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West Philly : Cedar Park, Baltimore Ave. & Beyond

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Cedar Park, Baltimore Avenue & Beyond : Gentrifying* West Philly neighborhoods

 

The Changing Streets of Cedar Park, as gentrifcation* spreads Westward along Baltimore Avenue

In a country deeply segregated by race, this uniquely integrated part of West Philadelphia stands out. But there remain challenges.

By Jake Blumgart | March 11, 2017

 

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*"Gentrification" generally means higher income persons moving into lower income neighborhoods, and spending more money on their homes, and within the neighborhood. In some Philadelphia neighborhoods, this term has taken on some racial connotations, and now comes with a lot of political and emotional baggage. The following article includes some statistics that will help to elucidate why they can be racial overtones to the word.

 

CEDAR PARK Map, above = Area that lies between 45th and 50th streets, and Pine Street and Kingsessing Ave. ... PD.

 

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Baltimore Avenue, West Philadelphia, at 49th Street crossing looking East towards the 40th St. Trolley portal.

 

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Photo courtesy of JJ Tiziou | www.jjtiziou.net

 

Monica Allison moved to West Philadelphia’s Cedar Park in 1997, buying a gorgeous red brick Victorian town house for $67,000. She’d been renting closer to the University of Pennsylvania, but her neighbors repeatedly called the police on her teenage son when he was home alone, just hanging out around the house. Allison, who is African-American, had to rush home from her job as an insurance underwriter time and again to find him handcuffed on the couch.

 

Even today, as the country’s increasing diversity makes racial isolation less common, Cedar Park is a rarity because of its longstanding mixture of black and white households. When Allison moved there, it had been roughly evenly comprised of black and white households since at least 1970, although the white population continued to slowly decline. That remained true even as the neighborhoods to the west, north and south of Cedar Park became more than 95 percent black. But by the end of the 1990s, Cedar Park’s white population plummeted to 27.9 percent as crime spiked and several high-profile murders racked the neighborhood.

(For simplicity’s sake, we’re calling the area that lies between 45th and 50th streets, and Pine Street and Kingsessing Avenue, Cedar Park, although the exact boundaries are variable.)

 

Today, the neighborhood is rapidly changing once again. Cedar Park is one of the hottest areas in the city, and housing values are spiking dramatically. As of 2010, the neighborhood is majority-white for the first time since 1970, a stunning reversal from the 2000 census that showed the percentage of white residents at an all-time low. In 2014, Allison sold her house for $150,000. After an investor purchased and rehabbed the property, it sold for $445,000 last year.

This kind of a racial U-turn is extremely unusual in the United States....

. . .

image: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/university-city-dining-days.jpg

university-city-dining-days.jpg

TODAY, CEDAR PARK IS 52 PERCENT WHITE, 38 percent black, 4 percent those who identify as two or more races, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent Latino. The neighborhood’s commercial corridor, Baltimore Avenue, looks entirely different than it did 15 years ago. Most vacancies are filled, but many of the businesses that primarily catered to black residents are gone. Between 2000 and 2010, the neighborhood also lost more than 1,000 residents.

 

“I don’t feel like the diversity has caused people to move out,” says Allison, who is 53 and now runs a day care near the city border in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philly. “The diversity is a reason to stay, but unfortunately finances come with that diversity, so you kind of have to make a choice.” She says that rising property taxes, in addition to her mortgage and the big house’s need for repairs, were part of her decision to move away.

. . .

A recent study of Chicago neighborhoods found that those most likely to gentrify had at least a robust minority of white households, a floor of 35 percent.

Cedar Park only dropped below that floor briefly. At the same time, a dramatic nationwide decline in crime, which began in the mid-1990s, made itself felt. In Cedar Park and its eastern neighbors, the university’s extensive security operation—which stops at 50th Street—bolstered an already robust police presence to drive crime down even further.

. . .

In many ways, the neighborhood was primed for a spike in white population. This corner of West Philadelphia is stocked with beautiful gingerbread-like Victorian houses, an abundance of leafy trees, and trolley lines that whisk commuters to Center City in 25 minutes.

=====

> more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/03/11/cedar-park-gentrification-west-philadelphia/#H6lLJjUqwIkLpRPw.99

 

Spruce Hill & Cedar Park - Philadelphia Neighborhoods

LINKS
=====

LOCAL Interest websites :

http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly
http://www.westphillylocal.com
https://philly.curbed.com
http://phillymag.com
https://philadelphianeighborhoods.com/
http://hiddencityphila.org/

http://westphillyhistory.archives.upenn.edu/

GradCafe : Philadephia

:

Local Associations : :

Spruce Hill Community Association : Walnut Hill Community Association : Cedar Park Neighbors : Cobbs Creek Neighbors (Facebook) :
Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA) : 52nd Street Corridor : "West Philly's Main Street"

MAP of Local attractions : http://www.visitphilly.com/philadelphia-neighborhoods/cedar-park/

Focus areas in UnivCity- 2035 Plan : http://phila2035.org/home-page/district/university-southwest/university-southwest-focus-areas/

Round-up: University City etc Property : http://www.phillymag.com/sponsor-content/philadelphia-neighborhood-guide-home-buyers/#more-3253752

Neighborhood 48th/Walnut : http://www.westlofts.com/neighborhood.html : Includes a restaurant list :

West Lofts is on the edge of Walnut Hill, adjacent to Garden Court and the Spruce Hill Neighborhoods - known for their extraordinary array of local establishments.

Overall, there are 25 bars and restaurants within walking distance of West Lofts (not one of which is a chain).

Local maps: Balt ave: 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 :

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West Philly - University West - one important beneficiary of more Transport Oriented Development ...

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MFL / Market Frankfort Line runs through West Philly

 

But an old problem (crack) needed to be addressed before the core of blacks living in the Cobbs Creek section

(& nearby areas) could improve their environment.

 

The Crack Crime peak (1993) and the Aftermath: a clean-up

 

These majority-white groups with political commitments to egalitarianism and collective living weren’t the only reason the neighborhood stayed integrated. “When I came here three years ago, no one would think about 49th Street,” a white real estate agent enthused in a 1977 Philadelphia Bulletin article entitled “Cedar Park: Boom Bringing in Whites,” which noted that Penn employees were moving into the neighborhood. (The real estate agent describes selling homes for as high as $35,000, or $139,000 in today’s dollars). “Now the area is growing so fast we are running out of houses.”

 

During that decade, academic luminaries like Michael Katz and Elijah Anderson moved into the neighborhood, too.

“There’s something unique and satisfying about the neighborhood in terms of race,” says Elijah Anderson, an African-American professor of sociology at Yale University who lived in Cedar Park from 1980 to 1995, a period when he authored the classic text Streetwise: Race, Class and Change in an Urban Community. “There are plenty of parts of the country that don’t have the same ethos of openness, tolerance and anti-racism. We would attend racially mixed parties in the neighborhood, everyone getting on together at places like the University City Swim Club. It was really special and really unusual.”

 

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - Crack Cocaine

 

Then, in the mid-1980s, crack hit. The crime wave that swept the nation’s cities destabilized Cedar Park. Violent crime eventually peaked nationwide in America in 1993, but for residents of West Philly, the decline in crime that took place afterward wasn’t immediately obvious. In 1998, the first year the police department can provide accurate data, the roughly 9,500 residents of Cedar Park’s two census tracts reported 14 rapes, 62 robberies, 36 aggravated assaults and 116 burglaries. (By contrast as of late 2016, there were two rapes, 30 robberies, four aggravated assaults, and 18 burglaries.)

