New Construction

Been a long time coming

The northwest corner of 20th & Carpenter has been through some serious changes in the last decade. Turning back the clock to 2007, the building at the corner was a vacant mess and 922 S. 20th St. next door was a bodega with a well-deserved reputation for drug dealing. Though some of the activities that took place in the bodega were quite illegal, the building had some terrific bones. 

View of the corner in 2007

As the years passed, things changed, as they're wont to do. The building at the corner got a gut renovation, with two apartments upstairs and a corner store below. A few years ago, the folks who own 19 Degrees at 19th & Christian bought the former bodega next door and had plans to renovate the building and open a pho place on the first floor. Somewhere along the line, the renovation plan was scrapped and they demolished the building instead, excellent bones be damned. The property has sat vacant ever since.

But wait! We passed by the property yesterday and it looks like foundation work is underway. Could pho possibly be far behind?

Just a few steps from another project we just covered

Perhaps inspired by our story about a new five-story building under construction on the southeast corner of 15th & Ogden, a reader tipped us off this weekend about more development coming soon at 15th & Parrish. We feel a little silly dragging you here just a few days after we covered a project half a block away, but that's exactly what we're doing. Sorry about that.

SE corner of 15th & Parrish

The southeast corner of 15th & Parrish is currently a vacant lot, but a four-story building stood here until fairly recently. Developers bought the property last summer for $300K. According to an old listing, the building housed Jimmy's Take Out Restaurant at some point but it was apparently in poor condition prior to its demolition. It's a shame, as it had some pretty nice looking bones.

View at the SE corner in the past

In place of this building, permits call for a new structure with six apartments. We'd guess that it'll either rise five stories like its near-neighbor on Ogden Street, or perhaps it will only go up four stories. It's safe to assume that the new building will have a much more contemporary look than the building it's replacing.

A bunch of new units and more on the way

There's some development brewing on and around the 4600 block of Sansom Street. Last summer, we visited this block to check in on a row of prefabricated apartment buildings. It seems that development has been something of a catalyst for other projects in the neighborhood which have begun construction since. The most newsworthy is a whole range of vacant properties in the immediate vicinity, including 4611, 4612-4620, 4613, 4619, and 4621 Sansom Street as well as 125-129 and 133-135 S. 46th Street. That's fourteen vacant tracts of land, all told. All of these properties were owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and were sold to Sansom Street Development, LP, which is a moniker for Charles Lomax of Lomax Real Estate Partners, for a sum of $499,500. That breaks down to roughly $36K per lot. According to a few details published in meeting notes for the PRA, the developers plan on building a triplex on each lot consisting of 2 bed/2 bath apartments. Beyond that, we're not sure what these buildings will look like, but we can show you what the lots look like now.

More construction coming to this block

When we told you about a duplex planned for the 800 block of N. 16th St. the other day, we referenced the crepes at the nearby Vineyards Cafe. We lack self control, so the very next day we found ourselves right back there, shoving crepey goodness into our faces. Satisfied, we left the scene of the crime and happened upon some new construction just a block away at the corner of 15th & Ogden. The southeast corner has, shall we say, grown up a little.

Southeast corner, in the past
Now it looks like this

It's interesting that a tiny building at this corner is being replaced by one of the taller buildings in the neighborhood. When it's finished, the new structure will contain some apartments and a couple of parking spots. Side note, does anyone remember when the demolished building was in active use? If so, we'd love to know what it was used for. A newsstand perhaps?

But don't worry there will still be some vacancy

The 2400 block of Frankford Avenue is perhaps best known for being the home of Philadelphia Brewing Company, makers of Kenzinger and other tasty adult beverages. While many other blocks of Frankford Ave. have seen tremendous infill development over the years, this block has maintained a higher level of vacancy. But with three projects now under construction, that vacancy is definitely on the downswing.

This building stretches back to Trenton Ave.
View on Trenton Ave.

2413 Frankford Ave. is a large property that stretches from Frankford to Trenton Avenue, bending slightly along the way. It sat as a vacant lot for quite some time, but now developers are working on a mixed-use building with a ground-floor commercial space and two apartments. A sign on the site suggests that each unit will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and we'd say it looks like it'll be condo play.

