As far as Philadelphia neighborhoods go, the collection of neighborhoods that comprise Center City are pretty well-developed, with very scant vacant lots. However, there is a glaring exception to this mere blocks from hip Old City and the Delaware River waterfront.
In fact, there is a lot filled with tires, overgrown weeds, and decades-old soda bottles at 412 N. Front St. in the Callowhill neighborhood. To many observers, the real estate sign that protrudes from the weeds looks like just another piece of trash, especially since it's laced with graffiti.
However, a comprehensive check of the property reveals that it really is for sale, albeit under ambiguous circumstances. The sign lists a company called The Local Real Estate Company, with a phone number and website. Intriguingly, the website does not exist, but a search of the phone number reveals a company called BIU Properties.
Sure enough, the vacant lot is listed on BIU’s website, although the agency is way ahead of itself in its description. BIU does give some information about the land’s zoning. “The land [is] fully approved for a 33-story building with 237 residential units, 366 parking spaces, and ground level commercial space,” said BIU Properties.
Interestingly enough, BIU’s description does include a picture, but it certainly does not show the lot. Instead, it shows a skyscraper that is decades away from reality. This must be the 33-story building that the lot is zoned for. Unfortunately, the only things being built right now are piles of old, shredded tires, and there is no sign of any change. All this in the shadows of Old City and Penn’s Landing.
By Andy Sharpe and Taara Savage-El
Team 19- Plan Philly