Baby boomers ran from cities in America, but millennials have embraced the urban living experience, if we may generalize. Ask a random baby boomer (and not an empty-nester that’s come back to town in recent years) why they choose the suburban lifestyle, and they may tell you that the city is dirty, or that it’s cramped, or that it’s dangerous. The younger generations that have largely driven the reinvigoration of downtown Philadelphia will instead sell you on the convenience of the city, the joys of getting to know your neighbors, and the palpable energy in town.
But there are tradeoffs that come into play when you choose to live in the city. One of those tradeoffs, at least for those of us that live in and around Center City, involves having little to no green space. And that’s why people are generally willing to pay a premium to live near big parks like Rittenhouse Square, or little neighborhood green spaces like Julian Abele Park. You’d think the same would be true of Fairmount Park, and it’s indeed the case in the Fairmount neighborhood and further into the northwest. But it’s not so true in neighborhoods like Parkside and Strawberry Mansion, even for blocks that face the park.
That being said, as developers are continuing to look for opportunities further out from downtown, those areas are starting to become more compelling. Take, for example, 1501 N. 33rd St., which we’re pretty sure is actually located on the outer edge of Brewerytown. This property, along with its neighbors moving north, sits across the street from the edge of Fairmount Park. As recently as a decade ago, there was a car upholstery warehouse on this triangular parcel. Within the last couple years though, the old building got torn down.
Thanks to a post from @genbrewerytown, we see that developers are looking to build an apartment building here. The proposal calls for a 17-unit building with 16 parking spaces. Over the last several years, a few different iterations of this plan have come and gone, but we’re optimistic that this will be the project that finally moves forward. Assuming it does, it will enjoy the benefits of having the park immediately to the west, but it will also have the challenge of the adjacent railroad tracks and power station, along with the fact that 33rd Street turns into a highway for a short time just south of here, as it funnels down to Girard.
Just think, if a project like this does ultimately happen, it should encourage additional development in this section of Brewerytown and farther north, into Strawberry Mansion. Already, we’ve seen a few different projects under construction north of here on 33rd Street, and we anticipate additional redevelopment in the coming years. