7 Developments Coming To The Parkside Area

The picture on the right shows two separate images; on the left we have the mural of Philadelphia Stars, the all black baseball team that played in Parkside in the 1930’s. The mural has become a symbol to the Parkside Community. On the right is an artists rendering of a proposed new building in Parkside. The rendering was provided be German Yakubov and his company Havertown Square Properties. Mr. Yakubov is a seasoned developer who has many projects operating in the Parkside and Mantua sections of West Philadelphia. The picture sparks several controversies. If this building goes up it will block the iconic mural of the Philadelphia Stars, which has become a landmark for Parkside. The proposed building is also much taller than surrounding structures. To accommodate residents Yakubov has volunteered to recreate the mural across the street at the Philly Stars Baseball Memorial. This is a hot button issue that is still being decided now. This building is a five-story apartment building with planned retail space on the first floor. Several other ideas have been proposed and are being debated now.

by Michael Burch

As we come to the end of what has turned out to be a very turbulent year in Parkside, the city, and the entire country, the Parkside Journal continues our year-end tradition of surveying new developments coming to Parkside. In our opinion, Parkside is experiencing a building boom, a small one but a boom none the less. Look closely and you can see the slow movement of gentrification coming into the neighborhood. For our purposes here we do not consider gentrification a good or bad thing; we merely recognize its growing presence in Parkside.

Of course, this is nothing new in Philadelphia. This trend has been growing for some time in our sister neighborhoods. Mantua, University City, Point Breeze, and Northern Liberties, among other sections of Philadelphia, which have all struggled with the concept of gentrification and all that comes with it. Now Parkside is experiencing the introduction of new construction on vacant lots, rehabilitation of vacant homes and an influx of new residents coming into the neighborhood. This is sometimes called community reinvestment, Urban renewal or simply Gentrification.

Longtime residents of Parkside remember a time when the community was much more intact. Storefronts, cleaners, laundromats were all within walking distance of home. It’s no secret the neighborhood fell into a slow decline in the 1970s.

As I was growing up in Parkside, we would always hear that things were going to change in the neighborhood in a big way. We would hear that off and on for years, but you did not see any real tangible changes.

There can be no denying that Parkside is going through a transition and we hope our residents are prepared for the changes to come. We do have some help along those lines in the form of the Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation, under the direction of Dr. Chris Sphar. From that organization, I recently spoke with Joyce Smith who is the Chair of the Centennial Parkside CDC’s Community Development Committee; this committee consists of East Parkside residents and development professionals that are dedicated to advising the CDC on Affordable and equitable development in East Parkside.

The mission of the Parkside CDC is to “increase homeownership, protect renters rights, reduce area vacancy, and preserve housing affordability for residents at a range of income levels.” They also seek to promote the revitalization of a commercial corridor.

By no means is the Parkside CDC the only group in Parkside concerned with community development, for example, the Parkside Association in West Parkside, is a long-standing group headed by well known community advocate Lucinda Hudson. They have been working with city planners and overseeing projects in Parkside for many years now. There are several other prominent groups all charged with the care of the future of this neighborhood.

Our list of new development projects continues on page four.

                                     Above is a concept drawing of a new apartment building in East Parkside

To continue our trek through Parkside I am again looking at another of Yakubov’s projects. Over the years that he has been working in Parkside, Yakubuv has invested some 30 million dollars, on new construction and rehabbing existing homes. Right now he has seven or eight active projects going on in Parkside. Having toured some of his finished projects I’d have to say his company does quality work. The picture above is another rendering of what is to come next year, if all goes well. For people who know the area, this is the old body shop on Belmont avenue near the Inquiry Charter School. This is a large project, the building will have 21 residential rental units. In talking with Mr. Yakubov he made it clear that he has always loved the architecture of the old buildings in Parkside and he and his company seek to help the neighborhood grow.

In addition to the various mandates that the Centennial Parkside CDC works under, this year they purchased their first property in the community.

This is the new main office on 40th Street.

The CDC has only been in the office for a few months and the building has yet to be rehabbed. They also retain the use of their offices at Letitia House at 3979 West Girard Avenue. Currently they are using the building on 40th. street as a food distribution point for residents of Parkside. The new location is to be rehabbed in 2021; be on the lookout for their grand opening!

Rebuild Philadelphia – four sites selected in Parkside, Mantua & Fairmount Park – ReBuild is Mayor Kenney’s initiative to invest millions of dollars to improve neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across the city. Funding for these projects comes directly from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax (a.k.a. “Soda Tax). The city has begun work on some of the projects in our area, see our story on Miles Mack Playground. Below are Project Rebuild sites in our area:

Carousel House, 1701 Belmont Ave.
Parkside Evans Field, 5300 Parkside Ave.
West Mill Creek Playground, 5100 Parrish St.
Miles Mack Playground, 732 N. 36th St.

                                    Foundation erected for building construction at 4146 Parkside Ave.

The above picture is the building foundation for what we believe is a five or six story apartment building being worked on at 4146 Parkside Ave.

Unsure how many units this building will house. We shall continue to watch the development of this project. This project could be as large as 20 units.

              Rehab taking place at 3958 W. Girard Ave. The building used to be the
                                                                           home of the old Spiros restaurant.

Construction takes place at the old Spiros restaurant at the corner of 3900 Girard Ave. The plan for this build was to create a sit down restaurant with apartments above. That was the plan some time ago, unsure of what the latest details are concerning this project.

                                                        Building at the 4000 Girard Ave. going through a rehab.

The building pictured above was vacant for many years. Long time residents may remember this as the old drug store on the corner. The building is being rehabbed for apartments on the floors above a retail space on the first floor.

The above pictures show the stages in the rebirth of a building from the ground up. The transformation from vacant lot to working apartment building took about a year and hundreds of thousand dollars to complete. The property belongs to Eugene Naydovich, another active developer working in Parkside. He and Mr. Yabouv are sometimes

partners working on projects together. The building is built to mimic the Victorian style of the original building that once stood there. He’s done a beautiful job recreating the building and has already started on his next building project a block away.

These are by no means the only projects or developers working in East Parkside. These are just some of the more visible and transparent ones. Keep your eyes open as these projects continue to transform your neighborhood.

Published by The Parkside Journal