Recently, on a jaunt to East Kensington, we spotted three new homes under construction on the 1900 block of E. Arizona Street. There's a rough-looking one-story building at the end of this block, where it hits Emerald Street, with a homemade street sign that declares this Beer Belly Boulevard. Sounds better, if you ask us.

View from Emerald Street

The three homes in question are the work of V2 Properties, a developer that's been getting busy in this neighborhood, Fishtown, and several neighborhoods in South Philly too. The homes, at 1935-39 E. Arizona St. Beer Belly Blvd., are replacing four vacant lots which previously looked like this:

View in the past

The developers have taken four lots, each of which was only twelve feet wide, and combined them into three 16'-wide lots to build more standard sized homes. This is an approach that others have successfully taken in this neighborhood, where many of the old homes are quite skinny. Other developers, however, have maintained the old lot sizes, building very skinny homes.

Three new homes, normal width

We can certainly appreciate the desire to maintain old lot sizes in order to squeeze an extra home into a given development, but we'd posit that it's usually better to consolidate lots and build wider homes as V2 has done here. We've confess, we haven't walked into many 12'-wide homes but those we have toured have certainly felt a wee bit narrow. That being said, the skinnier homes are generally less expensive than the wider homes, offering a lower entry price point for potential homeowners in this growing neighborhood.