 

The University of Pennsylvania stirred to action over the murder of two graduate students: In 1994, Al-Moez Alimohamed died of gunshot wounds suffered in broad daylight during a robbery; then in 1996, Vladimir Sled died nearby of multiple stab wounds after attempting to defend his girlfriend from a mugging near Clark Park. These high-profile killings, and the general tide of crime and violence, coincided with the largest white exodus from the neighborhood since the 1960s (a 13.5 percent decline between 1990 and 2000). Many people left in those years, including some black residents like Anderson, who wrote an op-ed for the Philadelphia Daily News at the time explaining his family’s decision to leave their house at 47th and Hazel.


Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/03/11/cedar-park-gentrification-west-philadelphia/#H6lLJjUqwIkLpRPw.99

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Baltimore Avenue Transformation - & the irresistable appeal of high prices (for some sellers)'

 

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Gold Standard Cafe, during the Dollar Stroll

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Baltimore Avenue blossomed with coffee shops, restaurants and small businesses. Establishments that managed to cater to the older African-American population and the influx of white residents thrived, most of them Ethiopian-owned bars like Queen of Sheba, Dahlak and Gojo. Establishments with a majority-black clientele, like Abby’s Desert Lounge and the New Third World Lounge, faltered and went out of business.

 

Baltimore Avenue: Philadelphia Utopian Society

 

“From a citizenry point of view, it has been a joy to watch the neighborhood change,” says Allison. “It has been a joy to bring businesses into the community. At the same time, older neighbors are saying Baltimore Avenue isn’t for us anymore. It’s for the young people, although not just Caucasian people—young people.”

 

She believes that many older African-American residents enjoy the changes, especially the increased police presence. But they have chosen to leave for financial reasons. For those who don’t have family living with them, the old Victorian homes can be imposingly huge. As they age, it becomes more difficult to pay for repairs of the neighborhood’s hulking houses, along with the increased property taxes and imposing utility bills. The lure of the hugely increased property values is a factor as well. A home purchased for much less than $100,000 in the 1990s can now be easily sold for $200,000 at the very least. The lure of a hugely profitable sale is obvious.

==

> more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/03/11/cedar-park-gentrification-west-philadelphia/#H6lLJjUqwIkLpRPw.99

 

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The first floor of the residential building connected to the left side of Clarkville at 43rd and Baltimore would be converted into a restaurant under a proposal considered last night by the Spruce Hill Zoning Association (Photo from Google Street View)..

Brought by the owners of the Clarkville building (not the business itself), the proposal for 4303 Baltimore includes an 1,100-square-foot restaurant on the first floor and renovated, high-end apartments on the second and third floors. In the past, the building housed three apartments, but is in rough shape, said Tom Lussenhop of Best House Partners, the building owners since May.

 

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Caribbean Cuisine Week Returns To Philly, April 25-28
by uwishunu on April 24, 2017
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Deal Alert: Caribbean Cuisine Week Returns To Philly This Week
Save the date - and your appetite - for the 13th annual Philadelphia Caribbean Cuisine Week, returning April 25-28. Organized by the Young Caribbean Professional Network, this year's event features great eats and specials from restaurants all over the city, including Sabrina's Café (all five locations!), Cuba Libre, Kilamandjaro, Youma, Fine Palate (which is participating for the first time) and more.

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Pushback to Gentrification?

 

THERE’S BEEN PUSHBACK AGAINST THE CHANGES. Gentrification is the topic of many a heated discussion at the neighborhoods’ barrooms and house parties. Between 2013 and 2014, Cedar Park itself saw the highest year-over-year rent increase in the city, which occasioned much soul-searching. Just to the east, spray-paint-wielding vandals have twice struck the bougie eatery Clarkville, in Spruce Hill, writing “fuck you” and “gentri go home.” The pricey restaurant occupies a building previously occupied by a takeout beer and pizza joint that served as a base for mostly black old-timers to drink and watch sports in a well-lit space.

 

For her part, Allison wishes the old West Philadelphia High School, which will soon be converted into market-rate condos, could have been repurposed as a space for elderly residents of the neighborhood who no longer need a full-scale house.

 

The changing demographics are evident in the literal Cedar Park that she helped revitalize, but there are still a group of older people—mostly black, mostly men—who hang out at the eastern end of the park to drink and play cards. That’s a point of tension with some new arrivals, but Allison says she asked the men to move down there when the playground equipment was installed at the park’s western end.

“New neighbors are always fusing about the guys in the park, and my thing is that it was their park before it was your park,” says Allison. “It’s a public space, so either learn how to approach them or ignore them. Because they aren’t disrespectful. They just do their thing and they want you to leave them alone.”

==
> more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/03/11/cedar-park-gentrification-west-philadelphia/#H6lLJjUqwIkLpRPw.99

 

=

 

Anti-Gentrification Graffiti Pops Up in West Philly

 

The taggers hit Clarkville at 43rd and Baltimore, a neighborhood that’s transformed in the last 15 years.

By Jared Brey / May 27, 2016

image: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FotorCreated.jpg

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Photos courtesy of West Philly Local

A restaurant called Clarkville at 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philly was tagged early Thursday morning with an anonymous note: “Gentri Go Home.” (They misspelled “gentry,” but you get the idea.)

The restaurant’s owner, Brendan Hartranft, told West Philly Local that he wished the painters knew what the place was all about. On Friday, Hartranft’s wife and business partner, Leigh Maida, told Philly Mag that they try to make their restaurants accessible to everyone. “I’m not Stephen Starr,” Maida said. “I’m not The Man. I’m in debt.”

So, Maida said, it was a morale boost that Clarkville had a busy night last night after she personally spent time buffing paint off the walls. Neighbors apparently came out in droves with words of support.

“It’s sad to me that some people don’t get it, but it’s encouraging to know that a lot of people do,” Maida said.

Of course, it’s true that the neighborhood around 43rd and Baltimore is pretty well gentrified. Clarkville itself used to be Best House, a bastion of cheap forties and pizza for years. A Pew study released last week found that two nearby neighborhoods in West Philly had experienced gentrification in the last 15 years, and that’s using a pretty rigorous definition. It’s one of only a few areas that has gentrified in Philadelphia, according to Pew, while much more of the city is stuck in deep poverty.


Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/05/27/gentrification-graffiti-clarkeville/#wJcP8xfMSFpIoBmu.99

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Heroes of Neighborhood improvement are Black too

- but they may not want too call their efforts "gentrification"

 

Kudos for a One-Man Community Development Corporation

 

Ronald Brooks worked his way up, then turned around and helped others up behind him. He’s giving his “incubator” a makeover to keep pace with changing times in West Philly.

 

By Sandy Smith | April 13, 2017

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Chestnut Villa at 40th and Chestnut streets, the building that launched Brooks on his real estate career. | Photos: Sandy Smith

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For many years, the nicest building at the intersection of 40th and Chestnut streets in University City was the one with the sign reading “Chestnut Villa” on top of it. Neat and tidy, with crimson awnings over its storefront windows, it was a signal that at least one person cared about this sometimes-bedraggled crossroads on the fringe of the University of Pennsylvania campus.

 

The crimson awnings are still there, and it’s still neat as a pin. But redevelopment has caught up with it: across Chestnut from the Villa now rises a slick postmodern tower, the Brawer & Hauptman-designed Hub on Chestnut.

So Chestnut Villa’s owner, Ronald Brooks, has decided to renovate the building he has owned for the past 40 years to reflect the changed face of its surroundings. To mark the occasion, many of the other people whose lives and businesses he has helped fix up turned out to pay homage to him on Tuesday (April 11th) in a currently vacant storefront in his building.

