A few weeks ago, we told you about a new home replacing a long-vacant lot on the 1900 block of Christian Street. At the time, some commenters noted that the house would either be shorter than its neighbors or taller, with the possible addition of a fourth story. With framing complete, we can confirm that a fourth story ain’t coming any time soon.
Few weeks back
Same house, viewed from the west
We wonder, why in the world would these builders opt to go so much shorter than the homes next door? On a block that has a largely intact run of cornice lines, this property sticks out like a sore thumb. Kind of a shame, if you ask us.
It’s a little outside of our usual geographic reach, but this one is so important that we felt we had to share. The old Roberto Clemente Middle School, located at 3921 N 5th St., has gotten approval for a complete overhaul.
First, some history:
According to Hidden City, the building was originally built as the Apex Hosiery Factory, but became a school in 1967. As the decades passed, the school fell into deplorable condition and finally closed in 1994 after a new Clemente School was constructed at 2nd & Erie. From there, the building was used as the Greater Philadelphia Book Bank, a resource that allowed teachers to pick up used school books for free. That was closed down by the School District in 2007, and the building has sat vacant since.
Looking up 5th Street
True to its name, Old City offers us a glimpse into a Philadelphia neighborhood in the days before independence. The history of some buildings, like The City Tavern, actually tell an even broader story about American history. Originally built in 1773 at 138 S. 2nd St., on the northwest corner of 2nd & Walnut, the City Tavern was a hotbed of intellectual discourse, political organization, and spirituous merrymaking. According to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Tavern was a destination for the social elite, not just of Philadelphia, but of the collective colonies. It was visited by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Paul Revere and served as the unofficial meeting place for the First Continental Congress as war with the British approached. The sketch here below, drawn in 1908 and curated by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, shows the Tavern as it would have appeared in the days of pre-Revolutionary…
Recent changes and a rise in residential development in Passyunk Square have inspired one owner, also a realtor, to plan to convert a ground-floor studio at 12th & Ellsworth into a bakery and coffee shop. With the nearest café four blocks away and on the other side of Washington, this could fill a need for area residents new and old.
When Paul Chin first purchased 1149 S. 12th St. around 1999, he appeared before the ZBA and received a variance to turn the former butcher shop and florist into a studio apartment. Now he wants to change the first-floor space back into its original use.
Cafe coming here soon
“It seems like there is a need,” said Chin, about why he is seeking a variance now for takeout in order to be able to sell coffee and baked goods out…
East Kensington is an interesting architectural study of a neighborhood that’s experiencing considerable development. On a single block, you may find a classic Philly row home next door to an ultra-contemporary new construction home, next door to a vacant lot. But on the 2000 block of E. Susquehanna, it seems that an older home is on the outs, along with some vacant land.
Demolition coming soon
Last week, developers received approval from the ZBA to demolish the green home pictured above at 2072 E. Susquehanna Ave., and to construct three new homes on its lot as well as two additional vacant lots. These parcels, along with two on Abigail Street, were being offered for sale earlier this year for $350K. Public record doesn’t reflect the sale of the lots as of yet, but we would have to assume that the applicant is…
It’s been nearly another year, making for an almost two-year tale, since we checked in on development at the former venetian blind factory at 916-24 Green St. in the West Poplar or “Spring Arts” neighborhood. Last January the building’s cathedral top and dormers had been sliced off, and as of this November a third story had been added to the building and construction was progressing.
Two years back
The other day
When we last explored this redevelopment, we were confused by the zoning notice that sought to separate the structure into five separate homes, demolish the two story rear of the existing building, and rebuild it as a three story structure with car ports in the backs of the houses. We’re still not sure how that applies to this project, as it looks like a straightforward…