A few weeks back, after yet another snow storm, the third floor of 848 Wharton St. collapsed under the weight of all that white stuff. We passed by the other day and the property has been totally cleared. It's now a vacant lot.
In the past
Now a slightly blurry lot
For years, this property has sat vacant, catty corner from the extremely popular and visible Pat's Steaks. You may recall, a couple of years ago, we openly wondered about the vacant lot on the northeast corner of this intersection, wondering why it hasn't been developed. Interestingly, the large vacant lot is owned by Anna and Maria Olivieri, according to public record. The recently collapsed building is owned by Maria Olivieri, which may or may not be the same person who owns the large lot across the street.
You may remember, we originally told you about the 9th Street Marketplace on the 900 block of Girard Avenue back in October. Back then, groundbreaking had just taken place for a shopping center at a parcel that was a vacant lot for years. With Bottom Dollar and Dollar General already signed up, we made the crack that all of the center's tenants needed to have "dollar" in their name. Though only five months have passed, there's been a crazy amount of progress at the site.
We're guessing that the Bottom Dollar will be located at the northern end of the shopping center, and Dollar General will take one of the other spaces. That means that there's room for another store or two in this development. Has anybody heard anything about other tenants for this site?
The developers working on this project also own another lot on this block which we expected would be under construction by now. It isn't, nor are the collection of vacant homes on the eastern side of the block.
Further down the block
Hopefully, the next time we visit the area, the new homes will be finished and the blighted homes will be under construction. We shall see.
After grabbing a delicious sandwich at Breezy's Cafe yesterday, we were heading back into town when we noticed a new and growing hole in the ground at the northeast corner of 20th & Ellsworth. The combination of three vacant lots has held back this corner for quite some time, and the vacant looking building next to the lots ain't helping either.
The two southern lots were purchased about a year and a half ago by Michael Mosheyev, a developer who recently built three homes nearby on the 2000 block of Annin Street. For the corner lot, permits indicate that he's building a triplex. Whether he's planning to rent them out or make them into condos is anybody's guess. The lot next door is more than three feet narrower and will only accomodate a single family home. It's kind of a shame that he wasn't able to change the lot lines without going to zoning, as this will result in a somewhat inferior interior home. Still, we are confident it will sell quickly in this market. And considering the location is close to several other residential developments and the slowly-starting-to-turn-around Point Breeze Avenue, it's one of the more desirable spots to live in the neighborhood.
New buildings and vacant lots on the 1600 block of Ogden
Vineyards project under construction
Now joining the fray are four more duplexes which we learned about today thanks to an eagle-eyed reader who spotted some new foundations recently on the 1500 block of Ogden Street. These duplexes will replace long-vacant lots and are designed by Harman Deutsch.
In the summer of 2012, we wondered about the large vacant lot on the southeast corner of 13th & South. We lamented that this prominent lot was sitting vacant, especially in light of the construction of Southstar Lofts a block away. At the time, we explained that the 20,000 sqft lot previously contained a few disgusting, blighted properties on the corner, but these have been demolished. A section of the property was purchased by G & W South Street Partnership in 1987, and the rest was bought in 2007. The owners are based in Florida, and from what we can find, they don't own any other lots in town.
Earlier this week, a reader gave us the heads up that Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition would be hearing a plan from possible developers of this lot. And earlier today, we spotted a new zoning notice!
Zoning signs on the large vacant lot
We didn't get close enough to read the signs in person but a conversation with somebody at the ZBA told us that the plan here is for two new four-story buildings. Each will have eleven apartments and there will also be a commercial element. Eighteen total parking spots will be included in the project as well. We imagine we'll be getting some more info on the project in the coming days, but if we don't we'll try to make it to the community meeting on March 11th to get all the info.
While we can't give our opinion on the project without a complete understanding of the project being proposed, it will be extremely exciting to see this long-vacant lot redeveloped. Seriously, it's about time.
Architecturally, West Philadelphia has some of the most interesting buildings in town. Standard Philly row homes, Old Victorians, Greco-Roman inspired buildings, and plenty of other styles line the streets of West Philly, distinguishing it from much of South Philly, for example. We were on the 4600 block of Sansom Street yesterday investigating a reader tip, and came upon 4622 Sansom St., a vacant lot. Next door looks like a building that was once a twin to this property. A photo from Phillyhistory.org confirms this.
The now-demolished building in 1954
The corner lot has been vacant for at least a decade, and the home next door looks to be much worse for the wear of having lost its neighbor. Across the street, a building constructed in a similar style remains intact, though with perhaps a little too much vinyl.
The project went through several iterations before it was finally approved by the ZBA in May of 2012. Unfortunately, after it was approved, near neighbors on Rodman Street appealed the decision to the Court of Common Pleas. The appeal was struck down about a year ago, but we believe that some legal cloud still hangs over the project. Despite this, construction is taking place. When it's finished, the four-story building will have nine residential units and a large commercial space on the first floor. 7-11 has a lease on the space, which is slated to be completed over the summer. If you're interested in being the franchisee, you can click here to learn more.