Neighbors in Spruce Hill in West Philadelphia are attempting to build up their organization by offering free membership for new members that join the Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) between now and next winter.
Some civic groups charge fees and some don’t. SHCA fees are $20 a year. The group’s more than 300 members provide an annual budget of $6,000 that contributes to the organization’s efforts in the community. Current members decided to offer free membership in order to boost the group’s numbers, ostensibly increasing the budget in years to come. Ten new members had joined by early May, according to Rich Guffanti, SCHA’s database coordinator.
Lot at 43rd and Baltimore
“There’s about a dozen things we do with it,” said Guffanti. That includes handling publicity and making the community aware of local development like plans for a 92-unit building at 43rd &…
The People’s Emergency Center (PEC) is at work revitalizing lower Lancaster Avenue in University City, an area tucked between the spur of development west of 30th Street and the rising popularity of neighborhoods like Spruce and Walnut Hill, and Clark and Cedar Park in West Philadelphia. Lancaster Avenue is a zipper thoroughfare that brings together five neighborhoods: Belmont, Mantua, Sanders Park, West Powelton and Mill Creek.
Looking down Lancaster
In the past two years, PEC purchased two long vacant and bruised buildings on the 3800 block of Lancaster Avenue. That and the 3900 block are areas that PEC has identified as primed for revitalization in its Make Your Mark Lower Lancaster Revitalization Plan published last summer. Its current work on the 3800 block of Lancaster is part of a larger about $4M investment project, realized through two separate but connected developments.
That includes renovations…
In University City, the academic institutions after which the area is named are continuing to stretch out in all directions. Just last week, for example, Drexel University reported that they had acquired, for a mere $8.9M, a triangular parcel at 32nd & Market that currently houses a Firestone auto repair shop.
While the Firestone will continue to operate for up to three more years, still undetermined future plans for the site may include student housing, retail, academic space, or a mixed-use development, according to a press release. The 26,675 sq ft parcel is located right in the jugular of the Drexel campus, and only a few paces from 30th Street Station. It’s also situated in a location central to Drexel’s strategic and master plans, which call for the development of a superblock along Market Street that will serve as a gateway…
In Squirrel Hill, new improvements to a healthcare facility will coincide with demolition on the 4700 block of Chester Avenue. The Renaissance Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a 123-bed short and long term care facility, will undergo improvements, and a vacant twin Victorian with a third floor exterior facade that resembles a Swiss chalet will soon be no more.
To be demolished
Currently being gutted
Renovations to the nursing home will include improvements to residential space and beautification of surrounding gardens. The property, which stretches between the Chester and Kingsessing Avenues, and is located next to the Chester Avenue Dog Park, was purchased by Nationwide Healthcare in January, according to the West Philly Local. According to public record, the price was over $4M.
View of the nursing home from the parking lot
Last November, we wrote about a blighted building at 50th & Pentridge, just around the corner from the recently opened Little Baby’s Ice Cream at 49th & Catharine. A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that a full-scale renovation job is happening at that location. When we wrote about the site last fall, the woman who answered the telephone at the number posted on a sign at the lot told us she didn’t have time for our conversation unless we were interested in buying. Turns out someone was interested. The property sold December 28 for $35,000, according to public record. If we were a gamblin’ blog we’d wager the new owner is responsible for the renovations.
In the past
It seems these renovations are coming at an apt time. In University City, undergrads, grad students,…
The Porch at 30th Street Station has been upping its game. Launched in 2011, the space has been improved in phases demonstrating an alternative way to public space making: build what you can when you can, then improve. It’s like buying an old home and fixing it up over time.
View of the Porch. Image from UCD. Because they take nicer photos than we do.
Over the last year, the folks at University City District that conceived The Porch have introduced innovative programming like beer gardens and a mini golf course, and a WXPN concert. When ongoing 30th Street Station renovations caused a less than park-like setting at The Porch, UCD staff envisioned and installed a temporary wall where scores of flowers will bloom this spring.
Good stuff from The Porch
The Porch Partnership Programming Fund…