South Philadelphia: The City’s Earliest Suburbs Become a Desired Destination

This is one of the many beautiful old houses in Queen Village.

Let’s face it, the area is great. It’s old and quaint and its historic charm seems to translate seamlessly with current expectations of modern living. For residents of Bella Vista and Queen Village, many of whom have been living in the area for decades, South Philadelphia is an ideal place to live and invest both time and money into.

Perhaps this trend toward home ownership stems from the fact that the individuals in South Philadelphia are financially able to address a mortgage. In fact, the annual unemployment rate for South Philadelphia is between 7.5 and 10 percent, compared to areas in North Philadelphia that are more than double that. Given this information, it absolutely makes more sense for the rate of property owners to be exponentially higher than that of property renters. Aside from financial stability of the individuals that live in the southeast Philadelphia area, there are many amenities that southeast Philadelphia offers which provides its residents  a good place to call southeast Philadelphia home. Between Queen Village and Bella Vista, there are hundreds of restaurants–both high-end and mom-and-pop type establishments–that provide food options for individuals in the area. Whether looking for a quick bite or something a bit more substantial, one is sure to find something that suites his or her taste with just the turn of a corner. Also, there are many options for food markets. Whether a health-conscious food connoisseur or just looking to fill the pantry, there is a market sure to cater to one’s needs.

Scott Newcomb and Victor Guy of Pennsport enjoy Jefferson Park.

Isaac Emmet of Fitler Square, said, “There are a lot of restaurants, shops and other things to do here. It’s really close to Center City so I think that is why it is such a desirable area.”

The Conte family of Pennsport thinks that the pride of home ownership is what keeps their neighborhood thriving.


In terms of schooling, there are handfuls of primary and secondary schools that are available. In fact, Meredith School, located at 725 S. 5th St.–just one of the many elementary school’s in the area–prides itself in having high scholastic scores that sit exponentially above the School District of Philadelphia’s average.

Aside from the availability of food establishments, markets and schools, Philadelphia is home to countless retail stores as well as parks, playgrounds, art galleries and more. The area really does incorporate everything needed in order for a thriving and vivacious community to exist, so it is no wonder that there is such a large community of long-time residents in the area. In fact, the area is so much up to par with quality standards of living that the only options for betterment have nothing to do with expansion or redevelopment but rather have everything to do with the betterment of not only the neighborhood, but the globe. Philadelphia is going green and the process is beginning in southeast.

This is one of the many beautiful old houses in Queen Village.

In 2010, the block of 1200 Wolf Street in Bella Vista won the RetroFIT Philly “Coolest Block” contest in which the entire north and south side of the block was chosen to get a full eco-friendly upgrade. The upgrade included an energy audit, which highlighted ways in which residents could save money and energy in their homes as well as an installation of energy-efficient insulation and also, the application of a green roof. Green roofs reduce energy consumption, provide natural habitats,  cleaner air and thusly, encourage a cleaner city.

The contest’s efforts only continue to contribute to the notion of Philadelphia becoming a green city and also highlight South Philadelphia as being a sort of microcosm within the green movement happening in the city. While Philadelphia itself was named one of the top 10 green roof cities in the U.S. in 2008, it is clear that the start of something big is happening in South Philadelphia.

Just last year, 777 Broad St,, a luxury apartment building in South Philadelphia opened its doors. The building, designed, erected and managed by Dranoff Properties, is a grandiose accomplishment within the green movement, as the building boasts dozens of energy-efficient properties as well as being Philadelphia’s first smoke-free apartment building.

The building at 777 Broad is redefining housing in the city. The attention to detail that was put into the creation of the property is impeccable. Aside from being a beautiful and comfortable place to live, 777 incorporates some of the most eco-friendly features currently possible. The building itself was made with locally sourced and recycled materials as well as natural wood and stone. The building also incorporates green and renewable electricity sources, as well as energy-saving light bulbs, installed throughout the entirety of the building.

Vendors sell live crabs on Oregon Avenue is Pennsport.

Housing in Philadelphia is changing. Moving forward into the future, southeast Philadelphia seems to be one of the first to delve into the world of green living and green housing. According to the draft of Greenworks Philadelphia–a plan put into place by The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to become the greenest city in the country by 2015–there has been a huge push towards going green. Perhaps what is going on in the city of Philadelphia, is a case of history in the making, only time will tell. What is clearly going on in South Philadelphia though, is definitely something big. It is something new and fresh and truly a step in the right direction in terms of setting the stage for housing and green living around the the rest of the city and around the globe.

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