Our efforts to cover real estate development in Philadelphia take us across the city, from deep in South Philly to Port Richmond to Roxborough. Occasionally though, we’re spared the travel when a project happens just down the street from the office. Such is the case with the recent demolition at 1121 S. 20th St., a property that has been sitting vacant for a very long time. It was owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority for decades, finally changing hands at an auction held toward the end of last year.

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In the past
Current view

You can see, the vacant home has already been torn down. As we understand it (from our client who owns the property), the plans call for a new construction triplex in its place. This project will be happening entirely by right, as the block is zoned for multi-family use. But that’s not all! The same developer bought the property next door, 1123 S. 20th St., at the PHA auction in February. Look for that building to come down as well, and for a second triplex, just like the one next door. It’s probably safe to assume that the construction of the two buildings will happen at the same time, even though the demolition for the southern building is lagging a little behind.

From a greater distance

This will just be the latest change for this block, which has experienced a few different projects over the last few years. To the north, a duplex replaced a vacant lot within the last year, and the home next door was rehabbed at some point in the last few years. In the other direction, at the corner of Ellsworth Street, developers built a triplex and a single family home a few years back. There’s still a blighted building and a vacant lot left on this side of the block, but given the changes on the block and in the rest of the neighborhood, it’s probably a good bet that they’ll turn over sooner rather than later. Perhaps it’s just a matter of someone being willing to pay the right price, and that person hasn’t presented themselves just yet. Who knows, maybe tomorrow.