vacant lot

Hear about 'em in person

We generally like to tell you about projects after the wheels start turning in the community process, but tonight we're gonna make an exception. On December 15th at 6:30pm, South Philadelphia Homes is holding a community meeting for several larger projects planned for Point Breeze. Later this week, we'll have some additional info on these projects, but for now here's the agenda:

- Thirteen units at 24th & Manton with thirteen parking spots
 
24th & Manton
 
- Expansion of Madira at 1252 S. 21st St., 
 
- Duplex 1301 S. 23rd St.
 
- Signage at 1447 Point Breeze Ave.
 
- Additiona at 1822 Latona St.
 
- Four homes at 2408-14 Manton St.
 
- Mixed-use building at 24th & Ellsworth
 
24th & Ellsworth

You've heard about these meetings on this site in the past- go to one and be a part of the community process!

Disclosure: This may come as a shock but our parent company, OCF Realty, is involved in none of these projects.

Tons of change blocks north of campus

The months keep falling off the calendar and development around Temple has continued to buzz. Derelict buildings have been demolished and replaced with shiny new (often boring) buildings. Lots that sat vacant for decades have turned over. So much construction has happened here of late, people who graduated even five years ago wouldn't even recognize their former neighborhood.

While all of this makes perfect sense in the abstract, we figured we'd give you a visual example of just how much change has come to a random intersection in the area. There's no particular reason we picked 12th & Dauphin, but it certainly illustrates the point. Check out some images of what the area looked like back in 2009, thanks to the brilliance of the Google Maps Time Machine feature.

Mirrors changes on the corridor

For years, the northwest corner of 17th & South was a large vacant lot. Three summers back, we told you of plans to redevelop the parcel, a project that would mean nine apartment units and a 7-11 on the first floor. It took awhile, but construction finally started moving earlier this year. And then it came to a screeching halt and the project sat, seemingly in limbo, for several months. Thankfully, construction started moving again in October or November, and much progress has been made. The building is certainly an upgrade over what we had here before, though we confess we're holding out hope that the 7-11 thing will fall through.

Construction is on track again

Across the street, it's worthwhile to mention that another project we talked about way back when is set to move forward. In May of 2013, we told you that Puentes de Salud, a non-profit that focuses on health care needs of the Latino community, was hoping to open a clinic on the southwest corner of 17th & South, in a space that's attached to an unattractive parking garage. We always kind of envisioned a bar opening there, but South Street West has gotten new drinking establishments in other locations such that near neighbors shouldn't find themselves so thirsty these days.

Big lot on Poplar Street on the outs

In Francisville, long vacant lots are filling in at a disarming pace, and it seems like the development fisherman has hooked another big one. A reader checked in today, alerting us to the outcome of last night's Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation zoning meeting, where neighbors overwhelmingly supported a new development at 1617-33 Poplar St. that would replace a giant vacant lot near Ridge Avenue.

Current view
View of the site from above

As you can see, this parcel is quite large and quite vacant. The overhead view is clearly from a couple of years ago and doesn't show other development that's happened nearby since. Surrounded by other projects, the new development here will feel quite at home, though it will be among the larger projects to come down the pike for this area. So you may wonder, what was it that neighbors learned about last night and supported to the tune of 69-4?

As more projects push along

The number of projects popping up in recent years on the blocks surrounding 40th & Baring has really been astounding. On Baring Street numerous apartment buildings have risen, mostly housing students, generally replacing vacant lots. Recently, a new run of construction and renovation has gotten underway in the area. A large building on the southwest corner is getting turned into a duplex. Just north of the corner on 40th Street, developers recently renovated a long-blighted row of buildings. Closer to Spring Garden Street a row of quadplexes are progressing. And on the east side of the block, a building with 22 units is very much under construction.

And there's a groundbreaking in their backyard

Another day, another handful of vacant lots by the wayside in Point Breeze. This time, we found two new homes at 2313 and 2315 Ellsworth St., both of which were formerly vacant lots. Remember, we last visited this block over the summer, covering a few other homes under construction closer to 24th Street. Developers To The Sky LLC bought the aforementioned pair last year, and they're now building single family homes here. They also bought the adjacent vacant lot, 2311 Ellsworth St., and will soon be building a third single family home there to join the two we see today. 

