Two years ago, 747 N. 24th St. was a worn looking mixed-use building with an inactive corner commercial space. A couple of pictures and a Phillies flag were all that prettied up the storefront's otherwise blocked-out windows. Signs were on the building, suggesting that the owner was willing to sell, but we'd imagine it took some time for him to find a buyer willing to pay his desired price. But about a year ago, a new owner took possession of this building for the first time in about seventy-five years and set to the task of renovating it completely.

In the past

The most visible results of this renovation are new windows, blue stucco covering the bricks, and the complete elimination of the commercial space. Fortunately, the existing cornices look to have been restored and painted, maintaining an important element of the building's original character. We would also have to imagine that the interior has been completely redone, to integrate formerly divided spaces into a single family home.

Months ago, Naked Philly favorite Feder's Fresh closed its doors, depriving residents of Spring Garden, Fairmount, and Francisville of a convenient place to procure fresh and inexpensive produce. Fortunately, the neighborhood still had Garden Fresh Produce and Deli, located at 23rd & Fairmount, to fill those needs. But it seems that this option has also gone the way of the dodo bird, as the store closed its doors earlier this month.

Misleading sign
Clearer sign on the front door

With the disappearance of this store we can begin to speculate on what will appear to take its place. This location seems ideal for a restaurant (Tria, perhaps?), or any other kind of retail establishment. It seems likely that with so many other businesses nearby (and a halfway decent coffee shop a couple of blocks away), another business could be set up for success.

The Fairmount neighborhood is one of the more charming in Philadelphia. Large houses, charming blocks, close proximity to the museums, easy access to the park, and the list goes on. Unlike many of the neighborhoods we commonly cover, Fairmount arrived years ago. And while it sees its fair share of renovations, it doesn't see too much new construction due to the fact that there are few vacant lots to be found and much of the housing stock is in pretty good shape. Which was why we were so surprised the other day to notice a new building going up at 2529 Parrish St., on the corner of Bambrey.

What we saw

This property was purchased last year by Haney Property Holdings LLC, who paid $215K. The building that previously stood here was in tough shape from the looks of it, and may have gotten a half-hearted facade repair at some point in its history. Also, the facade on the first floor had an unfortunate stucco covering placed upon it at some point. And don't get us started on that vinyl bay. Yuck.

A long wooded vacant and somewhat dismal corner in Fairmount is now all but transformed. When we passed by 23rd & Brandywine last week, the four homes we wrote about earlier this winter were close to being completed. Some final brick or stucco work along Brandywine Street appeared to be the last thing needed in order for the exteriors to be completed.

Philadelphia’s Rail Park is an effort by three dedicated Philadelphians to transform an unused rail line into a grand pubic space that connects Fairmount Park to the cultural spine of Philadelphia along the Parkway down to City Hall. The space begins at the far end of Pennsylvania Avenue near 28th Street near Lemon Hill. That’s where a rail line runs underneath a tunnel that heads toward City Hall. Could that tunnel be of one Philadelphia’s next great civic spaces?

Map of the Rail Park

The Friends of Rail Park is the newly rebranded incarnation of the group formerly known as Viaduct Green. The group recently partnered with the OLIN studio to develop a vision for half a mile of the three mile former rail line that begins at Broad Street and runs three blocks west. The group calls it the park’s City Branch. The proposed park runs along an old rail line along Pennsylvania Avenue until part of it emerges below street level behind the Rodin Museum near 22nd and the Parkway. Around 18th and Callowhill, the part of the space that can be seen now is overgrown brush. The tunnel eventually connects with the proposed Reading Viaduct.