vacant lot

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.

Will complete the block's transformation

It wasn't so long ago that 17th Street between Carpenter and Washington was pretty much the worst block in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. For years, a small collection of burned out husks of homes dominated the streetscape. After L&I was kind enough to demolish the blight, the block was left with a single occupied home and a couple dozen vacant lots.

Thankfully, the Carpenter Square project has gone a long way toward bringing the block back to life. Thus far, the developers have built eleven high-end homes, some of which are still available for sale. Now, they're working on the second phase of the project at the corner of 17th & Carpenter, which will include six condo units, a commercial space, and a courtyard. Like CPR, this project has breathed new life into this block. But a huge vacant lot remains on the west side of the street.

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.

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.

Check it out this minute

Back in May, we told you that the 2014 PHS Pop-Up Garden would be appearing on the 1400 block of South Street. We've been foaming at the mouth in anticipation, and now the wait is over at last. Remember, this was a godforsaken vacant lot just a month ago (and for like the past twenty years), and the Horticultural Society has done their usual bang-up job in turning it into a temporary green slice of heaven in the city. We visited the other day, and snapped some photos for your enjoyment:

Next to another newish duplex

Two winters back, we brought the construction of a duplex at the corner of 11th & Wallace to your attention. At the time, we were pleased to see that the long vacant lot was being filled, and lamented the fact that the surrounding lots remained undeveloped. There was also a vacant former bar on the block crying out for demolition or redevelopment.

Recently built on the corner

Passing by over the weekend, we discovered that the duplex is complete, but it looks kinda bad. The stucco bays (which don't look any good the minute they're installed anywhere) look like they're already cracking. Somehow, somebody bought this building for $470K last September. As you can see in the photo above, there's construction going on next door.

New residents coming soon

A couple of years ago, Hope Street on either side of West Thompson Street felt pretty bleak. The southwest corner featured the backyards of a row of relatively new homes that face Howard Street. The northeast corner had a row of faded stucco homes, steps from the El. And the other two corners were vacant. Last year, Postgreen built a project called Duplexcellence on the southeast corner, which we covered at the time. Now, there's more change coming to this intersection.

Looking toward the El. This looks the same.
Duplexcellence, part one

We passed by here a little over a week ago, and came upon a couple of projects at different stages of construction. Right behind the row of stucco homes, at 1303 N. Hope St., a new mixed-use building has been framed. According to permits, the first floor is for parking and commercial use and two apartments are planned on the upper floors. This is way better than the overgrown vacant lot that was here before.

We spied a foundation

Ridge Avenue is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. Project HOME redeveloped a gigantic vacant lot near Broad Street into a mixed-use building, JBJ Soul Homes. On the 1300 block, a long-blighted building has finally been rehabbed. And a mixed-use project is planned (though not yet under construction) on the north side of the 1700 block. And while on Ridge the other day, we came upon another lot that's now getting developed.

New foundation

1724 Ridge Ave., at the corner of Vineyard Street, has been vacant for years, though relatively well tended. For the last couple of years though, it's been surrounded by a chain-link fence. Finally, in the last month or two, a foundation has appeared. According to the L&I Map, the large lot will soon contain a new four story mixed-use building with three apartments on the upper floors and a commercial space downstairs. And that commercial space will apparently be home to a restaurant, if we're to believe the permits. Has anyone in the area heard anything about such a thing?

Two years later, a revised project appears

Two summers ago, we told you about an 11-home 5-garage project slated for a large vacant parcel just under the wrist of I-95 where Berks and Hewson Streets meet Wildey Street. There were also approved plans for two homes at Berks & Wildey from the same developers.

Old rendering
Old site plan

Whether it was due to community opposition or other more pressing projects, the project didn't get built and the lots have remained vacant.