The 700 block of Latona has plenty that’s going for it. It’s a quiet South Philly block that’s a bit hidden due to its narrow nature, but it’s extremely close to so much of the action that the city has to offer. Passyunk Avenue sits just a couple blocks away. The Italian Market is just a few steps further. The block sits just a couple blocks south of Washington Avenue, so a walk to Center City is easy enough. Best of all, when the wind blows just right, folks on the block get to enjoy the smell of sauteed onions, wafting down the street from Pat’s and Geno’s. Paradise, indeed.
Despite all the good stuff nearby, this block sat largely untouched in recent years, home to a mix of two and three story South Philly row homes. For many years, two underused properties existed on this block – a triple-wide parking lot on the north side of the block which stretched to Manton Street, and a roughly quarter acre site that contained three homes and a koi pond. As you can probably gather, things have changed for both properties of late.
First, let’s turn our attention to the property on the north side. 725 Latona St. was used as a surface parking lot, dating at least back to the 1940s. But this is far from the highest and best use for a property that’s just around the corner from one of the biggest tourist traps in Philadelphia! Back in 2019, we told you about plans to redevelop the property with five homes. Three of those homes were planned for Manton Street, with two coming to Latona. But the project needed a variance, so it was no sure thing that it would be moving forward.
Fast forward to today, and indeed the project moved forward, as you can see in the image above. The five home project is called Jamison Place and all of the homes have sold as of last summer. All of these homes, which include garage parking, sold at prices ranging from $850K to $875K. Not bad, and quite an improvement over a surface lot.
The change at 706 Latona St. is even more significant, though a full throated description of the change as an improvement is a little more complicated. We visited this property several times over the years, most recently about three years ago. You may recall, a large project was slated to rise here maybe two decade ago, but it stopped after three homes were built, and eventually two of those three were combined into one home. So you had two homes with parking and a gigantic yard, including a playground, plenty of green space, and the aforementioned koi pond. This was far from the highest and best use for this property, but still kind of awesome and totally unique in this part of town.
When we last visited, the homes at the property had been demoed, awaiting a significant new project which had been approved at the ZBA in 2018. Today, we can see that the project, which will eventually include ten homes, has progressed past the halfway point. Four of the homes have already sold, at prices ranging from $1.15M to $1.8M. Two more homes in the development are currently listed, at $1.25M and $1.6M.
These are incredibly high sale prices for this neighborhood, owing to the sheer size of the homes, the lack of new construction in the area, and the continued to demand for homes in South Philadelphia. We’d argue that the sales that already occurred are proof of concept, both for this project and for other projects that might seek high price points for new South Philly construction. We’re not gonna say that we’re about to go on a run of seven figure sales in Passyunk Square – there simply aren’t enough lots around that could accommodate these kinds of homes. But as developers, in the future, put proverbial pencil to proverbial paper when considering opportunities, you know they’ll look at these two projects on the 700 block of Latona as comps for two different kinds of new construction projects. And these projects might nudge those developers to move forward, too.