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]


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  2. The South Philly Food Co-op is officially beginning its real estate search and Sacred Heart School could be a great location for a mixed use grocery co-op/community/studio space building. There's plenty of parking and would add a walkable grocery option where there currently isn't one. Other than the Asian groceries which are a bit far at 5th & Washington, I mostly drive to Shop Rite since walking there is unpleasant / feels unsafe.

  3. @Mishmosh
    Thanks for the comment! You're right, South Philly Food Co-op could utilize this space well. 95 presents a problem for many neighborhoods in the city. Pennsport seems divided from all of the great resources past the highway. It feels "unsafe" because this divide makes for a hostile walk to Target/Shoprite due to the condition of the sidewalks/cross walks - especially to Shop Rite.

    Would you walk to Shop Rite if the road/walk ways in and around the Target (Swanson St) were in better condition and suitable for walking?

  4. Note that the dog run at the Park isn't there because there weren't enough people to clean it. Anyone who can get this group of volunteers together would be welcome, I'm sure!

  5. @tasker - duly noted. I commend the Friends of Dickinson Square Park for all they've done to make the park a true gem. It still remains a missed opportunity - one from which Pennsport would certainly benefit.

    Hopefully the neighborhood sees one somewhere down the line.