 

Also showing up along with his friends and neighbors was Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell — “maiden name: Jannie L. Brooks” — who presented him with a citation from Philadelphia City Council.

image: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/04/Blackwell-reading-citation-940x540.jpeg

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Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (left) reading the City Council citation honoring Ronald Brooks (right)

 

The phrase is a cliché, but: It couldn’t have been given to a more deserving fella.

For as it turns out, Brooks cares for more than this building. Starting with this property he purchased some 40 years ago, he has become a one-man community development corporation, buying and improving other properties in West Philly, helping others get their businesses off the ground, and providing crucial financial assistance when banks wouldn’t.

image: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/04/Brooks-400x400.jpeg


Ronald Brooks formed his 40th Street Corporation in 1979 when he bought the Chestnut Villa building from its then-owner after renting space for his fabric shop there for 10 years. He had started that business from the trunk of his car, delivering fabrics to customers all over West Philly. At least one of his customers from those first years was on hand as well.

Since acquiring Chestnut Villa, Brooks has gone on to acquire several other commercial and residential properties in West Philadelphia. (He couldn’t give an exact count of how many, but it’s a non-trivial number.)

==
More: http://www.phillymag.com/business/2017/04/13/kudos-for-a-one-man-community-development-corporation/#og0ICcaA8vHC4YS6.99

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PHOTOS and Videos

Baltimore-Ave-Dollar-Stroll-Tonight-Pick

Foodie Heaven on Baltimore Ave., during the Dollar Stroll

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll

 

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Greenline Cafe on Baltimore Ave.

 

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Mood Cafe, at XX Baltimore Ave.

 

Baltimore Avenue businesses, a gallery : http://babawestphilly.org/gallery/

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Development & Repurposing along Baltimore Avenue

 

Here's an example of the write-ups that are done on changing neighborhoods on the OCF Realty site

(Cedar Ave., and Baltimore Ave., near 46th St.)

 

Mixed-Use Building Looking Finished on Baltimore Avenue

 

Tenants still filling in the first floor

February 21, 2017 : by "Mr. Fox"

The triangular lot at 4610 Cedar Ave., which happens to be the intersection with Baltimore Avenue, has been woefully underused for a really long time. A one-story building stood here which resembled a tiny McDonald's and housed a PFCU branch until 2010. Though a couple of businesses looked at leasing the building in the years since, nothing opened up. Given the heat on the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor, this setup didn't make much sense.

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In the past

In the summer of 2015, we told you that the building had been demolished and that plans were moving forward to build a mixed-use building here. At the time, we understood that plans called for eight apartments and ground-floor retail but we didn't have much more information. Also, a neighbor had appealed the project, which had gotten its permits by-right, so it wasn't a slam dunk that it was even going to happen. Checking in on the property now though, we can see that it has indeed moved forward, and it looks to be complete.

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Current view

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Not sure who's taking the third space

Somewhere along the line, the project chopped out one unit, so the finished product includes 7 apartments above 3 retail spaces. None of the stores are open as of yet, but we can see that one of the stores will be a nail salon and another will be an ice cream shop called Swirl Cafe. The last place is called Red Lotus, but we're not sure what that place will be- perhaps a restaurant? As we said before, the owner of the property is the family that owns Vietnam Cafe, Grill Fish Cafe, and Fu-Wah Mini Market (try the banh mi!), so another food use would certainly seem to make sense.

 

But the third store doesn't really matter to us. Whatever kind of place it is, we'd argue that this building is a great success as it represents a massive upgrade for the intersection. If anything, we'd have liked to see a four-story building instead. People who live nearby, do you appreciate this project? Or would you have preferred a different project at this address?

==

> OCF : http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/mixed-use-building-looking-finished-on-baltimore-avenue

 

February 24, 2017

As student housing projects have drifted into Southwest Philadelphia, we've seen additional development move further west on Baltimore Avenue. Take, for example, the large Greensgrow which opened last summer on the 5100 block. Or you could also consider the event space that opened on the south side of the 5000 block about a year ago.

Recently, another business joined the fray, as Booker's Restaurant opened its doors on the north side of the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue. Restaurateur Saba Tedla, owner of Aksum Cafe on the 4600 block, had been planning a restaurant called Babylon Bistro at 5021-23 Baltimore Ave. several years ago, but somehow the business morphed into Booker's along the way. Now it's a hundred seat bar-restaurant that also has live music. We'll properly check it out next time we're in the area during their business hours, but the menu looks pretty solid. And not for nothing, but the buildings are looking much better than they did a few years back.

Shows the spread of development past Baltimore Avenue

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COMING SOON ? ...:

Brand new building at 4224 Baltimore Avenue

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4224 Baltimore Avenue.

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Located at the corner of 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in the Spruce Hill area of West Philadelphia... another map (parking)

 

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View-Looking-West.jpg View-Looking-West

> See the link: www.4224baltimore.com

Unfortunately, the development was "still a pit", as of early 2017 :

4224 Baltimore Avenue site still a pit, 4 years later

What’s going on with this project? Feb 28, 2017 : http://philly.curbed.com/2017/2/28/14753432/4224-baltimore-avenue-development-philadelphia-status

“Our understanding in Spruce Hill is that the project is still on the drawing board and that the property owner is in the process of completing engineering studies and construction drawings.” - originally purchased for $3.5 million in 2008

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TAX changes from 2000 have encouraged new development

 

Tax Abatement Huge Shot in Arm for City, Study Finds

Sandy Smith |

April 10, 2017 | 2 Comments

 

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The 10-year tax abatement program has led to an explosion of new housing in the city, much of it at the lower end of the market, a BIA study finds. And when the abatements expire, the city’s balance sheet will be better off for it.

 

Consider the 10-year property tax abatements on new construction and rehabilitation a down payment on a future gusher in revenue for the city thanks to the huge jump in construction activity it has triggered, argues a study released in late March by the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.

The abatement, which freezes property taxes on improvements to commercial and residential property in the city for 10 years from completion, has completely reversed the trendlines for new construction activity in the city compared to its suburbs, states the BIA report, “Philadelphia’s 10-Year Property Tax Abatement” (PDF). Since its implementation in 2000, new home building in the city has increased by 376 percent, while in the suburbs, it has fallen 11.25 percent on average across the four collar counties.

That means a future flood of revenues into city coffers. Read more »


Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/category/new-projects/#6At6FCAzb7wlVzuj.99

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Will Rejuvenation Spread Beyond the 52nd "Philly's Main St." barrier?

 

FFhENg9.png

West Philly is gentrifying West, along the transport lines, for instance. But "Main St." at 52nd St. remains a barrier... PB

 

(Reader comment, received by email):

"As for West Philly South, Cedar Park is gentrifying very nicely and is quite expensive already,

but it's still hard to see the expansion far beyond 52nd or 53rd street. Perhaps in a few more years."

 

Yeah.

I want to record and monitor the Westerly spread (here on this thread) if and when it happens

 

MAP : w/o restaurants : Cedar Park attractions : Spruce Hill :

 

EQIfkPU.jpg

 

==> The above image has been added to the original post

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Improvements needed in Baltimore Avenue's "Blighted Zone" (near Baltimore & 50th-53rd St.)

 

52nd St is the busiest bus line in the district, and has often been called West Philly's "Main St."

 

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How it was: 5055 Baltimore Ave... pd / map : https://www.google.com.hk/maps/place/5055+Baltimore+Ave,+Philadelphia,+PA+19143,+USA/@39.9479779,-75.2273979,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c6c6c01a5d4dbf:0xe15cc633ae001c55!8m2!3d39.9479779!4d-75.2252092?hl=en

(As of Google's Nov. 2016 photos, these blighted building were still there.)

