Condominiums Create Controversy on Thompson Street

As the development pressure from Northern Liberties and Fishtown expands, vacant parcels in South and East Kensington are being scooped up and redeveloped, often with interesting contemporary architecture with green design features. For some neighbors, however, these developments are a mixed blessing. As Alyssa Saylor and Sara Khan report for Philadelphia Neighborhoods/PlanPhilly, some residents see these projects as a sign that the neighborhood is becoming less affordable. Here’s their report from the corner of Hope and West Thompson streets:

The two units will cost $250,000 and $360,000. (Alyssa Saylor and Sara Khan, Philadelphia Neighborhoods)

Two energy-efficient duplex condominiums are under construction at 110 W. Thompson St. in South Kensington.

Postgreen Homes announced the project, Duplexcellence at 110, back in October as its first multi-unit building. The construction company specializes in design-savvy, sustainable homes.

The new condos are on the market for $250,000 or $360,000, Postgreen Homes Chief Financial Officer Courtney Ludeman said.

The high condo prices concern South Kensington resident Hope Rovelto.

“There are people here who don’t have high incomes and won’t be able to afford to live there,” Rovelto said.

Rovelto has seen many changes in South Kensington since she moved here seven years ago.

“The neighborhood used to be so cheap,” Rovelto said. “Five years ago, you could buy a house for under $100,000 and it was in good condition.”

Rovelto said she thinks a divide has occurred between the new properties and what caters to area residents.

“It’s all this high-end stuff coming in and I don’t think the demographic is still high-end out here,” Rovelto said.

“I don’t think they’re really listening to the demographic or the people.” She said the area’s many warehouses, serving as lofts, are the main draw for some artists.

“We do love the neighborhood and plan to continue to be invested in it,” Ludeman said in an email response.

Postgreen Homes currently has nine projects under construction in the Philadelphia area where six of the properties are already sold.

— Alyssa Saylor and Sara Kahn, Philadelphia Neighborhoods

This spring Alyssa Saylor and Sara Khan will bring Eyes on the Street and PlanPhilly dispatches from South Kensington as part of their work for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a publication of Temple’s Multimedia Reporting Lab. PlanPhilly is a Philadelphia Neighborhoods partner.

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