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Harrowgate Neighborhood

Composing a small section of Philadelphia’s River Wards, Harowgate is an old, densely packed city neighborhood poised for a comeback.

While the neighborhood suffered from decades of deindustrialization and abandonment, the affordable housing prices and rents started attracting recent college graduates and young people about 10 years ago. Michael Cohen, a Philadelphia native and real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty, says the change paralleled a period of growth in nearby neighborhoods where new developments and businesses opened, bringing fashionable restaurants and shops to the area.

“It’s a good place to find a starter home if you want to get into homeownership. And I think it’s a great investment if you’re trying to start a portfolio of rental properties,” Cohen says. “It’s close to West Kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond. Harrowgate is sandwiched in there, so eventually it’ll get more developed and diverse.”

The view from a SEPTA train at the elevated Tioga station in the middle of the neighborhood allows commuters to survey the community from above. From there, you’ll see a grid of seemingly endless rooftops surrounding the central green square of tree-studded Harrowgate Park. Formerly the homes of people who worked in now-shuttered factories and mills around the neighborhood, most residential properties are red-and-brown brick rowhomes from the early 20th century that typically sell for between $80,000 to $200,000.

Harrowgate residents work together to keep a tight-knit community. At Webster Elementary, near the center of the neighborhood, parents a few years ago organized a “foot school bus” so that no student walks to school alone. Nursing students from nearby Temple University have also sought to help the community, organizing children’s yoga classes for students at a community center across from the school. Parents of small children can alternatively apply to send their kids to Deep Roots Charter School in the community.

Outside of school hours and during the summer, kids often gather near Tioga Station to swim or ice skate at the Scanlon Recreation Center, which includes ball fields, an indoor ice rink and a community pool. If things ever get too crowded, residents can swim or play at the Heitzman Recreation Center and Pool on the other end of the neighborhood.

While Harrowgate’s residents are close to numerous boutiques and exciting new restaurants in nearby neighborhoods, there are still a handful of local spots that residents frequently visit.

On Kensington Avenue, it’s hard to ignore the bright pink, blue and yellow exterior or the sweet smells coming from Pound Cake Heaven, a family-owned enterprise that prepares festive and carefully decorated cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings – or for any occasion or day, really. Commuters heading to work in the morning often stop into Caphe Roasters for a cup of coffee sourced from Vietnam inside a hip café with stylish wood furnishings and exposed brick and stone walls. Alternatively, those who aren’t in a rush in the morning can sit down for eggs and bacon at Sherry’s Restaurant, a cornerstone breakfast diner with a retro vibe.

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live in Philly or considering investing in rental properties, Harrowgate might be calling your name.