Walnut Hill neighborhood
As the screen name suggests, I live in Walnut Hill, the neighborhood that spans from 45th to 52nd, and Spruce to Market. I'm a relatively new resident, having lived in Philly for seven years and Walnut Hill for the last four. I'm starting this thread because I don't see too much discussion about the area on the forums here, other than about the new West Philly High.
In the time I've been here, there's been a lot of rehabbing going on, young professionals and first-time homebuyers moving into the area, improvements to parks and streets, strong involvement from the Enterprise CDC, and the growing presence of the Walnut Hill Community Association. In other words, the neighborhood has a lot of potential! I also like that there's a good mix of old and new residents here.
I'd love to hear from other residents who live in the area. I see folks over in the SWCC forum sharing a lot of information and supporting positive development and businesses in their area. It would be nice to start something up for our neighborhood on this forum.
Anyone else in the area?
Last edited by walnuthill; 02-23-2010 at 12:12 PM.
Here are a few recent photos of the neighborhood taken with my cell phone:
50th & Walnut, looking east
47th St looking North toward the Provident building
West Philly High
49th & Chancellor during the snow storm
My wife and I love that area and had a deposit on a condo there (beautiful old unit at Garden Court.) Unfortunately, we got scared away by potential assessments and opted out. While we're really happy in our CC location, we often visit the Walnut Hill neighborhood and lament our loss. I am so glad to hear that improvements continue there as it is one of Philly's gem neighborhoods. To the OP...luck you.
Spent a lot of time in that neighborhood because of friends. It's quite nice during the day, the areas around Market/Chestnut are blown out in places and scary at night, largely thanks to poor development (read junky auto centered usages) and lighting. If they could they could replace even just half of the approximately 400 gas stations and car washes in a four block radius of the Market/Chestnut/Walnut strip it would make a huge difference.
The southern half of the neighborhood is quite nice, save for the elephant-in-the-room of the Croydon building/Paradise City.
I still find it odd that the northern edge of the neighborhood is so under developed. It has such great transit access to CenterCity with the EL stop. Its ripe for some medium density development. I dream of the days that the car wash at 46th and Chestnut and all the gas stations are replaced by buildings of 6 stories and ground floor commercial.
Agreed, some areas north of Walnut could use a lot of attention. I think a lot of it has to do with the El stifling commerce on Market, and the fact that Chestnut/Walnut are used as thoroughfares for commuters from Delco. Other than the Stoneleigh apartments at 46th and Walnut and the Verona at 47th and Walnut, there's not much going on near the 46th St El stop.
Originally Posted by PaulG
That said, there are some surprisingly nice blocks on the north end of the neighborhood. The 4900 block of Sansom is quiet and lined with cherry trees, and the 5000 block of Ludlow has some lovely houses with original details. Blocks of Walnut and Chestnut from 45th to about 51st have gorgeous housing stock, as well, though not all of it is well-maintained.
The Croydon is supposed to be rehabbed into 1BR apartments. The owners started the zoning process in 2008, met with community leaders about a year ago, and I did see some activity there during the summer/fall last year. It seems to have slowed or stopped, though. Another big question mark is what will happen to the old West Philly high and the Spruce Street commercial strip.
As I said, Walnut Hill has a lot of potential. Once the housing market rebounds, I think first-time homebuyers who have been priced out of Cedar Park and the area around Malcolm X Park will see Walnut Hill as an affordable place to settle and still be in the University City area. I have high hopes for the area and I know long-time residents do, too.
As someone who lives near the Croydon, I haven't seen any activity there in years, other than some half-hearted construction work. The doors were open for a few weeks last summer with people working inside, but that seems to have stopped. I know Jannie Blackwell was not happy with what the developers had planned, nor were community members who wanted to see condos or senior housing, not 1BR units. I imagine the developer's plans got side-lined somehow.
Originally Posted by thoth
yeah well the "activity" in the building has been the kind of stuff that would side-line development.
'Round About Now: Guilty plea in murder of young hobo
Originally Posted by walnuthill
That happened 3 years ago, so I don't see why it would sideline development now. The meetings and such happened well after this event, and the property owners have had the building for years. If anything, I think Jannie sidelined it.