 

I first saw this area noted as a "blighted" when I read the 2035 Focus Areas Plan & Baltimore corridor redevelopment plan.

+ Re-certify for blighted conditions and update the Redevelopment Area Plans for the following redevelopment areas:

South 51st Street and Baltimore Avenue

=====

A nearby corner was improved in this way:

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Baltimore Crossing at 48th Street and Baltimore Ave

By reducing the amount of roadway pedestrians must cross, the project reduces the amount of time pedestrians are in the crosswalk and exposed to vehicles. The bumpouts cut the distance between the Gold Standard corner and the Calvary Center corner by roughly 41%, the distance across 48th Street by 42% and the distance across Florence Ave by 51%. The bumpouts are also intended to slow cars as they turn onto now narrower streets.

 

=

People need to see the bigger picture ... and through TRANSPORT (the trolley)

 

The new developments (and new jobs!) at 30th St station, will be connected to neighborhood developments in West Philly like this one:

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What was once at 51st and Baltimore

 

The 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Area Plan
... includes the area in Philadelphia bounded by Catharine Street on the north, the Septa Regional Rail right of way and Willows Avenue on the south, 50th Street on the east, and 53rd Street on the west. This area lies along the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor.

Nearby points of interest include: Cedar and Malcolm X Parks, Cobbs Creek Shopping Center, and the 52nd Street Commercial Corridor. This plan has been created to guide redevelopment and rehabilitation of a deteriorated section of Baltimore

Avenue between 50th and 53rd Streets and the primarily residential blocks that surround it. The major impetus for this plan is the adoption of the University Southwest District Plan by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission on June 11th 2013. In this district plan are several goals and objectives for the study area. The majority of implementable improvements focus on continuing the revitalization of Baltimore Avenue west past 50th Street, eliminating excess road space to provide a better pedestrian experience, and changes in zoning to reflect the current community’s needs and vision for its future.

 

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A planning staff survey of the neighborhood surrounding 51st and Baltimore Avenue reveals a legacy* industrial and residential neighborhood. While much of the area’s architecturally significant structures have deteriorated or been demolished, there still exist a number of architecturally significant homes, specifically near Cedar Park on the eastern boundary
. . .
Objectives
The overall goal of the 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Plan is to provide a framework for current and future redevelopment proposals. Clear planning policies for land use, zoning, and capital program investment will permit the full commercial and institutional development potential of the study area to be realized.

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The plan has three specific objectives:
- to eliminate the blighting influences of vacancy and undesirable land use along Baltimore Avenue and the surrounding residential blocks by encouraging reinvestment and redevelopment.
- to support the rezoning of legacy industrial and commercial parcels along Baltimore Avenue, and the surrounding blocks to uses better suited to the changing needs of the community.
- to improve the pedestrian experience along Baltimore Avenue by beautifying and enhancing the public realm.

=> above was first posted, as #89: http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index.php?showtopic=20036&page=5

 

One to watch :

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Empty Lot at 5123 Baltimore Ave., the property to the right was under renovation

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TRANSPORT matters, when it comes to house price appreciation

 

University City’s Neighborhood Premium

UCity.png

 

Report: Market-Frankford line’s impact on Philly home values

Does living near the El make housing values skyrocket?

by Melissa Romero

Apr 4, 2017,

Does living along the Market-Frankford subway line, known by riders as the El, contribute to skyrocketing housing values? If you live in Center City, University City, or Fishtown, the answer is a resounding yes. Elsewhere, however, it’s a little less clear.

That’s the consensus of a new report by Econsult Solutions, which took a look at home sales in Philly neighborhoods located along the El and compared them to the city’s numbers overall. The result: The Neighborhood Premium, or “how much more or less houses sell for in that neighborhood versus the city as a whole,” explained Jonathan Tannen, Ph.D., a director at Econsult Solutions.

Some background on the El: It runs from 69th Street Station in West Philly and essentially cuts right through Center City until it reaches Old City, then curves up North until the end of the line at the Frankford Transportation Center.

==

> http://philly.curbed.com/2017/4/4/15175752/philadelphia-public-transit-home-value-effect-ecoconsult

 

My opinion:

The University City premium is not only for the MFL, but also for the Trolley Lines (like #34 that goes up and down Baltimore Avenue, and connects commuters to the City Center

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Looks like I missed this development from last year - on the 5100 Block of Baltimore Avenue

 

One to watch :

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Empty Lot at 5123 Baltimore Ave., the property to the right was under renovation

 

Greensgrow West Moves Further West Tuesday, August 30, 2016

 

Mixed-use building planned on the 4900 block of Baltimore / Mr. Fox

We've been following the story of the Greensgrow Farms expansion into West Philly for over three years, and the latest chapter might be the most exciting one yet. Initially, Greensgrow planned to move to a long vacant lot at the corner of 51st & Baltimore, even holding a community meeting to discuss the possibility. That property fell through, and about two years ago Greensgrow West opened at 4912 Baltimore Ave., a vacant lot in the middle of a vibrant retail block. There had been a building here previously which was home to Elena's Soul restaurant, but it unfortunately burned down in 2012. Last year, we told you about plans for Greengrow to move to a larger space at 5123-39 Baltimore Ave., a vacant City-owned parcel. And earlier this month, they made their move to the new location.

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The new Greensgrow West, on the 5100 block of Baltimore Ave.

Sadly, they weren't open when we passed by earlier today so we couldn't get a first hand glimpse inside the new space. According to West Philly Local, the new location includes: an expanded garden center selection, a selection of local seasonal produce, CSA pickup, classroom / event space, a small office made out of shipping containers, and more. And there's a tiny house designed by Drexel Architecture coming in the next few months which should add even more personality to the place.

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Tiny House rendering

But perhaps you're wondering about the property at 4912 Baltimore Ave. which has been home to Greensgrow for the last two years? Developers bought that property earlier this year, paying $125K for the 2,500 sqft parcel. They're now looking to build a mixed-use building on the property, with ground-floor retail and five units above. That project goes to the ZBA this week, so we'll see what happens there.

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Former Greensgrow West

As for the new Greensgrow, they'll have their official grand opening celebration on September 8th, during the Dollar Stroll.

 

> another great article from Mr Fox, at OCF: http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/greensgrow-west-moves-further-west

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A family-friendly, pop-up beer garden on a decrepit West Philly block?

 

22 March 2017

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Longtime West Philly resident Jeff Lutzner pitches “Pentridge Station,” a playground/park/beer garden proposed for a vacant lot on the 5100 block of Pentridge Street (Photo by West Philly Local).

 

A longtime West Philly resident is gambling that people will want to travel down a troubled street that is lined with abandoned cars, empty buildings and a quasi-legal automotive shop that sometimes hosts raucous outdoor parties during which shots have been fired to visit his kid-friendly, pop-up beer garden.

It sounds risky, but several people who attended last night’s Cedar Park Neighbors zoning committee meeting to discuss the proposed seasonal beer garden in an abandoned lot on the 5100 block of Pentridge Street said they will support it. Jeff Lutzner, a longtime resident and block captain on the 4900 block of Cedar Avenue, owns the lot and hopes that the beer garden/playground might bring some much-needed attention to the block.

“We really want it to be a place where families could convene,” Lutzner told the 30 or so people gathered at the meeting.

