Philly YIMBY’s recent site visit has revealed an apparently complete work halt at the site of the three-story mixed-use building proposed at 1319-23 Schuylkill Avenue in the Forgotten Bottom section of Grays Ferry in South Philadelphia, near the Schuylkill River waterfront. The structure is planned to rise from a 1,124-square-foot ground footprint and contain 3,275 square feet of interior space, with 1,050 square feet of commercial space in the basement through the first floor and 1,130 and 1,120 square feet per unit for the two residential dwellings on the floors above. The building will be fully sprinkled and will feature a roof deck, which, given the structure’s relatively prominent height, promises to offer sweeping views of the Center City and University City skylines. Permits list Emerald Properties of Phi. [sic] as the owner, Kevin J. O’Neill as the design professional, and Cormac McAller as the contractor. The cost of construction is specified at $425,000.
The exact extent of the development remains somewhat ambiguous. A construction permit issued in August 2020 covered the entire property at 1319-23 Schuylkill Avenue, which spans several rowhouse-sized lots, yet appeared to provide for the construction of just one rowhouse-sized structure. The latter appears consistent with the three-story mixed-use structure that is shown on a rendering YIMBY shared in March of last year. However, the rendering shows the structure as part of a six-building rowhouse development, with five three-story, three-unit multi-family dwelling making up the rest of the assemblage. The rendering is also consistent with a site plan that is still available online.
In either case, at the time of the last publication, we were excited by the prospect of proximate construction as suggested by an excavator and other equipment observed during out March site visit. However, our most recent site visit, which took place nearly a year ago, shows that the site remains effectively unchanged since the last time.
True to its historic name, Forgotten Bottom remains an isolated, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood in the western section of Grays Ferry, with several blocks of mostly rowhouse housing ringed by industry and parking lots to the north and west and a railroad trestle and the elevated Interstate 76 aka Schuylkill Expressway to the east and south. However, the compact neighborhood offers direct access to the nearby Grays Ferry Crescent Train Park along the waterfront, and has seen an increase in recent residential development despite its relatively remote location. As such, we hope to see further progress at 1319-23 Schuylkill Avenue.