An Interesting Triangle With Untapped Potential on Lancaster Avenue

A few months ago, we told you about Mighty Writers moving into the beautiful building on the corner of 39th & Lancaster as part of the continuing efforts from People’s Emergency Center to renovate that property. Directly across the street from that revitalized storefront, we wonder about a collection of buildings located on a triangular plot bordered by 39th Street to the east, Spring Garden Street to the north, and Lancaster Avenue to the south.

Mighty Writers
Right across the street. Who needs a drink?

Located at 3901 Lancaster Ave.New Angle Lounge is your standard shabby corner bar. Right behind the bar, along 39th Street, is a blighted three-story building. Chalk scrawled on the front door of the place lists the address as 3900 Spring Garden St., but that address doesn’t exist according to city records. From what we can tell from city maps, the blighted building is part of 3903-05 Lancaster Ave., which includes a colorful storefront on Lancaster which contains an exterminator business and potentially vacant upper floors. All of the properties in this triangle have been owned by the same folks since at least the 1970s, and there are delinquent taxes on both that total about $15,000.

Back of the bar, blighted building behind
Closer look. This building is really shallow.
Exterminator building on Lancaster, blighted building in the background
View along Lancaster Ave. shows at least one boarded up window upstairs

With all of the redevelopment happening nearby, we’re wondering when a developer will come along and see the potential of investing in these structures and renovating them for families or students. The building at the corner of 39th & Spring Garden would seem to be a particularly desirable candidate, especially if an addition could be built to expand the building’s footprint. Across the street on Lancaster, a strip of old industrial buildings remind one of the former character of the neighborhood, and a recently demolished building will soon be replaced by apartments. 

Across the street

Like in Northern Liberties before, artists and other community builders have moved into the area, and after the artists come the developers. Just look around at 38th & Lancaster. In the past six months, a strip of new town homes were built, a former gas station became a three-story triplex, and PEC has continued to work on Hawthorne Hall. And as major institutions continue to build new towers nearby, expect Lancaster Avenue to continue this redevelopment trend.

–Lou Mancinelli