Abandoned Construction Site on the West Philly Fringe

Over the past fifteen or so years, the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor and the surrounding neighborhoods have changed quite a bit.

This Philadelphia Speaks thread references a 1996 conversation between two West Philly friends. One considered the area to be “gentrification proof,” an idea that intrigued the man. The posts indicate that 49th & Baltimore was once an outdoor drug market and Baltimore Avenue contained a string of abandoned commercial buildings. Today, 49th and Baltimore is just a few doors down from the Mariposa Food Coop. It’s gone from narcotics to organic kale just fifteen years!

Image from Philly Mag

As such, we wonder just how far the West Philly rebuild has come and will go. Perhaps it will stretch beyond 52nd Street? If the Apple Lofts project just south of 51st and Baltimore manifests, it could provide some help. And if the new Rue 52 is any indication, the development has already gotten there.

We’ve covered some West Philly residential renovation and new construction projects in the past. Recently, we told you about a rehab from the Spak group, and new construction on Woodland Avenue. Today, we have a project that seems frozen in time to bring to your attention.

Abandoned

At 4809 Chester Avenue, it appears construction was abandoned, on a tragically designed three-story home with a large overgrown yard. The building is (barely) secured from potential squatters, vandals and thieves by large pieces of (rotting) plywood leaned against the first-floor. We’re unsure of when work stalled, or why, though the building has looked like this since at least 2009. A dilapidated Victorian home once stood here, and came down between 1998 and 2004, when the current owners, Bizness as Usual Inc, purchased the property.

In 1998. Low res, we know. Sorry.

One thing is for sure, West Philly is anything but gentrification proof, especially if construction is taking place near 50th & Chester. Now that the debate is out of the way, can anyone give us any more information about this property or these builders? With a tax delinquency over $6K, a neighbor could send it to sheriff’s sale, where an investor would likely snap it up and finish the job. Anyone have a spare 800 bucks lying around?

–Lou Mancinelli