Sharswood- North Philly’s next district to revitalize

Sharswood is a small neighborhood located between Cecil B. Moore, 25th Street, Ridge, and College Ave. The district is named after Georges Sharswood, a Pennsylvania jurist. The district is comprsied of mostly 3-story large rowhouses built in the 1870s-1890s. Like much of North Philly, the district experienced significant disinvestment starting in the 1960s. Sharswood was hit especially badly and has lost nearly all its business districts along Cecil B. Moore and Ridge Ave. The neighborhood has only recently begun its long path to revitalization starting with quality historic renovations and a sprinkling of infill rowhouses. The Philly Housing Authority is also investing heavily with its new headquarters and a mixed-use development along Ridge Ave.

Hopefully Sharswood’ revitalization continues with a healthy amount of affordable housing mixed in. Its seems to be moving in that directly. More of a challenge than building new housing will be recreating the district’s historic business districts along Ridge Ave and Cecil B. Moore. But the neighborhood has a lot going for it with its close proximity to Center City (2.5 miles) and stable adjacent districts to the west and south (Brewerytown and Francisville to the west and south). 
Click here to view my Sharswood Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great public transit service and solid access to Central City.
* Solid racial and family diversity.
* Rental housing is certainly cheaper than most Philly neighborhoods but more than you expect with a district that still has a lot of blight and disinvestment. 1-bedrooms go in the lot-mid $1,000s. And 2-bedrooms in the mid-high $1,000s. 3 bedrooms around 2K. But this is nicely renovated apts. Plenty of affordable hsg in the neighborhood. The Housing Authority is currently constructing a new mixed-use development on Ridge Rd.
* For Sale prices are definitively on the upswing here, but still a good mix. Unrenovated 2&3 bedrooms selling in the high 100Ks and low 200s. Smaller but renovated homes selling in the 200ks-mid300Ks. Larger renovated or new build selling between mid 300Ks to about 500K. Few condo units.
* Good connectivity and decent neighborhood border but few landmark buildings or nodes to create a strong sense of imageability here.
* Mix of quality and bland modern infill. There is more and more quality contextual in-fill rowhouses popping up but also a large affordable housing development from the 1990s that is quite bland.
* Nothing special about the streetscape of Ridge and Cecil Moore but at least the sidewalks are in decent shape and new ADA curb cuts have been installed.
* Good density even though the district has largely emptied out from its historic peak population. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Most intersections have curb cuts but most do not have up to date ADA curbs.
* Bike access not great. The district does include a couple dedicated bike stations but no bike lanes.
* High poverty rate at 30% but still some economic diversity here.
* Tree cover isn’t that great here.
* Few parks within the district (other than a couple urban gardens and small plazas). A couple of nice recreational centers in nearby districts.
* Cultural amenities are limited as there are few restaurants, no bars or cafes. At least the district is within a mile of some descent biz district (Girard in Brewerytown and Broad St).
* Neighborhood services aren’t much better. But some services remain including a local pharmacy, plenty of mini marts/small grocerias, and a public library.
* Crime is certainly above average and plenty of blight here, even though some revitalization efforts are underway.
* A nice array of walkable schools within Sharwood but generally of poor quality.
* Urban form is good where buildings are still standing. Lots of vacant lots along Cecil Moore and Ridge, the historic biz districts.
* Sharswood is still considered a rough district but some buzz and new in-fill development started around 2019-2020. 

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