1507 and 1515 Catharine Street have been blighted and vacant for years, according to our memory. They were acquired by Universal Companies back in 2004 along with numerous other properties in the neighborhood, and sat undeveloped and rotting for years under Universal’s stewardship. Though Universal pulled permits for alterations to the homes, nothing was ever done, which is particularly surprising and embarrassing with the Universal Charter School located directly across the street.

1507 Catharine in the past

1515 Catharine in the past

Across the street, the Universal playground at recess time

In 2010, the PRA took both of these homes back from Universal, and have continued to sit on the homes, bringing down a block that’s had its share of violence in recent years. But in recent weeks, we’ve noticed that first 1507 and now 1515 are being demolished. It’s unclear whether this action is simply L&I ordering the homes to be demolished because they have become dangerous, or whether the PRA has sold the properties and the old homes are being taken down by a new developer on the scene.

1507 is gone

And 1515 is getting there (like Septa!!!)

Does anyone who lives in the area have any idea about who’s behind this demolition? While we’re not big fans of vacant lots, they certainly represent less blight than boarded up, vacant homes. If a developer is indeed behind these demolitions, folks on the block can ostensibly look forward to new neighbors sometime soon, a clear upgrade from what’s been here for years. And with the nearby YWCA building likely to be renovated in the very near future, this pocket of Graduate Hospital could be looking at some new momentum on the horizon. Which certainly seems like great news for people who have been looking at three empty buildings for many years now.