Whether the homes they live in are old or new, Graduate Hospital residents around the block of 19th and Fitzwater Street disclosed the dishy details of their living situations.
“At first I wasn’t so sure but then I fell in love with the neighborhood,” said homeowner Gary Tucker, who has lived in a rowhome nestled in an alley off of Fitzwater Street for 17 years. “It’s only getting better with gentrification.”
Tucker bought his home for $57,000. Homes along the block currently sell for about $350,000.
The main thing Tucker noticed was the take-over of rowhomes. He said that thirty years ago, what are now his neighboring homes used to be stables for horses and spaces where churches used to be.
In regards to the condition of his home, Tucker only had to replace a sewage pipe once. He said it was so old that it looked like Swiss cheese.
Property owner and self-employed handy man Joe Bentl spoke about what he noticed within the past fifteen years of working along Fitzwater Street.
“There was trash everywhere,” he said. “The homes here that are over a 100-years old, had sinking floors when I bought them.”
Bentl said he put in many hours of labor to fix his properties. He talked about how he bought a few of the homes from an elderly woman. One of the homes was considered the best house in the neighborhood.
“This one right here had a full library and jacuzzi bathroom when I bought it,” said Bentl about a property on the 2000 block of Fitzwater Street.
Other homeowners and renters of older buildings mentioned minor leaks, squeaky and uneven floors and deterioration of the foundation.
“My home dates back to shortly after WWI, ” said renter Dana Rascon. “There’s a hill in my kitchen that I trip over every day.”
“The bricks sometimes fall out and my roof will leak but the landlord is always on top of things,” said renter Mitchell Rosenthal.
As for those who live in new properties, the complaints get aggressively angrier.
“The railing to my staircase came off a week ago,” said a resident names Bentley, who did not wish to disclose her last name. “There are dents in the walls from the cabinet doors that were made so easily and I know the lady next to me had a flooding issue. I could go on forever, ”
According to Brett Harman of Harman Deutsch Architecture, it’s often the builder’s fault.
“We have very little control of any quality of workmanship that the builder provides,” Harman said. “We design and provide contraction details but unfortunately they’re often ignored.”
Fitzwater Street resident Aaron Wolfson, who currently lives next to a construction site, described how the builders work.
“I see a mix of Irish immigrants and Spanish immigrants working together,” he said. “All they do is yell and fight because they cannot understand each other.”
Owner and operator of Accuracy Assured Home Inspections, Scott Gilligan, spoke about his experience when it comes to inspecting newly-built homes. He said builders are often more concerned about getting units up-and running as soon as possible rather than building quality units.
“There are six builders within the Graduate Hospital area, one of them gets major complaints,” Gilligan said, refusing to disclose the builder’s name. “Everything he does has been a problem.”
After reaching out to multiple builders in Philadelphia like Keating Group, Clemens Construction Co Inc and Community Builders, there was no response.
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Check out the Fitzwater Homes In Graduate Hospital Slideshow and get a glimpse of what living along Fitzwater St. in Graduate Hospital is like.