased 1541 Ridge Ave. over a year ago. They've since gone to the trouble of subdividing the lot, creating an independent parcel that fronts the 1500 block of Parrish Street. There, they've already framed out a four-story building that will eventually house three apartment units and a commercial space. Next door to this construction site is a crossfit gym we've never noticed and would have to imagine hasn't been around for so long.

Long vacant lots turning over

Made Construction sure loves Reed Street in Point Breeze. Last summer, these developers built a new home on the northwest corner of 17th & Reed. Now, they're building two more, this time on the 1900 block. For many years, 1929-31 Reed St. were vacant lots. Now look at 'em!

Two new homes

Two new homes, all framed out. Beautiful. In a few months, they'll be completed homes and we imagine they'll be snatched up like most of the new construction in the neighborhood. Notice the vacant lot next door which stretches up Opal Street? Perhaps you remember, we touched on this parcel over the winter, when it was a snow covered meadow. Like the lots next door, it's also on the outs.

Looking up Opal Street

In case you've forgotten, there's plans for five new homes here, with two fronting Reed Street and three more fronting Opal Street. Just last week, the project got approval from the ZBA. So look for those homes to get underway pretty soon. Design work for the project was done by GJDesign & Architecture.

Easy to meet all your neighbors

The 2700 block of W. George St., which runs between Cambridge and Poplar Streets, is pretty desolate. It's got a bunch of vacant lots that people park on, and nothing by way of buildings with the exception of a small section of a warehouse that fronts 28th Street. The reason for all this vacancy, we would posit, is that most of the land on the block is owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Are there plans for PHA to build a bunch of homes on this block? We're gonna go ahead and say no. So why would they hold onto these parcels since the late 1960s? Search us.

Despite the overwhelming presence of PHA-sponsored vacancy on the block, some of the parcels are privately owned. And it's on a few of those privately owned parcels, 2730-36 W. George St. (or thereabouts), that a couple of new homes have appeared.

Two homes on an island

Aside from building on a block with no other homes, the developers faced some additional challenges. For one, the lots on the block are tiny, with those pictured above measuring only twelve feet across and and about thirty feet deep. With that in mind, the developers have combined the lots, creating double-wide but still not very deep homes. Despite the unusual layout of the two homes, we imagine they'll be pretty nice when they're finished and should find buyers relatively easily.

Replacing an old garage

In Fishtown, just off Frankford Avenue, a garage is gone and six new homes are on their way. At 2170 E. Norris St., the Palm Automotive Center once cast an unattractive shadow on the rapidly developing corridor. Now it's just a memory.

In the past

Remember Norris Point, the ten home development built last year where Norris Street hits Trenton Avenue, just a few steps from the location pictured above? This project comes from the same developer, Eric Fox, and is also similarly designed by Bryan Philips at ISA. Mr. Fox (not us, 'natch) also did The Nine, a LEED project on Tulip Street across from Memphis Flats. But now his attention is squarely on this parcel, where construction is underway.

Looks no better a few years later

A couple years back, we directed your gaze to the 1500 block of N. 16th Street, near Temple's campus. At that time, developers had just constructed a disappointing new structure adjacent to one of the most attractive historic buildings in the city. Today, the historic building still looks terrific. And the two-year-old gray stucco building next door still looks like crap. It will be such a pleasure to revisit this site over the next however many decades and continue to drink in this sight.

The horror!

In a move that we can only hope will blunt the awful sight of the newer building, we've discovered that a project is underway at 1516 N. 16th St., immediately to the south. This lot has sat vacant for we couldn't tell you how many years, but now there's a foundation coming together on the site.

More infill in the neighborhood

Around the corner from the faded Metropolitan Opera House, a huge vacant lot is on the outs at 15th & Poplar. For years, this lot has been used for parking for the nearby Second Pilgrim Baptist Church, but it seems that won't be possible for very much longer.

Two lots further from the corner
They're quite deep

In reality, this parking lot is made up of three distinct lots. The two interior lots are privately owned (by what seems like different developers), having changed hands last year. The corner parcel, which is a ridiculous 28'x110', is owned by the City. So at the very least, the church should have some vacant land to use for parking for the next decade or two until the City gets around to selling their parcel.

As for the privately owned lots, both have plans on the table for new buildings, each with five apartments. No idea whether the plan is for rentals or condos at this point, but we'd bet on rentals due to the site's proximity to Temple. On the other hand, a row of quadplexes just a block to the west are being marketed as condos despite our initial expectation that they'd be rentals. So who knows.