Every block has its quirks, but the 700 block of Carpenter Street may be one of the most unusual in Bella Vista. Back in 2011, we visited this block and wondered about a number of properties on the north side of the street. We assumed that 723-25 Carpenter St. was vacant because it looked like a large plant was slowly eating the building's facade. As it turns out, the building isn't actually empty and an expired listing from a year ago tells us that the building has an artist studio on the first floor and four rental apartments above. The plant on the facade is still going strong though, and it looks to be moving hungrily along to the building next door.
Next door, 727 Carpenter St. rises 4 stories and has a tenement-style fire escape on the front of the building. The building has been boarded up for years. Immediately next door, 729 Carpenter St. was a two-story building that looked like the roof was ready to fall in. Both buildings were purchased a few months back for $350K, along with a warehouse located behind the western building. The home has been demolished and looking at the permits, it appears that the four-story building and the warehouse will soon follow. We couldn't tell you what's coming next, but we can say that the properties are zoned for single family use so perhaps we'll just see a pair of high-end homes.
Moving further to the west, it seems like a good idea to bring the vacant lot at 739-41 Carpenter St. to your attention. This property has been vacant for as long as we can remember, making itself especially memorable with aggressive signs warning people against allowing their dogs to poop on the property. The family that owned the properties at 725 and 727 Carpenter St. own the lots, and we'd think that they could be open to selling the lots at some point in the future. Again, a pair of homes would be the only by-right play here, which seems like a bit of a waste given the size of the property.
With the long vacant building on the northeast corner of 8th & Carpenter largely renovated and with a restaurant coming to the first floor, yet another oddity on the block has been brought back to the mainstream. So aside from the building-eating plant, it appears the most of the quirks are working their way out on this block. That's good news for the developers that own the properties and probably good news for the folks living on the block. But for us, observers of the weird urban landscape of Philadelphia and its gradual (or sometimes very rapid) changes, it'll be a little bittersweet to see this block lose much of its personality.