 

“Pentridge Station” would run from June 23 to Sept. 16 on the fenced-in, 75-by-104-foot lot. According to renderings that Lutzner presented, the lot would include a cordoned-off area for beer (Dock Street would be a supplier, according to Lutzner). The rest of the lot includes lounging areas, a “painting wall” for kids and maybe even a sandbox or two, he said. Two porta potties would be onsite, and Lutzner said he is in negotiations with one or two food trucks to be onsite during open hours.

. . .

According to the proposal, the beer garden would be open Thursday through Sunday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and might include occasional live music (acoustic only), karaoke and stand-up comedy. All of those would wrap up by 10 p.m. Nonetheless, noise was a concern for many nearby residents at the meeting, as was security.

. . .

The proposal does not require zoning approval – just a permit.

==

> more: http://www.westphillylocal.com/2017/03/22/a-family-friendly-pop-up-beer-garden-on-a-decrepit-west-philly-block/

 

These comments show the sort of reaction these ideas get:

==============

  1. Y. Pantman Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 11:20 am

    "No beer garden please, i dont want this near my house."

    I couldnt attend the meeting but this is just not the spot for it. Please stop trying to gentrify west philly with ‘family friendly’ things that really just bring more white college students and white people with toddlers into our neighborhood and push housing prices even higher.

  2. Jason Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I can’t imagine that you are going to get much sympathy with a racist argument like that. Things change unfortunately. Housing prices go up which bring jobs, opportunities, and higher costs. I moved away from a place where I could no longer afford to live. Yeah, it sucks.. Why bother complaining about white people though when your supposed problem is with rich people?

  3. Y. Pantman Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    gentrification is not racist to talk about but sorry if youre offended though. but its true and if you think a beer garden with expensive beers isnt gentrification for certain kinds of people you must be kidding.

  4. Jocelyn Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    "If approved we hope to offer a price point for beers ranging from $3-$5". Similar to the one we have at Dahlak which allows us to have a very diverse group of patrons! Check out my follow up post on the Cedar Park Neighbors and West Willy’s Facebook groups, for a detailed breakdown of peoples concerns in last nights meeting. Y. Pantman, we really plan to be much more than a beer garden, look forward to your response after you have a bit more information.

Meantime, statistics like these show why some people are complaining:

 

Philadelphia Is Losing Affordable Housing at an Alarming Rate ...

Dec 29, 2016 - Philadelphia is experiencing rapid gentrification as college-educated home buyers start looking for affordable neighborhoods with eclectic ...

 

It is impossible to please everyone

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May 25, 2017

Between the 4200 and 4400 blocks of Chestnut Street in Spruce Hill, there are several active construction and/or redevelopment sites to be found. So last week, we took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to get a snapshot of what's going on. We didn't need to go much past 42nd Street to find the first project. The building at 4212 Chestnut St. is currently being demolished, work which should stretch over the next few weeks. It looks like this building was an office building of some kind, but soon it'll be gone.

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4212 Chestnut St. being torn down

We haven't heard what exactly is going on here and came up rather empty poking around online. The property was sold in 2014 for around $1.1M to an entity with the same mailing address as the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. It traded again a few months back, as a developer based out of Southampton bought it for $1.75M. As of now, there are no permits that indicate what will replace this old building, but student housing seems like a safe bet.

 

/ 2 /

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Final product

Moving right along, the southeast corner of 43rd & Chestnut has been a useless vacant parcel for at least a decade. From what we have found on construction permits and property records, it looks like the developer here is a very familiar face to the University City neighborhood, University Realty. University Realty is the same company that has developed large student housing properties on the 4000 block of Chestnut Street and at the corner of 46th and Walnut and we expect this property to look similar to these, with parking on the first floor and apartments above. For now though, the property is still in site preparation mode.

 

/ 3 /

The Netherlands Project

The final redevelopment project sits on the south side of the 4300 block of Chestnut. Last year, The Netherlands, a 6 building apartment complex, suffered a serious fire, and it appears to be vacant and slowly being brought back to life by contractors. Coincidentally, these buildings were acquired around the same time by ZanderCo Management who planned to do renovations anyway. The fire undoubtedly made the process all the harder, but we wish them success in repairing the damage and rehabbing the property. These buildings certainly contribute a great deal to what makes West Philadelphia such a beautiful section of the city.

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Current view of the Netherlands

Overall, we're glad to see this neighborhood getting some attention from developers taking advantage of the relatively dense zoning designations in the area. That said, it's a shame that the ground floors of newer buildings (unlike the Netherlands) are trending toward curb cuts for parking entrances. For whatever reason, some drivers treat Chestnut Street like a race track, and those new curb cuts aren't going to make things any safer. Hey, now that we think about it, how about some traffic calming measures on Chestnut Street in West Philly? And while we're at it, no more curb cuts for new construction either.

==

> OCF: http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/taking-a-stroll-on-chestnut-street-in-spruce-hill

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Gentrification thrust is Pushing West... Now set to cross the 52nd St barrier?

 

( Nope! It will be a large clothing store )
Farther west than we'd expect @ 52nd Street, north of Chestnut (1 block south of MFL, 52nd St station)
June 20, 2017

There's been a staggering amount of new construction in West Philadelphia over the last several years, as developers have gobbled up vacant land or underused properties and built new student housing. Near Baltimore Avenue, we've started to see this development move past 50th Street. Farther north though, we can't think of much new construction past 46th or 47th Street. That's why we were so surprised to hear from a reader that spotted some major renovation activity on 52nd Street, north of Chestnut. Our mind immediately went to student housing, because that's pretty much all we ever cover when we write about West Philly.

 

In the past, 20 S. 52nd St. was home to an Olympia Sports location on the first floor, while the upper floors were boarded up and made the building look generally lousy. Still, the building had some great bones, with a notable feature being an old sign at the top that dubbed it the 'Nixon Building.' We don't know for sure, but we have to think that the building got this name because the Nixon Theatre stood next door for many decades, until its demolition in the 1980s.

 

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In the past

If you visit the property today, you'll see that it's getting a major overhaul.

. . .

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Better view

Developers bought this building last year, and the $440K purchase price reflects greater investor interest in this corridor than we would have expected. But then again, with all the student housing development in the vicinity, we can understand why investors might try to get a foothold on 52nd Street before others start looking at it more closely. We were thinking that this project could signal a wave of new student housing projects on 52nd Street and thought about the possibility that the corridor could be in for some major changes.

==

> more: http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/west-philly/student-housing-coming-to-52nd-street

 

/ 2 /

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thanks to a reader tip, we visited 52nd Street earlier this week to investigate a potential student housing project in a building with some wonderful bones. It turns out the renovation wasn't aimed at creating residential units, but will instead result in a very large clothing store in a greatly improved building when all is said and done. As we were discussing that property, we mentioned that the Lincoln Theatre once stood next door, probably the reason it's known as the Lincoln Building. The Lincoln Theatre was demolished in the 1980s but we happened to notice a different old theatre very close by which has miraculously survived the ravages of time.

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View in 1926, from Cinema Treasures

The Locust Theatre, on the northwest corner of 52nd & Locust, opened in 1914, according to Cinema Treasures, and originally showed a mix of moving pictures and vaudeville shows. By the 1930s, they nixed the live entertainment, and moved to movies only. In the 1970s, when many cinemas were closing their doors, the building was purchased by the Bushfire Theatre Company. The mission of the theatre company is to offer "greater opportunities to African American professional and non-professional actors, playwrights, directors and other theatre personnel." As a fringe benefit, the company has maintained this amazing building for the last forty years.

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The Baltimore Ave. Stroll / stopped at 52nd St... right near a popular brunch place

==

Dollar%20Stroll%2014.jpg?itok=sMKjQ3VZ :

Conquer the stroll - Plan!

