Posted on 9 Comments

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.

Posted on 29 Comments

Recovery House Challenge

I admit it.  I don’t get it.  Why does it take state legislation to regulate recovery houses in the city of Philadelphia?  Is there something in the constitution of the Commonwealth that prohibits a county or city from controlling this issue?

The Inquirer, for some reason today, decided to pay some attention to this issue.

Jorge Santana, a former chief of staff for State Rep. Tony Payton who volunteers for the lawmaker on special projects, walks by from Payton’s nearby Frankford office and shakes his head. “This is what we’re dealing with,” Santana says of the beat-up commercial corridor.

Along the 4300 block of Frankford Avenue, with its discount stores, fast-food joints, and vacancies, the building with the blue door is one of four recovery houses in a three-block stretch that also hosts an alcohol-treatment center.

“It’s hard to get businesses to open up here,” Santana says of the disinvestment along the avenue.

His aim is to help build community through economic empowerment. Part of the challenge lies in an entrenched market. In the last five years, Santana says, Frankford has become an epicenter for drug- and alcohol-recovery houses. On one block, a recovery house sits across from an Irish pub. On another, a recovery house sits paces from a well-trafficked drug corner.

You can read the rest of the story here.  Please comment and tell me why we have gone nowhere on this issue in the four years we have been blogging about it.

Posted on 5 Comments

Post Election Notes

The primary election on May 17th was a low turnout event as was expected.  Councilwoman Maria  Quiñones-Sánchez defeated Danny Savage for the Democratic party nomination for the 7th District City Council seat.  Congratulations to them both for a hard fought contest.

I was curious about who was supporting which candidate.  Sanchez raised over twice as much money as Savage did, so I took at look at the contribution reports.  Both candidates got  a lot of money from other politicians, businesses, unions, lawyers, PACs and such.  There were also many small donors in the hundred dollar range.

There was only one surprise and I found it on the Sanchez contribution list.  The 8th largest contributor gave $5,200 on April 4th.  This contributor, COSAN LLC is the owner of the property where the Bridge has proposed to relocate on Adams Avenue.


A zoning variance is required before that can happen since the property is now zoned G2 heavy industrial.  At present the Northwood and Juniata Civics have both indicated that they would write a letter of support to the zoning board for the change (past coverage here).  Tony Payton, State Representative has also indicated support.  Councilwoman Sanchez at last hearing said she was undecided.

Jason Dawkins Says:
April 14th, 2011 at 12:04 pm edit

Bob, Councilwoman Sánchez did not express any decision on the Bridge. She stated before that she was going wait until all community members voted, before making any public decision.

There is nothing wrong with giving to the candidates.  Many of the donors gave to both candidates, I guess to cover all the bases.  Many of the donors gave to other candidates for other offices in the election.  The donors make their donations for various reasons.  See the Inquirer story from Sunday about the donations from the soft drink folks.

Thanks to a commenter, I have another surprise.  I did not know Terrence McSherry but he is the CEO of NET (Northeast Treatment Centers).  He donated $100 to the Savage campaign and $100 to Sanchez.  Thanks Kathleen. If anybody finds anything else, let me know.

Elections cost a lot of money.  Money has to be raised and there is nothing inappropriate in taking any donation you can get.  That is a fact of life.  It’s politics.

You can see what the donations for Sanchez and Savage look like below.  If nothing else, it’s interesting.  Thanks to the Committee of Seventy for help in finding the information.

Sanchez donations here.

Savage donations here.



Posted on 9 Comments

Frankford Civic Association Meeting

I missed the Frankford Civic meeting last week but I knew both NEastPhilly and John Loftus of the Northeast Times would have it covered.  You can read both accounts linked above.  Sounds like it was a good meeting with an energetic exchange of opinions.  The issue is whether the Civic will support the application by the Bridge for a variance so they can move onto that property on Adams Avenue.

Northwood and Juniata Civics have both voted to support it.  Councilwoman Sanchez is undecided and Representative Payton is for it.  (thanks to Jason Dawkins for the correction.) The vote by the Frankford Civic will be at the meeting on May 5th.

The issue is the large number of rehab/recovery related businesses and services in Frankford.  My opinion is that there does not seem to be a plan for dealing with it.  If there was some confidence that this situation was under control, I doubt that the Bridge application would be in debate.  It is a fine program and everyone wants it to find a good home.



Posted on 7 Comments

Anybody Want to Open a New Halfway House in Frankford

This tip from Lisa came in yesterday afternoon.  There is a lot of property for sale in Frankford and I didn’t pay much attention till I saw the possible uses for the building.  Is this the best idea Unity Street.  You be the judge.  It’s been two years since the Town Hall meeting on this very subject but we still seem to be no closer to a legislative approach to controlling this problem.

Suggested Property
This property from has been forwarded to you from Lisa

Message from Lisa:

Check out this property I found on! Thought you would like to take note of thislisting. It is listed as IDEAL for a HALFWAY HOUSE.

Home for sale: 1363 Unity St., Philadelphia, PA 19124
Beds: 11 Baths: 6 Full, 4 Half
Single Family Home
Newly renovated, 11 single rooms, several baths and kitchens. Ideal as a rooming or halfway house. Currently rooms…

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