Last October, we wrote about the Baltimore Avenue transformation in West Philly and wondered how far its effects would crawl on either side of the growing corridor. We cited a trash-logged and abandoned construction site at 4809 Chester Ave. in Squirrel Hill as an example of a property that would benefit from the good vibes drifting a few block south. According to Google images, the building existed in its laissez-boarded up shape since at least 2009.

In October

Looks perhaps a tiny bit better

While we watched trash pile up on this lot and weeds grow unabated over the year, we continued to wonder about the fate of this building, which is very much out of character with the rest of the Victorian-style homes on the block. As it were, the building was hilariously put on the market for $549K a few months ago, and listed as a six-bedroom five-bath house. Hey, maybe Viking appliances and granite countertops lurk behind the plywood covering the first floor. But we somehow doubt it.

One of these things is not like the others

According to a March 12th Philadelphia Inquirer piece from this year, the property has received 15 code violations in the past five years. The site is owned by Bizness As Usual, a property management company based in Villanova. According to the Inquirer, the company owes $471,000 in back taxes on 58 properties, many of which are rentals, though the owner of the company disputes the City’s accounting. The property was purchased as a vacant lot in April 2004 for $2K, according to public record. Property taxes haven’t been paid since, with $4,778 currently due. Awesome.

Maybe it’s just that this block of Chester Avenue has some issues. Consider the story of Squirrel Hill Falls park, located down the street. The park remains locked on a daily basis and its construction fired up locals a few years back. Whatever the case, if this unfinished home goes for $549K, we’ll see the impressive strength of the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor reaching four blocks to the south. Oh, and we’ll eat our hat, too.

–Lou Mancinelli