September 3, 2016 |
Krista Yutzy-Burkey remembers how her hands shook last year when she and her husband, Steve, signed the contract to buy a century-old public bathhouse at Front and Girard in Fishtown. With its dramatic arched entrance and soaring interior, the building was perfect for their new business, an arts-focused children's play space. The location, not so much. The bathhouse sits in the lee of the Market-Frankford El , the elevated train line that courses down the middle of Front Street, through the millennial precincts of Fishtown and Kensington on its way to the Frankford Transportation Center . Yet, even as the rowhouse blocks on either side began making a comeback in recent years, the murky, blighted strip under the El remained a notorious haven for drugs and crime - the last place a parent would want to push a stroller.
July 22, 2016 |
A national ranking service this year rated the Chesterbrook section of Chester County as the best suburban community in the country in which to buy a house. So, understandably, neighbors are upset about what has happened to a property on the Armstrong Court cul-de-sac. They believe the house has been vacant since at least 2012, although on occasion they have witnessed people they didn't know using the house at night. High grasses and weeds overtook the property on which the two-story home is situated.
September 6, 2015 |
THE DECAYING, vacant house on an otherwise nice residential block of Ryan Avenue near Leon Street haunted Joe DeFelice, chairman of the Mayfair Community Development Corporation, who lives and practices law in the neighborhood and serves as its hyper-vigilant watchdog. "The house sat boarded up for two years," DeFelice said. "There was a fire. There were squatters in there. The place was ransacked. It was disgusting. "My mom lives nearby," he said. "I work a block away. I live in the neighborhood.
August 11, 2015
IN URBAN AMERICA, vacant land and abandoned buildings offer a one-two punch to neighborhoods. They are both a symptom and a cause of decline. On a block where a few houses go empty, it sends a signal to potential buyers to be wary. That leads to more unsold houses, derelict properties that sometimes are torn down, tearing away at the fabric of a block. Pretty soon, the downward spiral accelerates. In Philadelphia, we're all too familiar with this cycle. We have an estimated 40,000 empty lots and vacant buildings, most of them in older, poorer neighborhoods that surround the city's core.
June 14, 2015 |
Jim Nichols came to the auction ready to spend. But his $6,000 limit - more than twice the advertised opening bid for the vacant lot at 2646 Ritter St. in Kensington - never stood a chance. "Wow," he said, his auction card wrapped tightly in his hand, where it would remain as a man in the front bid $10,000. "It's because they're building over that whole street. " The number swelled higher, then stopped - "Sold!" - at $25,000. Nichols hadn't seen that coming. And neither had the auction's organizer, City Councilman Mark Squilla, who had hoped Friday's modest sale of city-owned lots in his district would bring in $1 million.
March 22, 2015 |
Anuj Gupta and Brad Copeland are the backbone of Mt. Airy USA, one of the few nonprofit real estate developers focusing on distressed properties in East Mount Airy. They are pushing to include more residential units in its real estate portfolio, part of a "virtuous circle" that Gupta argues will revive the area. In June 2014, Mt. Airy USA rehabbed 59 E. Phil Ellena St., the first location it redeveloped using the state's Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act of 2008, which lets community development and other groups take over tax-delinquent, blighted or vacant properties, and rehab or demolish them.
February 10, 2015 |
Editor note: Chillin' Wit' is an occasional Monday feature of the Daily News that spotlights a name in the news away from the job. JOB ITZKOWITZ, Old City District executive director, likes to keep an eye on what's happening in "America's most historic square mile. " That's considerably easier to do when you're 6 feet 7 and jacked up on coffee from Cafe Ole. "I think I'm still finding alleys that I didn't know about," Itzkowitz, 36, says after digesting Sunday's New York Post , then setting out on foot to admire new construction and fret about cracked sidewalks.
January 22, 2015 |
With the crack of metal against wood, and a rumble that briefly shook the sidewalk, the ornate molding that pointed skyward from the roof of the Louis Street house disappeared Tuesday morning into the jaws of an excavator's bucket. Within an hour, most of the building was on the street in a pile of bricks and debris, soon to be hauled away. The long-vacant house at 1510 Louis in Camden's Whitman Park neighborhood, one of many that officials say have harbored crime over the years, was gone by Tuesday afternoon.
December 23, 2014 |
Like many stretches of Camden's notorious Whitman Park neighborhood, crime blooms around the 1500 block of Louis Street. With seven vacant houses in less than a tenth of a mile, the area has been the scene of at least two recent fatal shootings, and, since late 2012, police have seized more than 400 bags of marijuana, cocaine, crack, and heroin, thousands in cash, and six illegal guns within a one-block radius. A year ago, after neighbors told police they feared one empty house on the block had become a haven for illegal activity, officers raided the building and found a safe loaded with a shotgun and drug paraphernalia.
September 15, 2014 |
In less than 10 seconds, the 16-story Queen Lane Apartments public housing building was imploded Saturday morning in Germantown, to the delight of many residents and neighborhood advocates happy to see the relic from a bygone era fall. Long a symbol of blight and urban ills, the 1950s-era Philadelphia Housing Authority building fell after a series of precisely timed explosions buckled its bones and rendered it into dust. A huge, gray-brown cloud billowed from the site, scattering debris, family memories, and any ghosts that may have haunted the nearly 60-year-old building.