Today we are spotlighting the Point Breeze neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Point Breeze is generally bound by 25th St. to the west, Washington Ave. to the north, Broad St. to the east, and Mifflin St. to the south. However, a smaller section, between 18th St. to Broad is now considered Newbold. Point Breeze was a point on the western side of the Schuylkill River, about where the Passyunk Avenue bridge is today. That area, to the east and west of the river, was established for oil refinery in the 1860s by Atlantic Petroleum Storage Company. The Avenue that connected the city proper to Point Breeze existed by 1808, known as "Long Lane." It later grew to be known as Point Breeze Avenue by 1895.
Up to and through the 1960's Point Breeze was thought to be a clean and safe neighborhood, with a substantial business district. Over the last forty years or so Point Breeze suffered from abandonment and population decline, due to many different socio-political and socio-economic factors. Today it is undergoing rapid revitalization from efforts by many community groups, such as South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S. Inc., Neighbors in Action, Point Breeze Business Association, and Point Breeze Pioneers greening group.
Local businesses and restaurants are entering the neighborhood again. The Sardine Bar, at 18th and Federal St., was opened by the owners of South Philly Tap Room, a few years ago. Breezy's Cafe, at 1200 Point Breeze Ave., offers sandwiches and salads for "locavores". A bar, eatery and shop at 1252 S. 21st St., Madira Bar and Grill, gives locals a spot for laid back grub and live music on certain nights. What was once a huge lot at 1622 Point Breeze Ave is home to the Point Breeze Pop-up garden. The garden features art and farmers' markets, beer tastings, a hot-dog stand and other community activities. There will also be an arts center, in a new building at Point Breeze and Titan St.
Real estate developers have not missed this revitalization. Being that Point Breeze lays right below the "Graduate Hospital" or "South West Center CIty" area, it is a prime location for new development. Many abandoned properties and vacant lots have been transformed into beautiful 3-story townhouses with parking garages underneath. Other developers have simply rehabbed already existing brick row homes. The available housing stock in Point Breeze is growing, with new projects completed every week. There are currently 10 homes under construction on the 1400 block of S. Bouvier St.! Buyers are drawn to the area because it is more affordable. The same three bedroom house in Point Breeze will be priced almost double that in Graduate Hospital. The area is perfect for young couples who want to stay close to Center City, but cannot afford the prices of those areas, or even the close-by Passyunk Square. There are also a great deal of rental properties available that fall under the $1500/month rate, which is becoming hard to find in South Philly. Not to mention, Point Breeze offers great opportunities for a young, first time investor to purchase an income property. So if you are interested in buying or renting a home, head over to the west side of Broad, and check out how much Point Breeze has to offer.