The N 2nd Street Ghetto's Gotta Go!
I sat double-parked in front of the Palm Tree Market on N 2nd Street in Northern Liberties as Chris popped into the store. The Palm Market is like its name suggests, an oasis in the desert for all of the locals until developer Bart Blatstein finds someone to replace the defunct Pathmark that was to open at the Piazza to the North of our neighborhood. You can read that post here.
As I waited for Chris to return, I looked around at South N 2nd Street. "What the hell is going on here?" I asked myself for the hundredth time as I looked at all of the ugly abandoned storefronts, graffiti-painted boards, and dilapidated buildings. I noticed a young couple pushing a stroller and pointing with disgust to a collapsing rooftop and broken window. I, too, was utterly sickened at the sight. This is my neighborhood and something has to give!
Last week I showed a few properties to a client on South N 2nd Street. The lure of Northern Liberties as a hotspot had him interested in buying a home there. He said, "Why would I buy an overpriced home on North 2nd when it looks so...GHETTO. What are the chances my investment will go up in the next few years? I am not willing to take that chance."
Guess where he is buying? Fishtown. "If Steven Starr likes Fishtown enough to open a beer garden, then so so do I."
Glen from the Foodery asked me to help him in his efforts along with the NLBOA to "fix the South Side of the neighborhood" by getting in touch with the owners of the abandoned buildings that line N 2nd Street from Fairmount to Poplar. Glen knows as well as I do that if these Slumlords (I mean homeowners) were willing, we could put people in their stores and transform the entire South Side on N 2nd St. Glen came to me because he thought I had some sort of Magic Real Estate Power to get in touch with the vacant property owners and persuade them to let us help beautify this part of Northern Liberties. I wish my Real Estate license came with a magic wand and a few potions. Because many people have tried to contact the property owners and for many reasons -- perhaps greed, lack of money, or indifference, these owners are not taking responsibility for their properties. Like magic, they seem to have vanished.
I am sick of it! So, I am calling them out by name.
- 736 N 2nd Street - David Jones (acquired the property for free in 1977 and took a line of credit out for 95K in 2003)
- 734 N 2nd Street - Souder Family Partnership (Let us help you beautify your facade!)
- 728-30 N 2nd Street - Luis George (acquired in 1985 for 65K. Rumor says you won't rent your space due to taxes?)
- 720 N 2nd Street aka "Sher's Book Store" - John Valentino (a bookstore would be an awesome addition to the neighborhood)
- 712 N 2nd Street - HPH 712 N 2nd St (Windex, dude! Use it. Clean up your 2400 sf of vacant commercial space)
- 710 N 2nd Street - Avi Developers LLC (Your permits date from 2008. You don't need a permit to paint your facade!)
- 708 N 2nd Street - Robert Krumm (Your "For Rent" sign looks crummy and it has been there for years! Use it or lose it!)
- 201 Green Street - (Huge commercial space. Many of us have spoken to the owner Woody in the past. Rent it, sell it, or if you need help, reach out to us. We have ideas and resources.)
Hate him or love him, it is irrelevant, because Bart Blatstein singlehandedly transformed the North Side of Northern Liberties. I don't want to hear any excuses that the economy is too tough when we have other thriving businesses such as Koo Zee Doo, 700 Club, Liberties, Five to One, the Palm, Flowers Etc., Architectural Antiques Exchange, Green Eggs Cafe, Koi, Liberty Tattoo, Exit Philadelphia Skateboards, Arcadia, the Foodery, Soy Cafe, and so on. NO EXCUSES. Glenn from the Foodery, Chris and I, the NLBOA and so many others know it is tough out there but nonetheless we know we can help cure the south side decay if only these property owners took an interest.
We want to know how you feel and what your suggestions are below. If you know any of these owners, we ask that you please direct them to this post.