We were out exploring West Philly the other day and kept thinking “Philly in the ’60s” as we made our way to 60th Street and beyond on our journey. While there was plenty happening in the present day as we crossed the city, we couldn’t stop thinking of Arctic Records, a Philadelphia-based soul record label that just so happened to be a big part of Philly in the ’60s. We have been blasting “Happiest Girl in the World” by the Tiffanys for a while now, but it seemed especially appropriate on a blistering summer day, riding around with the windows down. But we digress, as there’s plenty happening in the sixties today here in Philly.
We start our journey at 6400 Haverford Ave., where the Cathedral of Praise Community Church is getting a big-time refresh. In addition to the main building getting a huge overhaul, two other buildings on site are getting a similar treatment. In addition to childcare and church functions, the remaining buildings will include a total of 25 units. The buildings already look better than in the recent past, and we have a feeling this will be a stunning reinvention of these stone-clad buildings soon enough.
As we made our way to the southeast, we found ourselves at 109-111 N. 63rd St., close to the intersection of 63rd & Arch. On what used to be a grassy lot near Cobbs Creek Trail, a pair six-plexes developed by Liberty Bell Management are rising side by side. DesignBlendz is the architect for the project, which will bring a dozen units to these contemporary additions of tan brick and black trim. With the 63rd St. Station just down the block, score another win for transit-oriented development.
We continued to make our way further southeast to 6161 Walnut St., where the corner building on the northeast corner of 62nd & Walnut has undergone a substantial transformation. In what seems to have been a vacant structure based on several property violations, the corner is getting new life to go with a dramatic coat of black paint. According to an Apartments.com listing, 11 units will be available as of next week, with August 1st move-ins welcoming the first new tenants. The additional windows, the contrasting facade colors, and the oversized address numbers make this building tough to miss on the corner.
Anywhere you go in Philadelphia, things are changing. In areas that have not seen real estate investment in decades, new buildings are rising, old buildings are getting refurbished and repurposed while new neighbors join the fold. It can be difficult to navigate the balance of new development with maintaining the character of an area, but we would argue that fixing up a few buildings while building two more on an empty lot near transit is a good start. If you’re looking to noodle some more on the subject, might we suggest that you take a drive or a bike ride through a neighborhood you don’t often visit, blast “Ain’t It Baby” or something of the like, and appreciate another part of our awesome city.