We were zipping around East Kensington the other day and took a peek at the 2000 block of E. Letterly, to check on a project we last covered about a year ago. At that time, we told you that developers were building a row of seven new homes on the eastern side of this block. This was especially notable because this side of the block had been sitting entirely vacant for a really long time aside from a pair of older homes at the northern end of the block, despite the other side of the street being almost fully occupied. Obviously, as times have changed in the rest of East Kensington, times have changed for the 2000 block of E. Letterly.

Row of newer homes

A year ago, we noted that a few new homes had sprouted on the west side of the street and had sold at prices that ranged from $270K at the end of 2015 to $400K at the end of 2016. We mentioned that this showed the incredible appreciation in East Kensington and speculated that prices would continue to rise with the next round of homes on the block. And while the change isn’t nearly as pronounced, it’s still very much a thing with a couple homes having sold for $415K, another under agreement at a list price of $430K, and the remaining homes listed at $440K. Will one of these homes cross the $450K threshold? Stay tuned.

If you look at the photo above, you might notice that there’s a metal fence that runs south of the new homes. That fence runs all the way down to Amber Street, and wraps around the corner. This struck us as a little odd, so we decided to investigate.

Newish fence at the corner

A story from Philadelphia Neighborhoods from the end of last year provided a pretty quick and easy explanation. According to the story, a group of neighbors got together with EKNA in 2012 and decided to assemble half the vacant parcels on this block and sell them to a developer while preserving the rest of the open space on the block as a green space called Letterly Green. The friends group is working hard to raise money to continue to improve this space, with plans to create a paved path, to install benches, and to plant more trees. Here’s a rendering that shows what they’re envisioning.

Overhead rendering

There’s a ton of open space in East Kensington, so it may seem a little strange that folks are working hard to preserve open space on Letterly Street. We’d posit though, that the neighbors are doing something very wise by proactively setting aside open space as development moves through the neighborhood at breakneck speed. All those big empty lots on Emerald and Jasper won’t be around a few years from now, but Letterly Green is poised to stick around for the long haul. No doubt, there are neighbors in places like Graduate Hospital that wish they had been able to do this in more places back in the early 2000s.