Boundaries: Alter (near Washington Avenue) to McKean streets, Broad to 27th streets
Demographics: Black, 78 percent; white, 8 percent; Asian, 11 percent; Latino, 2 percent; other, 1 percent. About 30 percent of the population is under 18.
Origin of name: The earliest references to Point Breeze date to 1895.
Brief history: Prior to World War II, Point Breeze was tidy and well-maintained. Its thriving business district -- Point Breeze Avenue -- was filled with restaurants and stores. But over the years, the businesses suffered from neglect, setting the tone for the entire neighborhood. Drugs, blight and crime crept in, seemingly for good.
The area took more hits as its population dropped. Point Breeze lost 10 percent of its residents between 1990 and 2000. Lacking in enrollment, St. Charles Borromeo School, 2019 Montrose St., closed last year, leaving the neighborhood without a Catholic school.
Point Breeze has not been without its believers, however. The Point Breeze Performing Arts Center opened at 1717-21 Point Breeze Ave. 20 years ago and has professionally trained scores of dancers.
Universal Companies, based at 15th and Catharine streets, took on the mission of revitalizing South Philly's blighted areas in the mid-'90s. Portions of Point Breeze will be aided by Universal founder Kenny Gamble's $100-million plan to build and renovate 400 homes between South and Federal streets west of Broad to 19th. The nonprofit company envisions eventually constructing about 2,000 homes in the area surrounding its headquarters.
Universal is also in the education business, running William S. Peirce Middle School, 24th and Christian streets, and Edwin M. Stanton Elementary, 17th and Christian, for the School District of Philadelphia. Edwin H. Vare Middle School, 24th Street and Snyder Avenue, has been converted to a charter, also under the company's operation. The organization also has its own charter school, Universal Institute, 801 S. 15th St.
Famous residents: Miami Heat forward Rasual Butler, from 20th and Manton streets; Anthony Burrell, 22nd and Dickinson streets, is a product of the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center and now is a backup dancer for Beyonc�; legendary jazz musicians the Heath Brothers -- tenor saxophonist Jimmy, drummer Albert and bass player Percy; Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, lead vocalist/rapper of Grammy Award-winning band The Roots, from 23rd and Watkins streets; H. Patrick Swygert, president of Howard University, from 15th and Wharton streets
Major landmarks: The Point Breeze Performing Arts Center and the avenue itself, once a major shopping district.
Architecture: Rowhouses and townhouses
Median home sale price: $55,000
State Senate district: First, Vincent Fumo (D); Eighth, Anthony Williams (D)
State House district: 186th, Harold James (D)
City Council district: Second, Council President Anna Verna (D)
Police district: 17th
Civic groups and townwatches: Point Breeze Civic Association, Point Breeze Community Development Coalition
The cynical cyclist
Grabbed on the go
Around South Philly 4-24-2014
Seeking standout student nominations