New Construction

They'll join their sister homes soon

As we're sometimes wont to do, we were meandering around some of the lesser known streets in Northern Liberties this week, looking for some projects that are perhaps off the beaten path. This is a great neighborhood for such wandering, chock full of blocks that stop and start. And there's the occasional log cabin. When we got to the skinny 1000 block of N. Leithgow St., we came upon four new looking foundations. Then we remembered we actually wrote about them about a year and a half ago.

Looking up skinny Leithgow St.
The foundations

Back then, 1018 and 1020 N. Leithgow St. were under construction and the foundations pictured above were a well tended vacant lot. In the time that's passed, one of the homes sold for $508K. The other is on the market for just under $650K. With 2,500 sqft of living space over four floors and a parking spot, we would not be surprised to see the developers get close to this price. And soon, four more homes will rise next door.

Certainly not what we expected

Student housing construction has been all the rage near Temple, with projects large and small changing almost every block in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. So when we heard about a zoning notice at 1412 W. Dauphin St., just a couple blocks north of campus, our minds immediately went to student housing. And upon reading the notice which calls for fifty-four units and eighteen bike parking spots, we had no doubt that another big student housing building was on its way.

But we were wrong! Hey, it happens every now and again.

Current view of 1412 W. Dauphin St.
Looking down Carlisle St.

Doing a little digging, we realized that plans for this site aren't for the kids at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. According to a Civic Design Review presentation from August, developers want to build an affordable housing building for senior citizens on this site (creatively) called Dauphin Street Senior Residences. Has a nice ring to it, no?

Well this would be cool

Generally when we talk about Washington Avenue, we're harping on possible projects west of Broad Street. Despite the fact that the other half of Washington Avenue is more developed with residential uses and less of a moat between neighborhoods, it's still ripe with redevelopment opportunities. Recently, we learned from Passyunk Post that developers are eyeing the northeast corner of 6th & Washington for a major redevelopment. Currently, it's got three residential properties.

Current view

Next month, there's gonna be a presentation to QVNA for a seven-story building with ground-floor commercial and twelve apartments above. This would be a major change for this intersection, which has already seen some changes in recent years. A new building went up on the southeast corner a couple of years ago which is currently home to a dentist's office. Just to the south, a long-vacant property was replaced even more recently with a new mixed-use building.

And five homes will rise in its place

Earlier this month, developers from Greenpoint Developers, an offshoot of Tower Investments, presented plans to the Fishtown Neighbors Association to demolish a church at 1401-09 Marlborough St. and construct six homes with off-street parking in its place. The community was not impressed.

Church plus zoning notices

Neighbors interpreted the project as an attempt to squeeze a sixth house onto a too-small parcel, which led to a vote of five in support and thirty-one opposed at an FNA zoning meeting. Before anything can be built here, the former Pilgrim Congressional United Church of Christ, which we wrote about over the summer when it had just gone under contract, will have to be demolished. According to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair, after the presentation, members of the community talked and were able to pinpoint one decisive issue with the project that concerned them; the sixth house. Designed by Paul Drzal, the project proposed five single-family homes facing Marlborough Street with an awkwardly squeezed-in sixth house accessed on Belgrade Street, but pretty much facing the backs of the five homes on Marlborough Street.

And even more are coming

After nobody paid it much mind for many years, the 1300 block of Chadwick Street has gotten a ton of attention of late. The block had been dominated by a huge vacant lot on its eastern side for a long time, but a major residential development has shrunk the size of the lot, and soon it will disappear completely. At the beginning of this year, groundbreaking took place for a twelve-home project on the aforementioned lot. To date, eight of the twelve homes have been built and three are either sold or under agreement. The remaining homes are currently listed for $349K.

On the east side, eight new homes are up

Across the street, we spied another project that recently got underway. Remember, about a year ago, we told you of plans for three more homes on this block, at 1308-12 Chadwick St., on a much smaller vacant lot. Formwork is currently in the ground, and we'd wager that foundations will get poured later this week.

Wish more rehabs would do this

In Fishtown, we've seen all kind of development activity over the years. Vacant lots have sprouted new homes. Developers have demolished old homes or warehouses in favor of new construction. And there's no shortage of rehabs either. At 2204 E. York St., we have the combination of a rehab and new construction.

In the past
Recent shot

As you can see, the old building is gone and a new facade has been framed out. Interestingly, the developers are opting to preserve the existing cornice even though the rest of the old front is gone. We've actually seen this a couple of times before, notably on a Carpenter Street project in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Wouldn't it be nice if more developers did something like this?

We shall see

As has been the case on many blocks in Point Breeze of late, the 2000 block of Federal Street has seen considerable redevelopment. On the block's eastern end, OCF Coffee House opened a couple of years ago and Breezy's Cafe moved in a little more recently, adding to the commercial mix at the top of Point Breeze Avenue. On the south side of the block, two new construction projects and a rehab have progressed nicely since we first covered them back in July. And on the western end of the block, seven homes with parking in the rear are replacing a lot that's been vacant for quite some time. This is a change from what was originally presented as a plan for fifteen condo units.

Ten homes with brick wall views

In recent months, we've told you about a few Old City surface parking lots going the way of the dinosaurs, getting replaced with mansions. On Arch Street and Church Street, construction is well underway. On Race Street, another project should get moving pretty soon. Recently, a thread on Philadelphia Speaks alerted us to another surface parking lot in the neighborhood that's on the outs, this time at Front & Race.

Future development site

This site is tucked away, with the Fireman's Hall Museum to the west and I-95 immediately to the east. Fortunately, a big wall blocks out sound and views of the highway (until you get to the roof deck at least). To the south is a condo building that we've told you about before, built on a lot that previously looked pretty bad.

Exciting mixed-use project is planned

On Ridge Avenue, it's no secret that it's been a rough go for years between Broad Street and Girard Avenue when it comes to blight, vacancy, and old dilapidated buildings. But of late, there's been renewed optimism for Ridge thanks to projects large and small. At Broad Street, the mythic Divine Lorraine finally seems like it will spring back to life in the next couple of years with construction ongoing. Nearby, the JBJ Soul Homes were finished last year, filling a large lot that's been vacant for a long time. Smaller projects have dotted Ridge Avenue as you head toward Girard.

And more are planned, like the plans to construct a mixed-use three-story building on a currently vacant parcel at 1608-12 Ridge Ave., with 14-units above a ground-floor commercial space. Next door, an even bigger project is in the works.

Eight units replacing it

A reader recently tipped us off to the ongoing demolition at 245 S. 45th St. in Spruce Hill. Seeing the opportunity to snap some photos and enjoy a huge sandwich from Koch's as a bonus, we made our way over there and discovered an old home which was surely once very beautiful is indeed getting torn down. According to our tipster, the property was in deteriorating condition for years until it was finally sold to Glasburg Properties earlier this year for a wild sum of $275K.

Demolition ongoing

Why, you may ask, why would a developer lay out that kind of cash money for a West Philly property that needs to be torn down? The answer is quite simple. The home stood on a huge parcel that stretches back almost two hundred feet and allows for eight units by right in a new construction building. And in a neighborhood where college or graduate student housing is all the rage, the price tag, even with the demolition, doesn't seem quite so unreasonable. Especially when you consider the zoning challenges in this area.

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