The Stroll was last week - June 15th

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==

> http://www.universitycity.org/baltimore-ave-dollar-stroll

 

But here's a recommended brunch place from the West end area the Stroll - 5021 Baltimore Ave;

 

Booker's Restaurant & Bar

The new Booker's doesn't have a ton of competition in the brunch category in Cedar Park, which might be why it went with the classics: a straightforward eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, buttermilk pancakes, a veggie omelet, and sides of grits and home fries.

 

GfMtJPL.jpg: Booker’s

 

5021 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143 : (215) 883-0960

website : http://www.bookersrestaurantandbar.com/

 

(from):

The Hottest Brunches in Philly Right Now, June 2017

On the hunt for the buzziest brunches

by Eater Staff Jun 6, 2017

Many of Philadelphia's best brunch spots are classics, with lines out the door every weekend.

And then there are the new additions to Philly's brunch scene, doing their best to make eggs, pancakes, and waffles stand out in the crowd.

Here are 16 of the most noteworthy new brunches to try. This month, we add bagels with a view at 24 and crab cakes at Pinefish.

The map points are are listed in chronological order (based on opening or introduction of brunch), with the newest additions at the top.

==

> https://philly.eater.com/maps/best-new-brunch-restaurants-philadelphia

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Revitalizing West Philly's "Main Street", 52nd St.

 

The Future Of 52nd Street, Seen From The Inside (March 2014)

 

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SEPTA’s reconstruction of the el at 52nd Street station | Photo: Stephen Ives

 

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Looking south, down 52nd St from Market St

 

In the heart of every city neighborhood and small town in America is a Main Street. Everyone’s back yard, picnic table, after-school hangout, Saturday mainstay. In West Philadelphia, just look down at the sidewalk medallions for confirmation: “52nd Street, West Philly’s Main Street.”

 

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Delancy St & 52nd St. : Walkscore: 94 "walker's paradise"; 77 "excellent transfer"; 90 "very bikeable"

 

For decades the mile-long strip of 52nd from just north of the Market-Frankford Line south to Baltimore Avenue has been the heart of business, culture, and soul in West Philadelphia. And though its status as such has changed little since the advent of The El, its complexion has. The forces that worked to changed the social landscape of the strip decades ago are once again knocking on the door with possibilities that current tenants and residents aren’t necessarily welcoming with open arms.

. . .

Young natives of West Philadelphia know a 52nd Street that has little difference from other commercial corridors in poorer parts of the city. There’s nothing particularly distinctive about the street beyond the volume of activity and the architectural quality of some of its buildings. There aren’t a tremendous amount of long time businesses still there, something generally indicative of the overall health of a commercial area. Having recently moved from another part of the city back to West Philly, just off of 52nd Street, I started getting reacquainted with it...

. . .

Of course any real discussion about neighborhood growth Philadelphia is always going to have elements of race and class—the G-word—and keenly so here. The ever expanding sphere of influence that the University of Pennsylvania has in West Philadelphia has been making westward progress for as far back as I’ve been paying attention. Six-figure housing prices and overnight building renovations on blocks that haven’t seen a sheet a drywall in years tell the tale. The residents of my own building, a racial mix that certainly would not have set foot here a decade ago, are leading indicators...

. . .

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Rue 52. 503 S 52nd St (closed?) cnr. Larchwood / Malcolm X Park; near Mercy Philadelphia hospital - was " Philadelphia's premier créperie and espresso bar"

 

Whatever the future holds for 52nd Street, its best destiny must be beautiful and collaborative. The daily hustle and bustle of an earlier world has transformed over the decades into a place to go through and not to. It remains a local hub but it has lost much of its distinctiveness. Regaining it is the key to its future and for that to happen requires a meeting in the middle—the old guard who have called the street and neighborhood home for years, and the new, essential breath of fresh air reviving formerly fallow and under-realized parts of the city.

. . .

The burgeoning potential could very well make 52nd Street sparkle again, and that’s surely nothing to fear.

==

> More: http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/03/the-future-of-52nd-street-from-the-inside/

March 20, 2014 | by Stephen Ives | Vantage | 52nd Street, commercial corridors, economic development, gentrification, West Philadelphia

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Buildings Then and Now: Unfinished business in the sky above 52nd Street

 

by Sandy Smith , Feb. 7th, 2015

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The Parke Building today. The building was supposed to have eight floors, but instead it rises only seven stories high, "about as high as a building oughta go."

By Mattie Stringer

Building on yesterday's story about the newest and tallest tower to grace West Philadelphia's skyline, perhaps it's time to go back to the area's roots— the first skyscraper to be built in West Philly: The Parke Building, still standing at 17-23 S. 52nd St.

 

After the completion of the Market Street El in 1907, commerce exploded along 52nd Street near Market and beyond, and the area eventually became known as “The Strip” for its lively stores, bustling restaurants and thriving nightlife. In 1910, the properties at 17-23 S. 52nd St., which consisted of four row homes converted into commercial establishments, were demolished to make way for an eight-story modern office tower and headquarters for the Parke Bank.

. . .

In the late 1920s, when Bankers Trust came into ownership of the property, it refitted the first and second floors, converted the upper apartments into office space and added the columns to the limestone and granite facade that graces the first two floors of the building. The rest of the building's skeleton is tiled with white terra cotta.

After World War II, though, the demographics shifted and the building fell into unimportance, much like the rest of 52nd Street would witness in the decades to come. In May 1965, the building was donated by philanthropist Sol Feinstone to the Reverend Leon H. Sullivan’s Opportunities Industrialization Center, which trained area residents. This lasted until 1983, when the building was purchased by an investment firm which, coincidentally, didn't invest anything and left it to rot for the whole decade. The only floor that was occupied was the first floor, where Provident National Bank had leased the space since the 1950s.

 

In 1991, the building was purchased for $459,000 and the first two floors renovated, largely for the bank. Provident National Bank soon became PNC, which still leases the first floor to this day. Though the whole building was supposed to be renovated, it never occurred, and the upper floors remain empty. For a building that witnessed a plethora of names, none seemed so exciting, yet as disappointing as what it's named now—the Renaissance Center.

. . .

It still towers over much of the area around 52nd Street, but that's about it. But with plans to revitalize commercial districts all over the city, perhaps this building will see new life yet. The red awnings that surrounded it and the rest of the commercial stores around the El were removed in December 2009, much to the chagrin to the street merchants who sold their wares—knockoff Michael Kors purses, boots, headphones, and more—under the awnings. They chained themselves to the faded canopy that had been built in the 1980s to give the street the appearance of a mall. But the canopies had long since served their purpose and the city was right to tear them down. They were not just ugly, they were dirty too.

 

With redevelopment spreading west from the universities, the area is ripe for revitalization, and this building is a prime location for an investor who wants to take a chance on 52nd Street and a building that really is “built like they used to build them” because it is 102 years old.

 

parke_building_looking_north_towards_52_

The view north on 52nd today, with the Parke Building on the right.

During the reconstruction of the El in the 2000s, over half the businesses left the area around the Parke Building and 52nd Street Station. But a 2006 Philadelphia City Planning Commission study found that $160 million in unmet demand residents have for goods and services is just waiting to be tapped into by businesses. Let's hope one of those businesses decides to return the Parke to its former glory—and maybe even roll back the clock and convert it back into a mixed-use space with residents filling the top floors.

