New Construction

Previous incarnation isn't happening

With the weather taking a turn for the warmer (at last!), we find that we're spending a little more time outside, enjoying public spaces. Schuylkill River Park is one of the better ones in Center City, with a big dog park, basketball courts, tennis courts, a playground, and a connection to the Schuylkill River Trail. At 26th & Panama, across the street from the tennis courts, we recently came upon a project that's frozen in time- demolition has been done but construction hasn't started.

New homes, new bar, new dirt lot

We've been covering changes at the intersection of 21st & Federal for quite some time, with several projects making a mark at different corners. On the northeast corner, a row of seven homes have sprouted, replacing a long vacant lot. This was originally going to be fourteen condo units, but feedback from some near neighbors resulted in the revised plan. The homes, which have 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and parking in the rear, are currently listed for $479K and several are already under agreement. Wowza.

Row of homes are nearly done

On the southeast corner, we told you about a former launderette getting demolished back in November. We first covered this building way back in the summer of 2011, and for years it stood in dilapidated condition before it was thankfully put out of its misery. No idea what's happening there at the moment, though we've heard whispers that it's available for sale. It would certainly make a nice spot for a new home. Meanwhile, immediately next door at 2046 Federal St., a foundation appeared over the last few weeks. That will soon be a four-story triplex which we're guessing will be sold as condos. But rentals would make sense too.

Community supports the change near Delaware Ave.

A former Kraut House in Fishtown just off Delaware Avenue could soon be razed to make way for eighteen single-family homes, pointing to the continued residential resurgence in a formerly industrial area near Allen Street in Fishtown. This is an area where several projects have occurred, but this would be one of the bigger ones.

Corner of Allen & Shackamaxon

In the spring of 2013 we reported that the property, a one-story sky blue faded building at 950 Shackamaxon St. that stretches back for half a block onto Allen Street, was for sale. The asking price: $1.5M. The building was owned by the Kissling family that ran the Kraut House for many years. Earlier this week, developers presented plans to Fishtown Neighbors Association to demolish the building and replace it with townhomes with 1:1 parking. The project was supported, 26-6. With the community on board, now it's on to the ZBA. Assuming they endorse the project, look for work to get moving soon. Even if they don't, we'd imagine demolition will start soon.

Though it's certainly University-related development

The corner of 32nd & Race is pretty much on the border of Drexel's campus, but in the coming decades that stands to change. East of 32nd Street are the Septa railyards, the development of which are part of Drexel's Master Plan. That plan will take quite some time to execute, and it's entirely possible that the rail yards will look as they do today in thirty years. But we can say with some great confidence that the surface lot on the northwest corner of 32nd & Race will be changing much more quickly. And for the better.

Something new for American Street, but there's room for much more

In South Kensington, wide and often bare American Street is a leftover underused thoroughfare from the era when industrial work dominated this section of Philadelphia. With wide open lots and plenty of room, we've been wondering if developers might begin to see American Street as an opportunity for reinvestment, given consistent building nearby and in the neighboring Fishtown and Northern Liberties neighborhoods. And it seems that change is already afoot.

Last month, the ZBA approved a proposal to build a mixed-use building at 1500 N American St. with an art gallery on the first floor and an owner's apartment unit. There will also be a parking space included. Before the building can be built, the garage that now occupies the parcel must first be razed. We think the building was once an auto shop, so a gallery will represent a nice improvement.

Recent view

We wondered about this area in the waning days of 2013. At the time we noted the vacant lot across the street, on the SWC next to the Crane Arts building. Actually, anywhere you look across the street here, there are vacancies. Meanwhile, since then, a new manufacturing facility was constructed a block to the north, the result of a collaboration between the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and Veyko.

A major project coming before the community, this time with parking

About a year ago, we told you of plans from OCF Holdings to demolish a warehouse at 20th & Wharton and replace it with twenty-two homes. The plan seemed like a no-brainer, as the warehouse sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood just a block away from a commercial corridor. The property is zoned for industrial use and while this may have been extremely appropriate many decades ago, it's clearly not the way of the future. Nobody's interested in animal husbandry or a lumberyard at 20th & Wharton, we'd imagine.

