Friday, March 29, 2013

Former Podiatry Office to Become Apartments?

New apartments on the way?

If you live in the vicinity of 3rd and McKean Street, you've probably noticed this truck awkwardly parked on the sidewalk. That's because demo has begun on the inside of the building. One of the workers mentioned they are just "demoing" the place now and that it could become apartments.

It used to be home to a podiatry office and could certainly handle multiple units. There is a similar apartment building directly across McKean St. 

Side view on McKean

We will certainly keep you posted as more becomes of this project. In the meantime, if you have anything to add, hit us up in the comments, on twitter, or email.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's The Future of Swanson Street?

South Bowl as the southern anchor to Swanson St (via

The hits just keep on comin' for Swanson Street in South Philly. While we all know this crazy stretch of road for in uneven roads and confusing traffic patterns - it's primed to become the entertainment hub of South Philly.

A few years back, Naked Philly broke the news that a bowling alley/amusement facility would be coming to Oregon and Swanson. As you may have seen, it's going to be run by the friendly people of North Bowl and become the face of the new Swanson Street.

Music at The Arena - this looks oddly familiar (via)

This alone would be great news for South Philly. However, news today broke that a new music venue is being planned in place of The Arena, mere steps from the proposed "South Bowl" location. This project being led by the folks who run the legendary Troc.

A couple things off the bat. Both of these projects have major cred when it comes to who is planning them. North Bowl and The Trocadero have long standing reputations of putting out a fantastic and entertaining product. Rest assured, these projects will be well done.

Developments like these should lead to improvements to the surrounding area. Anyone who took a Saturday afternoon visit to Foreman Mills can attest that this area is incredibly difficult to navigate. These roads are uneven and all over the place. Pedestrians are almost non-existent because there simply isn't anywhere to walk without being in the road. With South Bowl as the southern anchor of Swanson St (Target being the northern),  I hope to see improved road and walkways at the very least.

What do make of the future of Swanson Street? Excited for the new entertainments options or skeptical of these new developments?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Christopher Columbus Charter Replacing Sacred Heart School

Sale Pending for Sacred Heart

As per Regina Media of the Daily News, Christopher Columbus Charter School is in negotiations to take over (and expand) the old Sacred Heart School site at Moyamensing and Reed.

This confirms a lot of neighborhood speculation that the site would become another school. There is a ton of development happening at this end of the neighborhood and the Christopher Columbus Charter School will only add to it.

Here is a pretty interesting quote from Rosemary Dougherty, chief executive of Christopher Columbus:

"We'll be adding to the school ," she said. "Exactly what our configuration is going to be, we have no idea. When we do know what we're doing, we will set up a meeting with parents and community members."

This news comes on the heels of the Hidden City story confirming that St. John the Evangelist has begun clearing out in preparation for demolition to make way for condos.

Here is what it looked like this weekend:

Soon to be condos?

a view from the side: yes, that's a shopping cart

We'll keep you posted on the announcement of any neighborhood meetings regarding each of these projects.

If you have any info, please hit us up on twitter (@pennsporter), in the comments, or email pennsporter (at) .

Saturday, March 23, 2013

UPDATE: 4th Street Looking Good

I wanted to shoot out a quick update on some projects happening on S. Fourth Street. If you've been following me on twitter (@pennsporter) since the beginning, you probably saw this tweet:

Well, here is what they look like just two weeks later.

Corner of 4th and Dickinson:

Front facing Fourth Street

Looking West up Dickinson
These are larger units but fit with the recent development in the area. Perfect spot for these puppies right next to Grindcore House Coffee and a stones throw from DSP.

Travel up north on Fourth St. a piece and you'll find this corner project on Gerritt St.

SE Corner of Fourth and Gerritt
First off, it's huge. It really stands out when you're driving by. Secondly, it's apparently going to be an amazing place.  

The site says construction is expected to be completed by 5/1/2013. It's 2,600 Sq. Ft with some actual character. Pretty sweet. Only real downside is its proximity to Mt. Sinai Hospital, but if that ever gets figured out and turned in to something amazing (one can hope, right?) this house will be reap those benefits.

