The construction site at the corner of Willington and Berks Streets, one of many such sites in North Central Philadelphia near Temple University, is leaving nearby residents less than pleased.
William Harris, a Willington Street resident since 1994, said the lot on which the house is being built has been an issue for years. He said that before construction began that lot seemed to be abandoned.
“That thing was just filled with trash and glass and appliances. Some of the neighbors actually went down and put carpet over the uneven sidewalk so people wouldn’t trip and to make it look nicer,” Harris said. “I actually tried to buy the lot a number of years ago so it would actually be taken care of.”
The lot, however, was purchased by Temple Town Reality, one of the major off-campus property leasing agencies around Temple University. Though it has been in this firm’s possession for a number of years, it was only within the past few months that the agency began to act on plans to initiate construction.
Star Bocasan, a marketing manager for Temple Town, said the new building will consist of two apartments each with four bedrooms. She also said the agency works with its own in house contractor on all of its sites. Though Bocasan said that the Willington Street project should be finished by August, residents said they were not informed of a timeline.
“They did tell us it was happening but we have no idea when it is going to be done,” Maxine Dove, a resident of that block, said.
Residents added that although they are happy something is being done with the lot, this is not exactly what they had in mind.
“We talk about it a lot in our community meetings. It seems like a lot of other houses around here are really shooting up and this one just stays still,” Harris said. “They work during the week but then just leave all that wood laying around and it’s not even properly fenced off. We see kids going in there all the time. It’s not even just an eyesore anymore; we don’t anyone to get hurt.”
Despite the mixed reviews from neighbors, Temple Town Reality’s Bocasan said the firm believes it has a strong means of communication with the residents of Willington Street.
“We actually have a pretty good relationship with them,” Bocasan said. “We chose this location because of the other houses we have on the block. We have told them that if they ever have a problem they call whenever we are available.”