Frankford Flophouses May Increase

This is from the ever vigilant tipster ob:

I am not sure if you saw this- more information on everyone’s favorite topic in Frankford.  These articles centered on recovery houses in Kensington, but mentioned Frankford is becoming more popular for flop houses due to the rising property values in Kensington.  My favorite quote is from L & I, who are willfully ignorant, as usual.

He refers to this article on Metropolis talking about flophouses in Kensington. The point in question:

Neighbors, who did not want to be quoted for fear of retribution from boarding house operators, complained that the houses were a constant source of problems. Many said they had complained to the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which enforces the city code for boarding houses, which are supposed to comply with stricter fire and safety codes because they house so many unrelated people.

The response has been anemic at best.  L&I housing inspector Clayton Salter, who said he was the “only housing inspector in [L&I’s] Central District,” which covers a large chunk of the area, said he “couldn’t think of too many boarding houses, maybe one,” that he had encountered.

However the money quote for me is:

Still, the rising fortunes of Fishtown and Northern Liberties are changing the dynamic in Kensington. As housing prices in the vicinity rise, the temptation is to sell and move on, even for the flophouse owners..

“With all this development pushing north, it puts a lot of pressure on us,” Vega says. “You’ve got these brand new houses around the corner…it’s become more profitable to sell off houses [in Fishtown], and sometimes that puts people back on the street.”

Many said that the flophouse trade was creeping farther north, into Harrowgate and Frankford, both neighborhoods with stagnant or declining property values.

  • Jim

    I always thought that would just push them up into Mayfair.

  • Lorraine

    Why Mayfair? Are the property values in Mayfair declining as they are in Frankford and Harrowgate?

  • Debbie

    Frankford needs more conservation districts in order to stop the insanity!!
    The civic has to engage this and work on it. The Historical Society is a great resource for this.

  • NW Resident

    Frankford is a target because of the larger houses. You get an extra 500 to 1000 Sq. Feet for the same price as a Mayfair row.

  • Jim

    I think that the houses in Frankford require too much upkeep to keep on that flop house tragectory. You buy a Frankford house and you probalby need to replace the heating system. Up in Oxford Circle, you buy a house that needs updating, you just don’t update it and move people in. Mayfair’s right next door and the homes in lower Mayfair are coming in pretty cheap.

  • Debbie

    It doesn’t help have all of those methadone clinics either. All on the business corridor. What is up with the Frankford Day Nursery building on Penn St.? Is that a flop house too? Next , the Y will be a methadone clinic. Jim you are right about Mayfair. Mostly rentals in my mom and dad’s area. Holmesburg is pretty bad , too.

  • NW Resident

    @Jim..I agree about the costly upkeep on a Frankford house; but the ‘landlords’ we’re discussing here don’t have their tenants comfort at the top of their priority list. The fact that L&I doesn’t have the people power to investigate and enforce at lightning speed, these slumlords have the upper hand. These landlords are only looking at how many they fit in a single box.

  • 16795324

    To NW resident – most landlords, even in places other than Frankford, don’t care about their tennants. Altruism doesn’t pay the bills.

    To everyone else – I agree with Debbie. We need to put a fresh slant on Frankford, like conservation districts and marketing the wonderfully affordable, historic, housing stock that is still here. The El was the downfall of Frankford but it can be used to bring Frankford back. If we can surround the El with positive areas then we can win. Public transit is key and people like to be able to get to work downtown on public. We need to convert the areas connecting Fishtown/Northern Liberties and Frankford. People have discovered the desirabilty of Fishtown and are starting to look North. We have to make what they see enticing. Affordability it key to the movement. If Mayfair is affordable to the methadone clinics’ patrons then we can move them out and Frankford will be affordable for a while for those looking for a decent place to live. Frankford has location, location, location – I-95, the Boulevard, the El, et cetera.
    We have to think about what to do to get Frankford moving again. I know there have been times when things looked brighter in the last 20 years, but we can’t give up trying. People in Fishtown and NL didn’t stop and it finally took off.
    But we have to stop with the methadone clinics and flophouses. The poor are always with us and no matter what you do you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

  • Lorraine

    16795324 stated: “The El was the downfall of Frankford but it can be used to bring Frankford back.”

    When the El was erected in Frankford, back in 1926 I believe, it was considered a wonderful achievement. The residents of Frankford, I’m told, celebrated the finished construction of the El. Do I think Frankford Avenue would look better without the El – yes I do. But the truth is Frankford did prosper under the El for many years.

    Unfortunately for the past 20 years Frankford has become a neighborhood that caters to the poor and the social misfits of society. Frankford has become a government dependent neighborhood – a non revenue producing neighborhood and a growning transient neighborhood. Can all this be changed around? Anything is possible and I’m hopeful this can happen. However I don’t see the leadership here in Frankford, yet, that would be necessary to make these changes.