I will be sad to see this amazing Google Street View pic head off in to the sunset once the Google van makes its rounds again. Dude is just chillin'.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WHYY Hosts #PassyunkProud Chat

As a precursor to this post - I would suggest that if you don't follow WHYY Urban Life Corespondent Elizabeth Fiedler or Newsworks on Twitter, please do so now. Both offer a tremendous and diverse look in to our great city.

Which brings us to the reason for this post - the #PassyunkProud chat. In short, it was great. It offered a inside look at our neighbors to the west directly from the people who live and work there. The people who make up the spirit of one of the staple neighborhoods not only in South Philly but Philadelphia as a whole.

Some key themes:

This was the overarching theme of the whole chat. While East Passyunk has seen a renaissance within the commercial corridor, that sense of neighborhood and community hasn't left. In fact, it seems to have only gotten stronger. How does that happen?

Well, it seems as though East Passyunk has gotten business engaged and invested in the neighborhood. As one local business put it:
That is enormous. Having businesses who care and look out for the neighborhood is not only great business practice, it works wonders for the 'hood as a whole. Pennsport is sorely lacking in this area.

We need to look to create opportunities for local business to invest and be active in the neighborhood. This could lead to less trash on the street and more over all publicity for this great section of the city. Don't think so? Look no further than this very chat.

This community also seems strengthened by nosey (at least at first and in a good way) neighbors. Yes, East Passyunk has people who have lived there for generations. On the flip side, it's also seen an influx of new homeowners and renters. How does a neighborhood that sees that much turnover keep it's sense of community? By caring about and getting to know your neighbors. Something as simple as shoveling off your neighbors sidewalk works wonders in this department.

Lastly, the community is engaged with the goings-on in the neighborhood. I urge you to be active in Pennsport, for Pennsport. Care about what goes one here and get involved in helping to shape the community for today as well as down the road. 

Business, but the right business:
Business turnover in this area from old world to new school has been incredible. From urban gardening to some of the best pubs in the city - East Passyunk offers anything you could need or want.

Here is one of the most fascinating quotes from the chat:

That is straight from the source. If you sit and think about it, Pennsport could have it all. Old school Two Street pubs like O'Jung's and The Shamrock mixed in with new school business like Federal Donuts and The Industry. However, we would also have the accesbility to big-boxers like Target, Ikea, and an honest-to-goodness movie theater. In this instance, I95 acts as a barrier that separates the cool, local spots that we all love from the huge parking lots and necessity of Target and Walmart - both easily accessible by foot, bike, car, and public transportation.

Clever commercial/residential planning along Front Street, Two Street, and Moyamensing Ave could bring Pennsport to the forefront of the next amazing Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Parking as an issue:
I have to chuckle as this. Pennsport kills most any neighborhood when it comes to parking. Yes, what we lack in a commercial corridor we more than make up for in parking. While people may have issues parking right next to their homes, especially northern Pennsport, being next to I95 offers more than ample space in you're in a pinch. Yes, it's dirty and needs better lighting, but you can't argue with it's convenience. Aside from New Year's Day, when have you ever parked outside your immediate area?

Hello darkness my old friend. This is a huge deal for me. I see it as an almost completely avoidable and fixable situation with an easy solution:


Take pride in your neighborhood and help out. If you see trash or illegal dumping, pick it up or call the authorities. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people straight up dump a bag of McDonald's in to the gutter. I won't get in to the number of glass bottles that litter Two Street on any given evening. It affects everyone and hardly anyone does anything about it.

If you see someone picking up some trash, take their hint and grab a piece yourself - maybe offers them some gratitude along the way as well.

I simply commend Newsworks, Elizabeth Fielder, and the active members of the East Passyunk community for this glimpse in to a great neighborhood. Hopefully soon, Pennsport can see such a renaissance.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Official: FedNuts to CBP

Put More Zeroes On The Board (via Mac&Cheese)

It's official - Two Street is coming to Citizen's Bank Park.

Federal Donuts will be slingin' your favorite donuts and fried chicken at all the home Phillies games this summer (and hopefully deep in to the fall.)

Phils fans will know exactly where to find them as it will replace the McNally's "Schmitter" stand in left field right under Harry the K's.