Current view
Zoning map. Red is commercial, yellow and orange are residential, purple is industrial.

JKR Partners did the design work, and this is a rendering of the previously proposed project. Please note, the second warehouse that's immediately to the west is not part of the project, but the developers were cooperating to make the two proposals architecturally compatible. That proposal, for 48 homes, is currently in limbo.

Joins a row of duplexes across the street

Over three years ago, we visited the 1500 block of Ogden Street and noted foundations for a five-story building immediately adjacent to a blighted shell. When we checked back on that project in the summer of 2012, we noted that the surrounding blocks of Ogden Street were mostly vacant, but had hopes that development on the 1500 block would continue and might spur projects nearby. And our hopes came true, for the most part. The 1600 block has seen several new buildings come on the scene in recent years, with mostly duplexes replacing vacant lots. Meanwhile, development has continued on the 1500 block with new buildings on both ends and a row of new duplexes in the middle.

New duplexes on the north side of the 1500 block of Ogden St.

All of the duplexes pictured above were developed by Tgt Properties LLC. Looking at this development, which we told you about last winter, one might wonder why there's a gap between the buildings. It's quite simple really- the City owns the lot in the middle. We'd imagine the builders would have been enthused to purchase it (and probably still would) but alas, it continues to sit vacant.

Developers came back with a revised proposal

Before the New Year, we told you about plans to transform a vacant lot/garage combo at 1123-27 Earl St. into 14 single-family homes. That project was supported by the community and approved by the ZBA in February.

Across the street, the Fishtown Neighbors Association supported plans for 17 units and ten parking spots at 1133 E Columbia Ave., a vacant lot, next door to the Candy Factory building. Designed by Harman Deutsch, it was approved by the Zoning Board a couple of weeks ago. The parcel stretches all the way to Earl Street. This project originally came before FNA last fall, at the same time as the aforementioned 14-home project, but didn't get support. Shedding a few of the units and making a couple of design changes got the community behind the project. 

Three homes are under construction

A few years ago, the tide of development started flowing across Washington Avenue, and new homes appeared on blocks like Ellsworth, Federal, and Latona Streets. But there wasn't a whole lot happening south of Wharton Street, at least in the western sections of Point Breeze. More recently, we've seen a serious bump in construction south of Wharton, with many projects in the ground and some more still to come. Today we look at the 1700 block of Dickinson Street, where three homes are currently under construction and at least one more should follow soon.

Two new homes are under construction

The southeast corner of 18th & Dickinson has been vacant since at least 2007 per Google Maps, and we're guessing for many years before that as well. If you visit the corner today, you'll see two new homes under construction. Emerald Properties bought the three lots on the corner a couple of years ago and now they're redeveloping the properties. The corner lot is zoned commercial and has approvals for a first floor commercial space and an apartment above. They have an application to the ZBA to build a single-family home, but whether they get approval remains to be seen.

One larger project and a couple of one-offs

Over the last few years, the blocks surrounding the intersection of 19th & Poplar have seen so much change. On the southwest corner, a church was demolished and replaced with six homes. On the southeast corner, duplexes replaced vacant lots. Just to the south, a major project resulted in over thirty new units with a combination of apartments and new homes. Oh, and a bunch of homes also went up on Ginnodo Street too.

Six homes that replaced a church on the southwest corner
Duplexes on the southeast corner
A gaggle of new units just south of the intersection

For neighbors who have lived through this sea change, we'd guess they wouldn't expect much more development in the area. After all, what's left?

But it seems that developers have found at least a few more projects to bring to the area. One of them, we actually first told you about a couple of years ago. For years, the stretch of 19th Street between Cambridge and George was a combination of vacant lots and a blighted building. Now the building is gone and there's four foundations. Look for at least a couple of triplexes.

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