==

> MORE: http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/buildings-then-and-now-unfinished-business-in-the-sky-above-52nd-street.html

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Buildings on 52nd Street

 

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Looking south from above Market Street

 

52nd_street_google_2011.jpg

 

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These colorful Buildings are on 52nd St, just south of Market St. Can you spot them in the 1st photo

 

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Map

==

 

> source: http://hiddencityphila.org/2012/04/the-skinny-and-everything-more-on-52nd-street/

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52nd & Cedar : Groceries & Food

 

Neighborhood Market, Cedar Supermarket, Justin’s Snackcorner

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April 25, 2012

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EXCERPT

There is a building (52nd & Cedar) that was once an old garage. The new owner is completely transforming the space into multiple business units. We are proud of the new enterprises, interest and reinvestment into the area.

TS: What plans are in the works for the future of 52nd Street?
SR: There is a plan underway through city, state, and federal support to upgrade and reinvest in older communities and neighborhood business corridors across the country. Over the next several years most if not all of the city’s commercial corridors should be revamped. It’s important to note that 52nd isn’t just the 4 or 5 blocks around Market Street near the El, but a 12 block corridor that spans Arch Street south to Baltimore Avenue.

 

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Kanwardip Singh | Photo: Theresa Stigale

 

Interview with Kanwardip Singh, Owner of the Neighborhood Market, 52nd & Cedar

TS: "Money", that’s a great nickname, how did you get that?
Kanwardip Singh: My sister started calling me that for some reason when she was about 2 1/2 years old and it stuck.

TS: Where are you from originally and when to you come to the U.S.?
KS: My family and I are from India, in Punjab, although I have also lived in Delhi for 10 years. I went to school at the Golden Temple in Punjab. I’ve been here in the US for two years. We had family here already.

TS: When did you open up the Neighborhood Market?
KS: We just opened up a few months ago, in January 2012.

TS: How did you decide on 52nd Street?
KS: We had a few other businesses in other parts of the city (East Allegheny Ave., South Philly) but we really liked this location, it’s a good neighborhood. So far we have only had a great experience, no trouble at all. We are part of the police logbook; when the shifts change, a police officer stops by to sign a police log, they check in and say hi and and ask us if everything is OK. The neighbors respect that–the fact that the police check in with us and all different types of businesses on 52nd Street to keep the neighborhood safe.

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Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: How did you decide to combine a dollar store concept with a grocery store?
KS: We cater to the neighborhood and what they need. The customers teach us so much, we are like their students. They give us good ideas on what to sell and then we stock it for them, so the inventory is geared right to their needs. If someone has a birthday party or baby shower, we have gift bags, toys, cards, and helium balloons. Even if they need a light bulb or a battery we have it. Everything they need so that they can stay here and buy right in their neighborhood.

[While talking to Money, a regular customer walks in and overhears that Money is being interviewed; he joins the conversation without hesitation]

Shopper: Yo this guy here’s got it locked down! They have the same items I can get on the street but if I see that here it cost a dollar and the same thing cost more, of course I’m gonna come here. Even if it’s the same price, I’m coming here because I KNOW it’s fresh, you know what I mean? I was born in ‘66 and people our age respect these guys; we need them and we’re glad they’re here. Thanks man!

 

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Adhanom Tesfamariam | Photo: Theresa Stigale

 

Interview with Adhanom Tesfamariam, owner of produce truck, 52nd & Cedar

TS: Where are you from?
Adhanom Tesfamariam: Ethiopia, but I came here to America in 2010. I used to work for a big company but now I do this and I love it.

TS: What is the origin of your name?
AT: Adhanom means “Abraham.” It’s a Christian name and my short name is Kahsu.

TS: I see a lot of different produce on your truck, plus some snacks, what are are your bestsellers?
AT: Bananas and oranges and white potatoes. We also sell a lot of bagged peanuts in the shell. If you want I can sell you one banana but most people ask for a dollar bag, so I can give you about 5 or 6 bananas for a dollar, depends on weight. Collard greens, a big bunch, very fresh for one dollar.

6988787221_898d92567e_b-660x436.jpg

Steve Powers Love Letter Project mural | Photo: Theresa Stigale

 

TS: Where do you buy your produce?
AT: We get it in South Philly (at the Food Distribution Center). I usually get there around 5:30AM and buy what I can then open up the truck by 9AM and we are here until 7PM, 365 days a year.

TS: That’s a really long day and a lot of hours, how do you manage to do all of that?
AT: Well, the customers depend on me and I have to be here for them. They know that I have the freshest produce around and they know that they can count on my being here for them. I even have electricity tied to the truck so I can have lights on at night in the winter when it gets dark.

TS: How do you get the same spot every day right here on the corner of 52nd & Cedar?
AT: I have a separate van that I drive to buy the produce and then I can keep the truck parked here. The customers know to look for me here in this spot so it all works out.

TS: What kinds of customers buy produce from you?
AT: It’s all people from the neighborhood right around here. I even put in an EBT machine so that I can take cards. My customers like what I sell and are friendly. They know that I only sell the freshest produce–it’s all good. Its a nice business.

 

6965849705_628191d803_b-436x660.jpg

Justin Song | Photo: Theresa Stigale

 

Interview with Justin Song, owner of Justin’s Snackcorner, 601 South 52nd Street

TS: Where did you grow up Justin?
Justin Song: We lived in Boston when I was younger, then moved to Olney when I was 11 years old. I went to local schools then graduated from Penn State and did a year of grad school at Temple for Bioelectrical Chemistry.

TS: So, how did you get into the restaurant business?
JS: Well that’ s a funny story! My parents owned a Korean restaurant in Delaware for 15 years, which was doing great. But at some point when the business slowed down, they decided to sell. With the new money, they decided to open another restaurant in Philly. I suggested that they try an American food restaurant and they said “why?” We don’t know anything about American food! At the time, I was working at Merck as a researcher and said let’s give it a try, I will help you out for a year and well…one year turned into eight!

TS: When did you move to 601 South 52nd Street?
JS: We moved here in April of 2004 so we have been here eight years already.

TS: How did you decide to open up right here on this corner?
JS: I considered some places downtown but the rents were too high. I had looked at other places in the area, even on busier corners with more foot traffic (like 52nd & Market and down on Baltimore Ave) but there was something about this particular corner that felt right. At that time, there was a paint store and an old supermarket across the street. I didn’t even know there there was the hospital a few blocks away (Mercy Catholic Medial Center/Misericordia ) or a that a new charter school (Boys Latin Charter School) was opening up.

TS: What is the busiest time of the day for you?
JS: In the morning from 7AM to 8AM we are busy with the students from the charter school. Then from 8AM to 2PM we get the hospital employees and visitors. From 2PM on to closing–that’s the time when I sell mostly cheese steaks and cheeseburgers.

TS: Who works here with you everyday?
JS: It’s me, my Mom and Dad, and George–just the four of us.

TS: What is your best seller?
JS: Pretty much everything on the menu! But I would say my French toast and pancakes–I like them a lot and so do my customers.

 

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Justin’s Snack Corner | Photo: Theresa Stigale

 

TS: How has 52nd Street changed since you opened?
JS: In the past eight years, I have seen tremendous growth in the 52nd street, particularly our corner at 52nd and Cedar. The number of people we serve per day has increased year after year. The unoccupied buildings are now opened with businesses, such as Cedar Supermarket and Neighborhood Supermarket, just to name a few.

===

> MORE: http://hiddencityphila.org/2012/04/the-skinny-and-everything-more-on-52nd-street/

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52nd Street corridor’s historic legacy, & the SJ Artwork angle

 

Seeds of Sovereignty’ Festival to celebrate 52nd Street Corridor, Black-owned and operated businesses

Posted on 23 June 2017

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Community members are invited to celebrate the 52nd Street corridor’s historic legacy and show their support of Black owned and operated businesses at the Marketplace “Seeds of Sovereignty” Festival. The festival will be held on Saturday, June 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., between Walnut and Spruce Streets and will feature vendors, a children’s village, performances, food, fashion shows, and workshops.