Here's the tweet:

I would imagine the line will be insanely long much like the Chickie's and Pete's Crabfries line. However, as many of you already know, waiting for FedNuts is actually worth it.

Here is the article from Philly [dot] com.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moyamensing Ave. Offers Interesting Opportunities

Sacred Heart School (via

Moyamensing Avenue - Pennsport's diagonal beauty. It's wide sidewalks, beautiful old trees, and Dickinson Square Park make it the Pennsport Parkway. It's glorious.

Over the past few years, we've seen some real progress to "The Avenue" with the opening of some great restaurants, beautification of Dickinson Square Park and new housing.

What's amazing is that there are some real opportunities on Moyamensing Ave. to help continue the progress we've seen. Let's take a look.

Sacred Heart School

One of the most interesting development projects is going to be whatever happens to Sacred Heart School. It's a ridiculously good location that is just begging to be condos of some sort.

Let's forget for a minute that this property shares the block with Herron "Sprayground", sits across the street from The Industry, and steps away from Federal Donuts. This building is beautiful, has a ton of parking, and in a prime location for Center City/highway commuters.

With all of the recent development in the immediate area (plus the project at 2nd/Reed and the Warehouse the burned down in December) it's only a matter of time before we starts hearing the whispers of the future of Sacred Heart School.

Outside the box use for this space: office building/units. It's a huge lot with plenty of parking near a major highway. Philadelphia has an emerging tech/craft scene that could easily take a shine to the buildings aesthetics and location - much like SEER Interactive did with this old church. 

"Moyamensing Estates"

Rendering of Moyamensing Estates (via

I don't mean to be snarky by putting "Moyamensing Estates" in quotes but there has been little to no movement on this site since the project was announced. That is of course, if you don't count the graffit'd up delivery truck parked in the middle of the vacant lot. Here is what the proposal looked like with some renderings - yeah, highly unlikely but needed nonetheless.

All snark aside, this is a huge opportunity for progress in the neighborhood for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it's a huge vacant lot that could easily house multiple dwellings much like those seen at Moyamensing and Wilder. The southern end of Pennsport is in desperate need of a makeover and this piece of land could kick start a renaissance.

The second reason this land is important is the location. Sitting on the southern end of Moyamensing, it's directly across Moore Street from the Pennsport Mall. Building new units will almost assuredly call for some sort of renovation to the Pennsport Mall - and it's needed. It's unwelcoming untrimmed bushes that lead in to an equally unwelcoming parking lot in to businesses that are extremely difficult to discern their purpose unless your at their front door. In my opinion, this mall is a positive for the neighborhood but offers very little in aesthetics and is hardly welcoming.With better planning, the vacant lot and the Pennsport Mall could become a beacon of progress for the entirety of Pennsport.

Out side the box use for this space: dog park. Pennsport is ripe for a dog park. While most think it should have gone in the plans for the renovation of Dickinson Square Park, it didn't make the cut. After spending some time at Schuylkill River Park recently, this space could easily house a similar dog park and would be a welcome addition to dog owners who have probably plucked more than a few shards of glass from their pup's paws.

Moyamensing at McKean

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Finally, we've made our way all the way down Moyamensing to McKean Street. This lot used to house an apartment complex until a fire in 2010. All that is left is a dirt lot that is now used as a makeshift parking lot.

It's a smaller lot for a major project but there is potential here nonetheless - due to it's location on Fourth, McKean, and Moyamensing. This could easily be another low to mid-rise mixed use apartment complex or used for row homes front on McKean Street with generous yards in the front or back.

Trash and debris is commonplace on this lot and a well planned project on this spot could transform this area by filling the vacant lot and fixing up the broken sidewalk. Buttercream Cupcake moved in to the old Nicholas space on Emily and Moyamensing. A mixed-use building could start to connect the south end business to the business on Snyder as well as create a nice book end with the growth we've seen on the north end of the neighborhood.

Outside the box use for this space: community garden. This is the type of space that could be an amazing start for a community garden project much similar to what we see up in Queen Village. It would take some work but would be the sort of progress that this neighborhood could really enjoy. Green space in this part of the neighborhood is sorely needed.

