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What's Happening in:  Pennsport 

Development at 7th and McKean give some hope to no-man’s land

There is an interesting pocket of South Philly nestled between Pennsport and East Passyunk Crossing. Visit Philly may call it Pennsport, but actually, it’s more of a “no man’s land” when it comes to civic affiliation, as well as residential and commercial development.

That could soon be changing, at least on the development end of things. A new renovation project is taking shape on the corner of 7th and McKean streets.

From the looks of city records, this place is going to be split into multiple apartments from the basement on up. The new first floor brick facade and yellow windows give this corner a clean and attention-grabbing bookend that will hopefully spur development, be it residential or commercial, in the surrounding area.

Much better than the busted “before.”

7th and mckean before

The numerous abandoned lots and houses on McKean Street alone makes you think that there is the potential to develop a linking corridor from Pennsport all the way up to Passyunk Avenue.

One thing is for sure, it’s a welcome sight to the neighborhood and could be a sign that things are starting to turn around.

Here’s one issue with this project, though. It’s not clear on city records how many apartments are getting crammed into the building. Permits for 1939 S. 7th St. say they plan to install six full bathrooms into the building’s 4,200 square feet.

And there’s no civic association that covers the area — Pennsport stops at 4th Street, EPX at 8th and Dickinson Square West only goes as far as Mifflin. So there’s no one to make sure that development doesn’t go all will-nilly around there.

A version of this post, which was done in collaboration with Jim Jennings, appeared on our partner site Pennsporter.

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8 Responses to Development at 7th and McKean give some hope to no-man’s land

  1. luchobucho April 26, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    Thats seems like a lot of apartments, but 2 per floor could work just looking at the pictures. That said, I doubt that many apartments is legal in that zoning classification, I’m assuming its CMX-1.

  2. David G April 26, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    They only got a variance for a two family dwelling, so the number of bathrooms is concerning.

  3. Philly Ray April 26, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I have seen similar corner buildings near me where if there are two windows on the second floor, one will have light coming out of it and the other is dark. That usually means that the room was cut in half to make two separate rooms (apartments?). Could be the case here as well.

  4. rmd April 26, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Any thoughts or ideas or leads on what they might do with that big abandoned hospital at 4th & Reed? Not totally related, but still part of that forgotten area…

  5. Vieux pays April 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    How blessed we are that civic associations exist to prevent development from going willy-nilly.
    What would we do without the wise hands of local community members to guide us.
    What this project really needs is 14 provisos just like the project in the preceding article, including proper window sill design to prevent bird poop.

    • David Goldfarb April 29, 2013 at 10:03 am #

      @Vieux: I think your complaint is with the zoning code, not with civic associations. I agree a lot of those provisos seemed silly, but if you think that developers should be able to build multi-family houses wherever they want without any restrictions, you’re placing blame in the wrong place.

  6. Jeff May 2, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    There’s new construction at 6th and McKean too. As well as a new-ish one at 6th and Fernon. I think I’ve seen a couple other building rise up in this “no-man’s land” in the past year or two, so I think things are starting to turn around. It would be nice if Dickinson Square West extended their boundaries down to Snyder and EPX extended over to 6th so that this tiny pocket could be represented.

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