Forgotten Bottom Still Loaded With Potential

A little over two years ago, we predicted big things for Forgotten Bottom, expecting a ton of new development for the area. And we're still optimistic that this neighborhood is eventually gonna blossom, even if it hasn't happened just yet. For those unfamiliar with Forgotten Bottom, it's a tiny neighborhood that's located between Grays Ferry Ave., I-76, the Schuylkill River, and some train tracks, and only has housing on the equivalent of two square blocks. The rest of the neighborhood consists of a baseball field (a hidden gem!), a FedEx building, a big parking lot, a bunch of vacant lots, some old warehouses, and the entrance to the Dupont Crescent section of the Schuylkill River Trail

With easy access to the University of Pennsylvania, HUP, and CHOP, and especially with the opening of Pennovation Works just to the north of this neighborhood, we assumed that people would start to give Forgotten Bottom a little more attention. And don't forget that a couple years ago, Penn extended their Homeownership Grant Program to include properties in this neighborhood, further encouraging people to move here. And looking to the future, the Dupont Crescent will eventually connect to the rest of the Schuylkill River Trail, which will make this neighborhood even more attractive.

But over the last couple of years, there's been hardly any construction in the neighborhood. Passing through the other day, we noticed a new looking pile of dirt on the 1300 block of S. Harmony Street and we were encouraged that something might be happening. And with a row of empty lots across the street, we were further encouraged that some construction on the east side might lead to a lot of construction on the west side.

Construction on the 1300 block of Harmony Street?

Row of vacant lots across the street

Looking at the permits though, we see that the construction on the east side of the street will simply be a new one-story structure that will be used for equipment and material storage. Bummer. And oh by the way, we see no permits for any of the lots in the photo above.

We did spy a new looking home on the 1200 block, which makes it the only home for sale right now in the entire neighborhood.

New home on the 1200 block of Harmony St.

Warehouses across the street

That home, 1236 S. Harmony St., is currently listed for sale for $375K. Looking at the photos, it appears as though the home is a rehab with an added third story, and not an entirely new home. That being the case, the developers might have a tough time selling the home at that price, especially considering the fact that the home is slightly less than 14'-wide and because of its warehouse views.

We seriously can't figure out why developers aren't giving this neighborhood much attention right now. It's true that Forgotten Bottom isn't exactly a paradise in its current state, but if we look five or ten years into the future, we can see it becoming one of the most attractive neighborhoods in town. Or maybe we're wrong, and it'll remain in pretty much the same state as it has for the last number of years. What do you think?