Bella Vista is Beautiful!
Why We Like It: Personally, Bella Vista is my favorite Center City neighborhood. The neighborhood simply has a little bit of everything: families taking advantage of the Meredith Elementary School catchment, young professionals that rent or have purchased their first home, hipsters, South St. freaks and some old school Italian flavor. There are great restaurants, tons of daily needs like Whole Foods at 10th St. and South St., classic row homes, hidden side streets that make you feel like you're in another country and easy access to Center City. You get close proximity to everything that Center City has to offer but the streets are calmer and more family friendly.
Why We Don't Like It: As I said, Bella Vista is my favorite neighborhood so I'm stretching for negatives. South St. pedestrian and vehicle traffic can be a nuisance at times. The immediate Italian Market area can be dirty for obvious reasons. Buyers with budgets below $350K can have difficulty finding their ideal home. The blocks between 11th St. and Broad St. leave a lot to be desired for some buyers.
Housing Stock: Technically once a part of South Philly, Bella Vista is considered by many to now be more a part of Center City. The neighborhood has mostly single-family homes but there are some small and mid-sized condo buildings as well. Almost all properties are in average to average-plus condition and dilapidated structures are rare. Some lots do exist but most are used by neighboring businesses for parking. The owners of these lots recognize their value and are in no hurry to sell them. Many owners own multiple properties with some homes being held by the same family for decades. Most of the single-family homes in Bella Vista are 3 stories. They range in size from small 6ooSF trinities, medium-sized expanded trinities around 1,200-1,500SF and large 3,000+SF gems with deep lots. Condition varies depending on the era of construction. Since the neighborhood is so desirable, rehabs are tough to find because investors can't find the right "buy" to make the numbers work.
Price Points: As noted above, not much below $350K for many buyers. Trinities and smaller homes with shallow lots that need updating can be found in the $200's. Options increase as you approach $500K with some of your best options falling in the $500K to $750K range. The Meredith Elementary catchment will also play a huge role in pricing. The boundary is irregular and all of Bella Vista certainly does now fall within it. Buyers will definitely pay a premium to fall safely within the catchment area. Like other parts of the city, homes with parking can fetch an additional $50K to $100K depending on the property.
Places of Interest: 9th St. Italian Market, Fleisher Art Memorial, Cianfrani Park, Palumbo Playground, Isaiah Zagar's Magic Gardens, Bardascino Park.
Food/Restaurants: The Saloon, Ralph's, Villa di Roma, Sabrina's, Dante & Luigi's, Cannuli's, Di Bruno Bros, Cochon, Little Fish, Whole Foods, Percy St. BBQ, Royal Tavern, Fitzwater Cafe, El Costeno, Plaza Garibaldi, Sarcone's, Bibou, John's Water Ice…the list goes on and on.
Schools: Meredith Elementary, Nebinger Elementary, Christopher Columbus Charter, Academy at Palumbo, Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts
The Bottom Line: Bella Vista offers a nice mix of everything: location, family-friendly, food, schools, history, art and did I mention food? Some do call it the brunch capital of Philly. It's simply a really nice place to own a home. Buying your first home or growing your family in a larger home, you can't go wrong living here. Having arguably one of the best public schools in the city in your backyard doesn't hurt either. If only it was a bit more affordable to the sub $500K buyer.