Two new homes have been framed

Directly behind this project there's another development that's finally moving forward. In September, we told you about plans for fourteen new homes on the 2300 block of Alter Street, and noted that an old warehouse was getting demolished. Checking back today, we see the warehouse is gone and a new hole has appeared on the block. At the bottom of the hole, we spotted footers for the first three homes in the development.

Block has turned around thanks to PHA auction

A little over three years ago, the Philadelphia Housing Authority held a press conference on the 3000 block of Cambridge Street, announcing plans to auction off 400 scattered site properties. Included in that list were five vacant and blighted properties on the block. The press conference set up shop in front of 3020 and 3022 Cambridge St., which were in terrible condition at the time.

Press conference in 2011

Those same homes are looking much better these days. Like many other homes on the block, they've been sold to private developers, renovated, and resold to residents. 

Current view of those homes

A couple of homes on this block could still use some love, but the changes have been incredible in just a few short years. And some more changes are surely on the way. The western end of this block is a dead-end, separated from Fairmount Park by railroad tracks. But the homes end before the end of the block. We spotted zoning notices a couple of weeks ago though, suggesting that the end of the block will soon fill in some.

Years in the making

Almost three years ago, we first brought you to the corner where Titan Street hits Point Breeze Avenue, to a large parcel that's been vacant for many years. We shared, with excitement, plans for the redevelopment of this lot with a new mixed-use building. We wondered if this development, with thirteen apartments and a first-floor commercial space, would spur new construction in the neighborhood and on the corridor, and whether it would encourage new businesses to come to Point Breeze.

In the past, a huge vacant lot

In the years that have passed since we first broke news of this project, construction has indeed continued in the surrounding neighborhood. And a few new businesses have opened on Point Breeze Avenue, including OCF Coffee House, a new pharmacy, and Breezy's Cafe. But this property has continued to sit, embroiled in litigation. A few months ago, the lawsuit was thrown out and construction finally got started. Passing by earlier today, we discovered a building that's been fully framed to two stories, with work taking place on the third.

What's gonna happen next?

It was all the way back in the summer of 2011 that we first noticed 1201 S. 21st St., a blighted vacant building that had once been a launderette. In the 1950s, the building looked halfway decent, even if it was only one story tall. But in 2011, it looked like all kinds of crap.

Back in 1954
In the past

Three years ago, a commenter ran into the property owner at the site, and learned about plans to build a two-story addition on top of the existing building. Sometime after the above photo was taken though, the building was partially demolished, leaving only wood framing and an exposed foundation. It sat like this for years, occasionally getting a Stop Work Order posted on the property.

Looked like this for a couple of years

In recent months, we saw a sign on the property advertising its availability for sale. We never called, but we understand the asking price was $120K. Yeesh. According to public record, the same guy who owned the property since 1992 still owns the property, but we wouldn't be surprised if a new owner has stepped in (at a lower price?) and this hasn't yet been reflected in public record. We're guessing that there's a new owner because the property was finally demolished last week.

Across from future apartments

As Fishtown has continued to redevelop, we've seen a good mix of larger projects and one-off projects, sometimes even on the same block. On the 2100 block of Norris Street alone, we've seen the ten-home Norris Point project and an additional six homes get started a little closer to Frankford Avenue. On the other side of Frankford but technically on the same block, we recently came upon a one-off mixed-use building under construction at 2186 E. Norris St., replacing a vacant lot.

In the past
Framing underway

According to the permits, this property will have commercial on the first floor and residential above. It's encouraging that the developers would opt for a commercial use at this location. With Frankford Avenue just steps away, perhaps there's a belief that the good vibes from the corridor can spill over onto Norris Street, adding a slightly hidden retail amenity for the neighborhood. It's actually pretty consistent with the fact that the folks building this thing are the same ones who own the building across the street which is on its way to renovation.

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