Ice skating at Penn's Landing has been a tradition for twenty-two years. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is a much newer custom that shows that sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now in its third season, the Winterfest takes the old RiverRink concept, injects it with radioactive steriods, and turns it into an Incredible Hulk of cold weather fun. But with less smashing and more fire pits.
The vacant lot on the 1900 block of Walnut Street, across from Rittenhouse Square, has embarrassing the neighborhood for over twenty years. Over the years, a variety of possible projects have come down the pike for this property, including a large parking lot and movie theater project from the PPA.
Current view on Walnut Street
Sansom Street view
Historic buildings on Sansom Street
Some of those plans have been close to becoming a reality, but we're pretty sure none have come as close as the current proposal from Southern Land Company. We told you about this project at the beginning of the year when the details of the project were still up in the air. Back then, we showed you an image of the massing of three buildings with a small building on Walnut Street and two huge buildings on Sansom Street. Now, thanks to Skyscraperpage, we see that a totally different plan is now in the works. The developers are cooking up a plan for a 51 floor, 600' building that would include a mix of rental apartments, condos, and retail. Solomon Cordwell Buenz did the design work.
Let's start at the south, shall we? 946-48 N. 2nd St. was previously home to a pair of unfortunate old buildings, seemingly sitting vacant for many years. Borkson Properties bought the parcel last year, demoed the buildings on the site, and are now working their way through construction on a mixed-use building with four residential units and a ground-floor commercial space. According to the developer's website, the units will be offered as condos, with two 2 bedroom units and two 3 bedroom units. Sizes will range from 1,200 - 2,100 sqft.
South Kensington has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, with small and large projects alike filling up vacant lots and replacing blighted buildings. Despite all this positive change, there's still a huge blighted building looming over the neighborhood, like Lurch on the Addams Family. The building at 5th & Master was once an umbrella factory, but it's been sitting vacant for decades. We last visited the property about a year and a half ago, hoping that renovation was imminent, but it looks pretty much the same now as it did back then.
The former umbrella factory
View from the east
A refresher, there was a plan for a residential conversion here back in 2006, which would have meant 141 condo units and a parking garage next door. The project encountered considerable community opposition, but it was ultimately mothballed because of the recession in 2008.
Maybe a week ago, on our way to get some pho from Thang Long on Kensington Avenue, we spied some new construction on the 1900 block of E. Cumberland Street, about a block away. For quite some time, 1908 and 1910 E. Cumberland St. have been vacant. But developers from Callahan Ward purchased the lots earlier this year and now they're building a pair of homes here.
Homes have been framed out
We reached out to the developers and learned that they're building two homes here, by right. Each home will have about 2,200 sqft of living space, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and large rear yards. Look for list prices in the low to mid $300K range. Because the project was done by-right, they didn't have their architects put together any fancy renderings, but you can already get a decent idea of what these homes will look like when they're done.
Next to the new homes, we wondered whether more development might be forthcoming.
Lots next door
Only one of the four lots next door have changed hands more recently than 1982, and that one was purchased by developers in 2008. So unless some other developers get creative and sleuth out the current owners, look for these lots to remain as they are for the time being.