We've mentioned the Forgotten Bottom neighborhood a few times previously, but we're guessing you've never visited. Tucked between Grays Ferry Ave., I-76, the Schuylkill River, and some train tracks, it's actually a little confusing to get there by car. And the walk across 34th Street isn't exactly welcoming, with cars speeding to get to and from West Philly.
So for those who have never been there, here are the details: It's got a few hundred homes, a bunch of vacant lots, a baseball field, a FedEx building, a big parking lot, and the entrance to the underutilized Dupont Crescent section of the Schuylkill River Trail. Earlier this year, we joked around and said that Penn would be buying up most of the neighborhood for housing for employees at its South Bank Campus. And more recently, we told you in all seriousness that the boundaries of Penn's Home Ownership Program had expanded to include most of the neighborhood.
We've covered a few possible developments in the neighborhood over the years, but none have come to fruition. With a decent amount of vacant land and some homes that have seen better days, it seems likely that Forgotten Bottom will see considerable development in the next few years. When we were in the neighborhood yesterday we spotted a couple of projects that could be a sign of things to come.
At 1300 S. Harmony St., a corner property that looks like it may have once been a bar is under construction. Unfortunately, the construction has meant the elimination of an intact cornice and its replacement with new cinderblocks. According to the permits, the roof joists were deteriorated so perhaps this was necessary. Still, it's a shame.
Up the block, 1236 S. Harmony St. is getting an addition, even though the facade is bowing out significantly. One would have to imagine that fixing that problem will be part of the renovation effort.
Amazingly, there isn't much else going on in the neighborhood right now in terms of construction. But to us, it's just the calm before the storm. We would bet that in the next couple of years we'll be coming back to this little neighborhood again and again to tell you about new projects. And if the plans crystallize for the connection of the Crescent park to the rest of the Schuylkill River Trail, look for the area to pick up even more momentum.