One of the goals of the festival, organized in collaboration with the African Cultural Art Forum (ACAF), Philadelphia Assembled Collaborative*, Philadelphia Association of CDC’s and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is to set the stage for collaborations that will promote a sovereign society and to engage sustainable economic development opportunities in West Philadelphia and around the world.

=== ===

 

*The political views of SJW's are not considered the most positive topic on this site, but I do not want to pretend that such ideas do not exist:

 

Philadelphia Assembled art collaborative to bring social justice art to city sites

The Philadelphia Museum of Art collaborative launches in late April and runs through December 2017

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Spearheaded by Dutch artist Jeanne Van Heeswijk, “Philadelphia Assembled” is a collaborative art exhibit that’s been about three years in the making. A team of artists, writers, builders, and activists have spent the past few years meeting with local businesses, communities, and residents of Philadelphia, listening to their stories and what issues they’re dealing with to come up with socially engaged art.

“This started three years ago with talking and listening to the city and various communities that make up Philadelphia, asking questions about how we survive,” said Van Heeswijk, who lives in Philly. “This journey led us to form working groups that collectively have been thinking about how to amplify the work of the many, many organizations that are making this more than just a city.”

The result is “Philadelphia Assembled,” a collection of various programs, events, and artwork that will take place around the city beginning late April and through July. It will culminate in an exhibition at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from September 10 through December 10, 2017.

==

> more: https://philly.curbed.com/2017/4/21/15384722/philadelphia-art-museum-public-art-philadelphia-assembled-exhibits

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WEST Lofts, 48th & Walnut... as the Westward march continues

 

"268 studio, 1, 2 and 3-BR apartments ... ranging from $995 to $2,430"

 

Old West Philly High School, now ‘West Lofts,’ to welcome first tenants next month

Posted on 23 June 2017

 

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While graffiti still covers the front of the old West Philadelphia High School building and it may seem like not much work has yet been done on converting the early 20th century building at 48th and Walnut into loft apartments (the project was first announced in 2012,) a part of the building, now called West Lofts, is ready to welcome its first tenants next month, according to reports.

 

The first 35 units have been leased for July 1 move-in, and more units are currently for lease for August and September move-ins, according to a report by Philly Curbed.

Upon completion, West Lofts will have 268 studio, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, many of them bi-level, ranging from $995 to $2,430. The building will also include a restored gym, a co-working space and a coffee shop, according to Philly Curbed.

 

IMG_7873.0.jpg The former West Philadelphia High School has been converted into an apartment building with loft units

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A model one-bedroom unit in West Lofts reveals soaring ceilings, tall windows, and refinished hardwood floors.

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The school’s old heating room will be turned into communal space. The original holes in the ceiling, used to heat the auditorium above, will be used for recessed lighting.

 

The school’s grand auditorium will be converted in coworking space and a coffee shop will both open up in the fall.

The building’s own management, the Galman Group, will run the coworking space, which will help keep the leasing costs low for future tenants.

 

If you want to see more photos from inside the building (they may surprise you!), go to Philly Curbed.

MAP

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Official website : http://www.westlofts.com/

Neighborhood : http://www.westlofts.com/neighborhood.html : Includes a restaurant list :

West Lofts is on the edge of Walnut Hill, adjacent to Garden Court and the Spruce Hill Neighborhoods - known for their extraordinary array of local establishments.

Overall, there are 25 bars and restaurants within walking distance of West Lofts (not one of which is a chain).

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June 6, 2017

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While a little over 50 porches were officially registered, many porches had unofficial performances. This year, 69 porches participated in the event, according to the organizers. There were at least five different musical genres, a change from last year’s mostly acoustic performances. There seemed to be more amplification this year, and costumes too. West Philly streets were filled with music and foot traffic. Fu-Wah sold out of bread after selling over 300 hoagies in one day.

 

While music fans adored the event, some West Philadelphians were unimpressed. Some criticisms included the lack of diversity and an upset over the volume of music.

Christy Morin, a current West Philly resident, who also performed this year said, “I used to live in Somerville, Mass and they also do a porchfest. This was first year we participated and it was a great time. My only regret is that I did not get to see many of the other performances. Also we contacted all of our neighbors ahead of time to let them know and had no complaints.”

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> More: http://www.westphillylocal.com/2017/06/06/bigger-and-better-west-philly-porchfest-has-quickly-become-a-thing/

 

Modular Synth UCAL west philly porchfest

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New Addition... and New Concept needed (on Baltimore: 41st, & 52nd)

 

Apartment building proposal for 4045 Baltimore Ave. parking lot back before Spruce Hill zoning for third time

Posted on 01 August 2017

 

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A revised proposal to build a 49-unit, 6-story apartment building on a parking lot at 4045 Baltimore Ave. will be considered at an upcoming Spruce Hill Community Association zoning meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 2. Officials from New Horizon Housing, which owns the lot, presented the previous proposal at the Spruce Hill zoning meeting on June 16, but it wasn’t approved by the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment. This Wednesday will be the third time the construction project will be presented to Spruce Hill residents.

Community members are invited to the meeting to learn more about the design alterations for the building.

“[There was] some trouble with the design [of the] entryway and elevator shaft prominence,” according to Spruce Hill Zoning Committee Chair Barry Grossbach. Also, the initial plan of having a commercial space in the building had to be reconsidered because the space is limited.

Wednesday’s zoning meeting will also consider an application for a commercial operation in a newly constructed residential building at 43rd and Sansom (123 S. 43rd St). The meeting will take place at the SHCA office at 257 S. 45th Street, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

==

> http://www.westphillylocal.com/2017/08/01/apartment-building-proposal-for-4045-baltimore-ave-parking-lot-back-before-spruce-hill-zoning-for-third-time/

 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The handsome building at the northeast corner of 41st & Baltimore was built in 1927, according to the University City Historical Society, designed and constructed by Samuel Silverman and originally known as Calvert Hall. The Historical Society goes on to describe the structure as an example of Renaissance Revival architecture, with "distinguishing features (that) include stone arched and pilastered entrance, cast stone lintels and sills, 6/1 sash, quoins, decorative pilasters and medallions, flat roof, decorated parapet." The writeup also mentions that a wing of the building was removed somewhere along the line. Aside from the missing wing, the building seems to have survived the last ninety years in pretty good shape.

 

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Existing building

Today, it's used as a student apartment building with 45 apartments, operated by New Horizons Housing. Looking at their website, we see a few units are currently available for rent, with 1 bedroom units listed for $1,030/mo and a 2 bedroom unit available for $1,800/mo. Those prices seem a little high to us, but then again the units seem pretty well maintained and you can't really beat the location if you're a Penn student.

 

 

"Apple Lofts" needs new concept - 52nd St., South of Baltimore

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Buyer sought for W. Philly site of proposed Apple Lofts development

 

Updated: April 26, 2016 | jadelman@phillynews.com

Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners is seeking a buyer for the site of the proposed Apple Lofts development on 52nd Street south of Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia.

The seven-story warehouse structure has permits for 112 units of residential development, according to Ken Wellar, a managing partner at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, who is marketing the property for Iron Stone, which owns the site.

The listing price for the approximately 115,000-square-foot project is $2 million, Wellar said.

==

> http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20160427_Buyer_sought_for_W__Philly_site_of_proposed_Apple_Lofts_development.html

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