Powers Park Port Richmond Philadelphia
Powers Park is located in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. Brittany Salerno

A peaceful enclave of row houses and corner bars, Port Richmond is an unlikely hot spot. But something’s happening in this quiet quarter and people are starting to notice. In fact, real estate website Zillow named it one of Philadelphia’s top five housing markets this year.

 

Neighborhood native Ryan Straub, Broker/Owner of Neighborhood Real Estate, isn’t surprised. He says as long as he can remember, Port Richmond has been a blue-collar, family oriented community. For years, he sold homes to friends who had grown up in the neighborhood and now wanted to raise their families here. Recently, however, he’s noticed new people moving in, first-time buyers in their 20s and 30s. Priced out of nearby Fishtown, they’re looking north to Port Richmond.

 

When Straub began his career here in 2004, he recalls a three-bedroom, one-bath, 1,100 square-foot house selling for the then record breaking price of $89,900. Today, he says, that same home would sell for nearly $250,000. Still, with the median sale price for a three-bedroom, one-bath home a mere $165,000, bargains abound. “It’s a good neighborhood,” he remarks, “close to everything. It’s always had potential, but now it’s riding the wave of Fishtown’s success. Where else are you going to get a house for this price?”

 

The Port Richmond rental market provides great value too, with many one-bedroom apartments renting for under $800 a month. That’s good news for artists, who are not only discovering the neighborhood’s affordability, but also drawing on its industrial heritage – it was once home to shipyards and textile mills – as a source of inspiration. A reclaimed carpet mill, The LOOM, provides the creative community inexpensive loft and studio space.

 

Newcomers, though, are still in the minority. Like many residents, sixty-three year-old Maryann Trombetta has lived nearly her entire life on the same Port Richmond block – though she points out that some people no longer consider the thirty hundred block of Tulip Street truly within the neighborhood. There’s no question that the Frankford Creek and Delaware River constitute the northern and eastern borders of Port Richmond, and Lehigh Avenue bounds it to the south. But depending on who you ask, the western border could be either Aramingo or Frankford Avenue.

Trombetta, president of the neighborhood’s town watch, describes Port Richmond as a diverse mix of immigrant groups whose rich ethnic traditions and cuisines contribute to the area’s vibrancy. Large Polish, Irish, Italian and Lithuanian communities are each represented by their own churches, the two most prominent – St. Adalbert’s and Nativity BVM – standing sentinel on Allegheny Avenue.

An influx of new small businesses, such as River Wards Café and Bait & Switch, have recently joined neighborhood favorites like Port Richmond Books and Byrne’s Tavern (renowned for its wings). “Everything is very convenient,” says Trombetta, “especially for me, since I don’t drive. Here, you don’t have to get into your car all the time to get something to eat.”

Straub detects a renewed sense of civic pride. “People who used to want to leave are staying. They’re getting involved and contributing to making the neighborhood better.” Port Richmond has parks, playgrounds and a summer farmers market, and a greening initiative is underway.

For Trombetta, though, the biggest benefit to living in Port Richmond is the deep sense of community. “I love when I walk through my neighborhood and know my neighbors.” She refers to a nearby mural showing people sitting on their stoops greeting passersby. “That still happens in Port Richmond,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”

ON THE MARKET

For sale

3253 E. Thompson St.

$269,900

3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths

This sunlit home is newly renovated and features recessed lighting and brand new hardwood floors. The kitchen, with lustrous dark wood cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, is a chef’s delight. Off the kitchen, a spacious yard is an inviting space for a summer barbeque. The second floor provides three bedrooms and an elegantly tiled master bath. A new furnace and hot water heater, new pluming and central air help make this home move-in ready. An easy walk to neighborhood cafes, its convenient location is also within minutes of I95 and the Aramingo Avenue shopping corridor.[tab]

Contact: Ryan Straub, Neighborhood Real Estate (215) 600-4098, Ryan@NREphilly.com

For rent

3143 Edgemont St.

$1,500/month

3 beds 2 baths

Recently rehabbed, this beautiful home on a desirable block in the heart of Port Richmond features gorgeous original hardwood floors and historic architectural details throughout, such as a stained glass fanlight over the entranceway. Carved woodwork and exposed brick walls welcome visitors to the gracious living room. The kitchen – with stainless appliances and pendant art glass lighting – and baths, however, are all updated. The master bedroom features a spacious built-in wardrobe. The home has central air, a first floor laundry and a patio, perfect for entertaining.

Contact: Ryan Straub, Neighborhood Real Estate (215) 600-4098, Ryan@NREphilly.com

LOCAL HANGS

Tacconelli’s Pizza

Five generations of Tacconellis have made this pizzeria a neighborhood staple since 1946. More than that, the one-man, one-oven operation is a bona fide destination, recently named by Food & Wine magazine one of the “Best Pizza Places in the U.S.” To avoid disappointment, call ahead to order your dough and bring cash. You might also want to settle in, since each pie is made fresh and to order. Still, it’s worth the wait for a delicious slice of Port Richmond history.

2604 E. Somerset St. www.tacconellispizzeria.com

Gaul & Co. Malt House

The new kid on the block, this corner tap room fits comfortably into Port Richmond as if it had always been here. Its urban rustic interior is effortlessly inviting and the menu draws on the neighborhood’s ethnic (particularly Polish and Italian) heritage. You can get your fries topped with broccoli rabe, red peppers and cheese, or take a bite out of the "Wit or Witowski" with chipped kielbasa, described as a “Port Richmond take on a classic Philly cheesesteak.”

3133 Gaul St. www.gaulandco.com

WHAT IT COSTS

$165,000 median sale price for a 3 bedroom/1 bath home

$995 per month median rental price for a 2 bedroom/1 bath home

New in the Neighborhood:

With a recent infusion of $125,000 in State funding, The Greenway Plan for the North Delaware aims to transform the section of Philly’s industrial waterfront which runs through Port Richmond into 11 miles of multi-use trails and parks. Creating much-needed recreational access to the Delaware River, the trail – which stretches north from Pulaski Park – is the latest link in the City’s Circuit Trail system and the East Coast Greenway, which will ultimately connect Florida to Maine.