Many blocks in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood have improved dramatically in the past decade, with hundreds of properties renovated and hundreds more built from the ground-up. There are few blocks that have been so completely transformed, however, as the 2100 block of Carpenter St., especially in the past few years. While virtually every block in Southwest Center City had at least a few run-down homes and/or vacant lots, the 2100 block of Carpenter St. instead had a handful of decent looking homes and a staggering number of vacant lots and crumbling homes. Often, the urban landscape is compared to a mouthful of teeth, with vacant lots representing missing teeth. Until recently, the 2100 block of Carpenter St. was like a hockey player with a lousy dentist.

Here are some Google images from about two years ago.

South side, close to 21st St.

North side, close to 21st St.

South side, mid-block. Looking east.

North side, closer to 22nd St. Looking west again.

South side, closer to 22nd St.

Those images don’t really tell the whole story. To really drive the point home, check out this aerial view from Google Earth, from 2004.

We count seventeen buildings. And SEVEN cars!!!

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s thirty vacant lots out of a possible forty seven. And that is simply unbelievable. What’s more unbelievable is what the block looks like today.

One vacant lot

A continuation of the last image. Three lots that were vacant a couple of years ago now have homes

A building that's been empty for years finally getting rehabbed, next to two more vacant lots

A fourth vacant lot, next to a boarded up rowhome owned by the city

Fifth vacant lot in the foreground. Owner is going to zoning for it very soon.

Back to the north side. Please disregard the monsterous pilot house above the duplex.

Back to the south side. More infill!

North side. Julian Abele Park!

Seven years ago, this block had thirty vacant lots and now it has five. And at least three of those lots will be built on in the coming year. And there’s a wonderful park on the corner, too! The change is just amazing. In a perfect world, we’d prefer more interesting architecture and fewer garages on this block, but the continued development on the block clearly demonstrates that builders are meeting the demands of the sale market, or at least the rental market.

That being said, can we agree to figure out a different material for bay windows? Stucco is so 2008.

For those of you wondering about the rather large hole at the on the northwest corner of 21st and Carpenter Sts., it belongs to George Evengelou, owner of the South St. Diner. Stop over there sometime and ask him to build something already!

Fenced in, but still seems dangerous

Or at least fill the hole.