A reader that works at Temple Hospital reached out to us recently, wondering about a building under construction on the east side of the 2400 block of N. Broad Street. We can forgive the question, since we last visited this project almost a year ago, shortly after ground breaking but before construction really got started in earnest. To refresh everybody's memory, we told you last year that Project HOME was planning an 88-unit affordable housing building at 2415 N. Broad St., on a large parcel that was half vacant land and half old warehouse. If you visit the property today, you can see that they've made some considerable progress.
View from the north
View from the south
Once the construction is finished, the building should look like this:
For years, the large warehouse at 1923 Washington Ave. was home to a building supply company which included a tool rental rental place where we once snagged a floor nailer for a home improvement project. And this made sense, as Washington Avenue has been the place to go for building supplies for decades.
In the past
But if you live in the area or read this blog regularly, you know that things are slowly changing on Washington Avenue and the construction companies are starting to phase out. At some point in the last few years, the store closed down at 1923 Washington Ave., and half of the building turned into Crossfit Supercharged, which also includes an MMA gym, with the other half becoming an auto shop. Recently, the auto shop realized that they needed a variance to operate their business because of a 2015 zoning overlay restricting uses on the corridor, and rather than going through the zoning process, they opted to either relocate or close. A furniture store opened in the space about a month ago, but the store is already gone. Now, that space is available for lease.
We told you at the end of last year that Fishtown is losing Lou Wolff Auto, a used car dealership that's been doing business on Girard Avenue since the 1980s. That property is being sold and redeveloped, which definitely makes sense given the changes we've seen on the East Girard commercial corridor over the last few years. Still, it's probably a bummer for a) people who hate change, and b) people who liked the idea of buying a car from a dealership in Fishtown. But it seems the car dealership hole in the neighborhood will be quickly filled, at least according to a recent story from Philly.com.
Last summer, we wondered about 1000 W. Girard Ave., a large property that was home to the Althea Gibson Community Education and Tennis Center for about a decade. This place was an amazing neighborhood resource while it was around, teaching tennis and simultaneously creating a safe space for kids. Sadly, funding dried up and the community center closed in 2013. Developers purchased the property a year later, paying a very reasonable $1.5M for the acre-sized parcel.
Looking east on Girard
Former tennis courts
We told you previously that these developers had built a row of high-end row homes on the 600 block of Poplar Street a few years ago, so we suspected that they would be looking at some kind of residential project for this property. High end homes for sale didn't seem like the optimal approach for this location, though. While the blocks immediately to the south are pretty much all PHA-owned low income housing, the property is located close enough to Temple University that a student housing development, probably with a bit of height and density, felt like the right approach. But oh how wrong we were.