In the spirit of the recently finished National Spelling Bee, we found ourselves struggling to spell the word 'sauerkraut' on this fine morning. Unlike those kids though, we have the crutch of spellcheck, so we didn't even need to ask someone to use it in a sentence. But we digress.
AC Kissling made tons and tons of sauerkraut at 161 E. Allen St. over the decades, with the family business finally selling out to a larger company at some point in the last few years. In 2013, their space on Allen Street went on the market, with the half-acre site listed for sale for $1.5M. At the time, we predicted that a developer would tear down the building and build homes in its place. A little over a year ago, we aggressively patted ourselves on the back when we learned that developers had presented plans to the community for eighteen new homes at this location. That plan now has the necessary approvals, and the old kraut palace is getting torn down.
We told you back in February that demolition at the former Mount Sinai Hospital site was wrapping up, but it seems we were getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. A couple of readers have reached out in recent weeks to let us know that construction has gotten started on the major residential project coming to this property, even though some significant vestiges of the old building remain. In case you've forgotten, this project will entail 95 new homes with parking on the blocks between 4th & 5th, Reed & Dickinson Streets. Concordia Group is the developer, and Barton Partners are the architects.
Project site plan
Rendering, view at 4th & Reed
About half a dozen homes have been framed out on 4th Street in the last few weeks.
First row of framing
But if you turn your gaze to the western end of the property, you can see that the last bit of the old hospital hasn't yet come down. It's actually a pretty dramatic sight, if you see it in person.
We have a handful of memories involving 514 South St., all of which date back to a time that Dairy Queen made its home in this one-story building. By the end of its time at this address, the DQ was kinda gross, so it was no surprise to us when it went out of business. In the last few years, a couple of businesses have rotated through the space, including a bagel place and a pizza spot. Today though, the building is gone and a hole in the ground has appeared in its place. Ditto the surface parking lot next door.
A few years ago
Developer Haffey Homes bought the properties last year, and is now moving forward with a plan for a five-story mixed-use building. The property has frontage on South Street, Randolph Street and Kater Street, and covers 7,200 sqft, so it has the potential to accommodate this sizable building. The plans call for 32 one-bedroom rental apartments on the upper floors, with a retail space and 12 parking spots on the ground floor. The developer is ideally looking for a restaurant tenant for the commercial space, with 1700 sqft available on the first floor and another 1500 sqft in the basement. Harman Deutsch has done the design work.
It's a pretty safe bet that when we see new construction these days in the neighborhoods surrounding Temple, more student housing is on the way. So that was naturally our first and second guess when we spotted some new foundations and framing on 16th Street, just north of Norris.
New foundations at framing on the 2000 block of N. 16th St.
But if you look carefully at the photo above, you'll see a sign that reveals the actual nature of this project.
Sign on the site tells another story
Holy smokes, it's non-student-housing construction near Temple! Habitat for Humanity is building 21 units of affordable housing in a project they've dubbed Diamond Park. The first phase will mean 12 new homes on a large chunk of land between Page and Fontain Streets, with groundbreaking taking place last month. It appears as though all of the foundations have been poured, with two of the homes partially framed so far.
View of the first couple of homes
The second phase of this project will take place just to the north, on a large parcel at the northwest corner of 16th & Fontain. All of these lots were previously owned by City agencies or PHA.
There's finally light at the end of the tunnel for 2012 Wharton St., a property we first brought to your attention in the fall of 2013. Once upon a time, a huge warehouse made sense at this location, and over the years the building was home to the Philadelphia Traction Company, John Wanamaker's stables, a budget food market, and most recently a printing press. But as the neighborhood has emerged from decades of disinvestment, and new businesses are starting to eye the Point Breeze Avenue corridor, this building and its neighbor at 2010 Wharton St. have actually harmed the neighborhood, cutting off a portion of Point Breeze from its commercial corridor.
Just yesterday, we were telling you about five new homes coming to 6th & Jefferson, and we wondered whether we'd soon see other projects nearby, in the western section of South Kensington. It didn't take long. Shortly after our post went up, a reader gave us the heads up about some ongoing demolition at 528 W. Oxford St., just a block away from the upcoming five home project. In the past, this corner featured a rough looking one-story garage and a building that was originally the Kindsvater's Hall. We can't seem to find any info about its history, except that it's been vacant for quite some time.
In the past
Heavy equipment is on the site and all of these buildings are now getting torn down. Developers bought the large property about a year ago, paying $336K. Because the property is zoned for a combination of industrial and commercial use, they needed to go to the ZBA for their plan to build seven homes here. A site plan from the Zoning Archive shows us that the new homes will have frontage on Oxford Street.
The 1200 block of N. 28th Street has seen some changes since we visited last summer. At that time, a four-unit building, a triplex, and a duplex were all under construction. All of those projects appear to be finished, but some other projects are now underway, as you might expect in booming Brewerytown.
New four unit building and new three unit building both look finished
Across from the few-years-old North 28 building, two duplexes are currently getting framed out. Developers purchased 1245-47 N. 28th St. in the last half year, paying $45K per lot. These duplexes are happening by right, but we couldn't tell you whether the units will be offered for rent or for sale. Not sure that it matters all that much, as either use will be an upgrade over the vacant lots that were here before.
We've seen heaps of development close to Front Street in South Kensington lately, but today we turn our gaze to the western edge of the neighborhood. The last time we visited 6th Street, we had news of several multi-unit buildings under construction, improving a long-blighted stretch between Thompson and Master Streets. Clearly, developers are paying attention to these changes, as we just learned about plans for five new homes a block to the north at 6th & Jefferson.
View of the lot
This property has been vacant for many years, owned by the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises since the early 1990s. While it's possible that this project is being developed by HACE (public record doesn't show a change in ownership), we'd wager a new developer has stepped in with plans for market rate housing. This theory would seem to be consistent with the sign on the site advertising five new homes with prices starting at $325K.
There's a section of the 4600 block of Sansom Street between 46th Street and Farragut Street that's been rather bleak for at least the last decade, probably going back many more years. A single building on the south side of the block has survived the passage of time, with two huge vacant lots on either side. On the north side of the block, another vacant lot overlooks a gas station.
But things have changed dramatically as the student housing boom in West Philly has made its way here, and with considerable force.
Triplexes on 46th Street, foundation at the corner
We're unapologetically pro-development here at Naked Philly (we're owned by a real estate developer, after all), but every now and then we encounter a project that we struggle to get behind. Such is the case at 1857 N. Willington St., where a new triplex is currently under construction. Developers bought this property for $270K earlier this year and decided to demolish the building that was standing on the site. This happens all the time, of course, but this one feels like a more significant loss because of the unusual architectural features of the demolished building.
In the past
You can see, the building had a twin which is an active rental property. The cornice of that property isn't nearly as intact as was the cornice next door.
Cornice next door has seen better days
There are three other pairs of twins on this block, clearly designed by the same architect and possibly built at the same time.