A shuttered school is pretty much always bad news for the community that lives near said school, for reasons that are rather self evident. Unfortunately, we saw this story play out in numerous neighborhoods across Philadelphia, as the School District closed a couple dozen schools back in 2013. Most of the former school buildings have changed hands at this point, leading to a few different outcomes. Some of the school buildings have been torn down, with sizable projects planned in their place. The majority of new owners have or soon will reuse the buildings, either as apartments or as charter schools. The former Bok Technical School at 800 Mifflin St. is a notable exception.

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View of Bok, from the east

Bok is being reused, thank goodness. With its Deco flourishes, it’s one of our favorite buildings in South Philly. But this reuse is like none other in town. Slowly, the owners of the building are renovating the building, using it as a “center for creatives, small-businesses, non-profits, small-batch manufacturers and beyond.” Over about 80K sqft of space, the building houses dozens of local small businesses, including architects, artists, bakers, and a boxing club. There’s still roughly 260K sqft of unoccupied space in the building, so there’s room for a ton of growth in the years to come.

We passed by Bok recently, and noticed some new construction as we peered eastward down Dudley Street, next to the former school. On the 700 block of Dudley St., we spied two homes that look relatively new, and another home nearby that’s under construction. The newer looking homes were finished and sold in 2016, with one selling for $330K and the other selling for $340K. V2 Properties currently has a home under construction at 730 Dudley St., which comes as no surprise as they’ve built many homes in this immediate area. Other developers own a few other properties on this block, which makes us confident that we’ll see further construction here in the near future.

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Construction on the 700 block of Dudley

Things are even more active on the 600 block of Dudley Street. Close to 7th Street, six homes have risen in the last couple years, and there’s another newish home closer to 6th Street. Next door to the latter home we saw a hole in the ground, which we now know is another V2 project in its earliest stages.

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600 block of Dudley, looking east
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New home coming soon on the same block

The most expensive homes on the 600 block sold last year for over $370K. We believe these homes are pretty similar to the homes on the other block which sold for lower prices just a year earlier. This could be an indication that prices are pushing upward in this part of town as more new homes get built. And we don’t think we can discount the presence of Bok in the area as another factor in gently moving prices upward. As the next round of homes are finished and put on the market, we wonder whether we’ll see sale prices creep up even a little more.