Will probably just get torn down

Our first visit to the 1500 block of N. 16th St. came several years ago, when we discovered a stucco box apartment building filling a vacant lot next to an architectural gem. We were cheered back in 2014 when we learned that a larger apartment building was under construction next door, blocking views of the aforementioned stucco box. While the new architecture doesn't hold even a faint candle to the old, the block has seen some serious infill in the last few years.

1500 block of N. 16th St. in the past
Block looks quite different today

Today we direct your attention to 1511 N. 16th St., the amazing Victorian mansion that's currently home to the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. This building has been used for student housing for many years, but may retain some of its original interior architectural details. About ten years ago, the property was listed for sale with this amazing description:

But it'll be back soon enough

Some of the buildings at 109-131 N. 2nd St. had been there since the 19th century, but they took on a distinct personality in the 1950s when the National Products Company clad the first floors in orange tile. Looking like nothing else in Philadelphia, the property received historic designation in 2002 despite the fact that its distinguishing characteristics only dated back a few decades. Since National cleared out of the building in the mid-1990s, it had sat mostly vacant, with multiple redevelopment plans coming and going over the years.

In the past

A couple months ago, we told you that a plan was finally moving forward to redevelop the property. Despite the historic designation, developers from the Dale Corporation got permission to demolish the building and replace it with a six-story building with 192 apartments and ground-floor retail. The project will recreate the historic first-floor facade, using tiles that will better survive the elements. It will also reuse some of the amazing metal signage. Here's an old rendering which will give you an idea of what we can expect.

And we're not talking about the Franklin either

If you've never been to the Institute at 12th & Green, we don't know what you're waiting for. This place has been kicking it since 2008, years before this neighborhood became a development hotbed. And they've got tater tots too. With all the construction that's happened in the area since they've been open, we can only imagine that business has grown dramatically over time. And with two new projects underway nearby, it's set to grow some more.

We've actually covered a couple of projects in the past on the northeast corner of 12th & Green. Over four years ago, we told you about a pair of duplexes under construction on 12th Street. About a year later, we noted a triplex and a single family home getting built out of cinderblock on Green Street. Those projects are long finished but a lonely vacant lot has remained at the corner. Now that lot is a hole in the ground. Plans call for a mixed-use building with two apartments and a retail space. We'll see if that retail space doesn't eventually turn into a third apartment.

More random lots filling in

Recent years have meant big changes around the intersection of 16th & Ogden, and there are even more in store. The most easily recognizable changes are on the east side of 16th Street, where several four-story buildings arrived on the scene a couple years ago. These buildings are part of the Vineyards at 16 project and should eventually be joined by two more buildings, assuming the developers are able to wrest the lots from City agencies. The original rendering included those infill lots, so we'll remain cautiously optimistic that they'll get filled eventually. 

East side of 16th Street, south of Ogden

Across the street, we've been encouraged as some duplexes have arrived on the 1600 block of Ogden Street but the lots on 16th Street lots have remained conspicuously vacant. Last week, the owner of 834 N. 16th St. reached out to us, letting us know that they're planning a duplex for the property. We took a peek at the L&I Map and noticed that at least two other developers have the same idea for vacant lots on this block. The folks building at 834 N. 16th St. were kind enough to share a rendering from KCA Design Associates. It looks like the building will complement the newer buildings across the street.

Maybe the large lot will be redeveloped sometime soon?

We were in South Kensington the other week and noticed a new foundation at 1527 Hancock St., a small lot that had sat vacant for many years. Looking at public record, it appears that the bank foreclosed on the property back in 2006 and the current owners bought it from the bank in 2012. It took a couple of years but it looks like they finally got around to building a new single family home here. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the empty lot immediately to the north, currently home to a pile of dirt, is any closer to redevelopment, as it's been owned by the same party since 2001.

Foundation is already there

While it's great to see a one-off project like this moving forward, this block has the potential for something much bigger at its southern end. Back in 2012, we told you about plans to build 18 homes at 171 Jefferson St., then a large vacant lot. In the years since, a big new project has appeared immediately to the west, but nothing has changed at the aforementioned vacant lot.

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