Remember, if you have any info on these or lots I may have missed, please share in the comments, on twitter (@pennsporter), or in an email pennsporter [at]

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Official: Abigail Vare School Is Closing

Save Our School

Sad news tonight - Abigail Vare Elementary is closing. While the School Reform Commission (SRC) chose to spare four of twenty-seven schools in an effort to lessen the financial burden on the Philadelphia School District, Abigail Vare didn't make the cut. 

It isn't the only local school on the list either. George Washington Elementary school at 5th and Federal will be shuttered as well. For Pennsport and the surrounding community, it's a tough pill to swallow. The worst part is that voting went from one-by-one closures to voting on large groups. That, and the fact that it was unanimous.

To say this vote wasn't popular is an understatement. Kristen Graham was on the scene and live-tweeting the event.

Elizabeth Fiedler will be live on Twitter at Vaux tomorrow morning talking about the closures. It should be interesting to see how the affected areas digest this information.

Was anyone at the meeting tonight? Give us an idea of what the atmosphere was like and what it meant for the neighborhood. If you have any pictures you would like to share, email me, pennsporter [at]

Also, please feel free to share your memories of Abigail Vare Elementary in the comments below. It will be interesting to see where the school district goes from here and what happens to these incredible neighborhood institutions.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

FOOD ROUNDUP: Lorenzo's Pizza Aims for April, Farewell Ugly American

So Long Garbage Plate via Foodspotting

Hot off the presses  - your favorite foldable pizza slice hopes to be back by April after a fire in late June of last year had closed down the shop. Fear not, the Philly Taco will be back in action sometime this Spring.

While Lorenzo's isn't in Pennsport - it comes on the heels of the news that John's Roast Pork will be serving their famous Roast Pork Sandwich (among other favorites, except their cheesesteak, boo) at Mick Daniels on 2nd and Snyder Ave. Look for them on March 17th.

Sadly, the good news doesn't extend to Ugly American on Front and Federal. The past weekend was its final weekend. Half full version - they're looking for a replacement. Sad to see UA go but excited to see what it will become. 

The Industry continues to impress. It's listed at one of the top ten places in Philly to eat Bone Marrow. If that isn't your thing - they have killer specials and a ridiculously good tap/bar list.
The Industry on Facebook 

If you have news on new food spots in Pennsport or the surrounding area - hit me up on twitter @Pennsporter or email

Monday, March 4, 2013

Vacant No More: Six Homes Coming to Two Street

You've probably noticed this enormous vacant lot at 2nd and Reed Street - caddy corner to Herron Park's Spray Ground and just a stone's throw from Federal Donuts. It's been empty for quite some time and if you've spent any amount of time on Two Street, you would recognize it.

Soak it in because it apparently it won't look this way much longer. I noticed this beauty the other night.

As per the zoning notice, there will be six units that comprise this large lot. Each unit will contain bay windows and a roof deck. Sweet news for future owners.

The good news here is that the lot will be occupied. I've been in the neighborhood for three years and it's simply sat empty with a chain link fence around it the entire time. A lot this size has a ton of potential - being that it's bound by Reed to the north, 2nd to the west and tiny Hancock Street to the east. It's good to finally see some progress and I'm excited to see the finished product.

My one reservation is that there is no mention of retail. I've come to realize this is pretty standard in Pennsport. However, this is a prime location caddy-corner to the Sprayground at Herron Park and directly across the street from the Shamrock Pub. It's also a few steps from the Riverview to the east and The Industry to the west.

I've always wondered what used to be in the lot. As I was snapping the pictures, I noticed a woman was looking at the zoning notice. She was glad that something was finally coming to this lot and mentioned that it used to be the home of a glass factory that burned down a few years ago (I haven't found any information to back that up, sadly).

However, I did find some cool photos from that sheds some light on the lot.
Apparently, it was the site of the Weccacoe School. The picture dates back to 1935. Here is a link from the Free Library for some more background on the school.

If anyone has any info on the glass factory or maybe even some renderings of what these homes may end up looking like, hit me up in the comments, @Pennsporter on twitter, or

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Welcome to Pennsporter!

This blog is dedicated to showcasing the goings on within Pennsport and the surrounding areas, as well as touching on topics throughout the wonderful City of Philadelphia.

The aim is to showoff this great neighborhood through the eyes of the people who live here. 

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