Originally Posted by thoth
I thought this might be of interest--while poking around on the Enterprise CDC website I found the Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan from 2007. I had no idea this even existed. It addresses a lot of the issues mentioned above. Some of the renderings of imagined rehabs/reuses are a little over-ambitious with a goal date of 2015--the rendering of 45th and Walnut is almost funny, considering the recent thread on the crappy concrete building going in there. Still, it's great to see that community members envision better use of many of the properties and commercial corridors mentioned in this thread.
I also found more information about the planned kitchen incubator at the old Shop-Rite on 48th St, aka the Center for Culinary Enterprises. I heard a bit about this when it was announced maybe a year ago, but nothing after that. It looks like we may have a place to buy fresh, locally grown produce right in the neighborhood someday:
I also learned more about the planned construction site on the SW corner of Market and Farragut, next to the 46th St El stop. It has been dubbed the "Plaza at Enterprise Heights" and will feature a 10,000sqft green roof, solar panels, urban "mini-farm" (I think it's the one mentioned on the CCE website), restaurants, ground-floor commercial space, and office space. Pretty cool!
The CCE will transform a long-vacant West Philadelphia grocery store building into a state-of-the-art 13,000+ square-foot complex, offering an array of resources and programming for emerging food entrepreneurs. Multiple components create a comprehensive vision: three shared-use commercial kitchens, a training restaurant for community youth, two retail spaces for local businesses, a multi-media learning center called the eKitchen, and a nearby urban farm. It will be a sustainable facility, LEED certified, growing much of its produce from community-based urban agriculture.
That block is currently drug-infested and 50% abandoned, so this would be huge for the area. It might bring the Provident building into play as a potential police headquarters or other city use, as has been discussed elsewhere on this forum.
Finally, the new West Philly HS construction is underway at 49th and Chestnut. It doesn't look impressive yet (especially not on such a dreary day), but there's lots of activity there daily:
These are all positive developments for the neighborhood. Progress may be slower than some residents would like, but hey, it's progress.
Good stuff, walnuthill.
Another interesting tid-bit about Walnut Hill is that it was home to Paul Robeson, the Black singer/actor/activist for the last 10 years of his life. He lived at 4949/51 Walnut Street and his home is an historic landmark.
The Enterprise Center CDC is here to help
It's great to see so much enthusiasm about Walnut Hill! The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation has been working in the community for a number of years now, and we are always glad to answer questions about our work in the neighborhood. Please visit our website and feel free to drop us a line anytime. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Greg! Thanks for all the Enterprise CDC does for the area. I'm enjoying my street tree that was planted last year courtesy of (I think) the Wachovia grant you guys obtained I see the street team out pretty often, too.
Any idea when construction will start on the Enterprise Heights development or the Culinary center? Those seem like key developments for the neighborhood.
Feel free to drop me a line and I'll give you the latest
email@example.com or 215-895-4075
Walnut Hill is fantastic--thanks for starting this thread!
It is really exciting to see so many Walnut Hill shout-outs on here. My name is Imanni and I work at The Enterprise Center CDC and live in the southwest corner of Walnut Hill. Please feel free to get in touch with me (215/895-4095 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have ideas for ways we can work together.
Related to the comments about West Philadelphia HS earlier in the thread, here is an article from today's Inquirer about the positive improvements at the school: Making progress, West. Phila. High wary of district move | Philadelphia Inquirer | 03/10/2010
In addition, be sure to check out the website of West's Auto Academy: West Philly Hybrid X Team
Thanks again for being involved in Walnut Hill!
Walnut Hill events calendar
We put together an events calendar for the Walnut Hill neighborhood every month. It is online at Walnut Hill Community Calendar, and is also on The Enterprise Center CDC's Facebook page (through our website at http://www.theenterprisecentercdc.org).
For this month, on April 10th we will have ten cleanup sites for the Philly Spring Cleanup. Our headquarters will be at 50th and Walnut Streets, next to Paul Robeson House. I hope you can join us!
I think phillysw is in Walnut Hill as I recall. Keep the posts coming, there are lots of lurkers who don't post.
Originally Posted by walnuthill
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO