Italian for "beautiful sight", Bella Vista is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Annual festivals in the neighborhood include the Italian Market Festival and the Bella Vista Festival of the Arts. Cultural events in Bella Vista are centered around public concerts, coffeehouses, the Mew Gallery, and Fleischer Art Memorial.  Only a short walk from Queen Village, Washington Square, Pennsport, and East Passyunk, Bella Vista a perfect destination for anyone who wants to be close to the hustle and bustle of Center City but wants a little more of a neighborhoody feel.

Bryant Coal Building at 10th & Washington Will Grow By a Few Stories

It was way back in 2013 that we wondered about 943 Washington Ave., a clearly reused industrial property that was home to a discount furniture store. We did a little digging and learned that the property had been used by coal interests since the late 1800s, eventually owned by the William Bryant Coal Company and used in concert with a large coal yard across the street. As downtown coal became less of a thing into the middle of the [...]
Read More »

Sheridan Street Lots Could Be Redeveloped After Decades of Vacancy

As we've detailed over the years, Bella Vista and Queen Village both possess some unique features from a street grid perspective, owing to their status as older neighborhoods. For reasons we can only guess, surveyors established a number of tiny streets in these neighborhoods when they plotted the grid way back when, so there are plenty of blocks around these parts that don't see much foot traffic. One such block is the 800 block of S. Sheridan Street, [...]
Read More »

Hole Appears at 8th & Kimball and That’s a Good Thing

We have mixed emotions about the 800 block of Kimball Street. On the positive side of the ledger, it's located right off the Italian Market and anyone that lives there has easy access to inexpensive produce and tasty meats and cheeses. The other end of the block however, always feels a little choked, probably because 8th Street is a bus route and traffic tends to back up from Washington Avenue. The rarely used triple-wide surface parking [...]
Read More »

Homes Replacing Mario Lanza Museum on Montrose?

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, located on the 700 block of Montrose Street, is a gorgeous church with a rich history. Per Philaplace, it was the first Italian national parish in America when it was formed in 1852, and served as a cultural center for the immigrant community. As the Italian population grew in South Philadelphia, additional Italian national parishes appeared in different parts of the city, with the closest being just a few blocks [...]
Read More »

Perth Street Garages Will Disappear in Favor of New Homes

Bella Vista is such a settled neighborhood, it hardly sees much development activity these days. When it does, most projects are one-off homes getting renovated or rebuilt after longtime owners move on, in one way or another. It's precisely because the neighborhood is so settled that any slightly underused property surely catches the attention of developers and attracts waves of unsolicited offers. And we suspect that 729-33 Pemberton St. fit that description for a long [...]
Read More »

Take a Breath Bella Vista, Your Parking Lot is Back

We've been pretty direct in our complaints about surface parking lots over the years, lamenting that they never represent the highest and best use for a property. To be clear, this isn't just a matter of us spouting urbanist rhetoric, though most urbanists would surely agree that surface parking lots are bad; surface lots are also a loser from a public policy standpoint. Parking lot operators have to pay 22.5% gross tax on parking revenues to [...]
Read More »

Skinny Mildred Street Could Trade a Surface Lot For Three Homes

For whatever reason, Bella Vista seems to have more than its share of narrow little streets that are perfect for pedestrians but miserable for cars. We've explored some of these little blocks over the years, drawing your gaze to the hidden 600 block of Kenilworth Street, and showing off projects on Delhi Street, Schell Street, and most recently, on Percy Street. Speaking from personal experience, these blocks are great to live on, specifically because cars tend [...]
Read More »

Lily on Christian Will Fill New Gap Next to Old Banca Calabrese

It's been a bit of a roller coaster year for the properties on the southeast corner of 7th & Christian, but the thrills are now over and the ride looks like it'll be fairly boring from here on out. In the spring, we drew your attention to this location, pointing out that the building at the corner was built in the early 1900s as the home of Banca Calabrese. The bank folded during the Great Depression, but [...]
Read More »

Wide Home On the Way for Narrow Street in Bella Vista

Last year, we directed your attention to the 800 block of Percy Street, an incredibly skinny block in Bella Vista with some hidden but significant storm water management infrastructure. We noted that most of the lots on the block only go back about 30 feet, making for shallow homes with tiny rear yards. This was a fairly common condition in South Philly a hundred years ago, but as far as modern development standards are concerned, those are some [...]
Read More »

Hurry Up and Wait on the 700 Block of Carpenter Street

It's been a minute since our last visit to the 700 block of Carpenter Street, as it last caught our attention toward the end of 2016 when an older two-story home at 729 Carpenter St. got torn down. At the time, we didn't know what was going on with this property, though we suspected that the demolition activity hinted at redevelopment on the horizon. Checking back on the property today, we see nothing has happened just [...]
Read More »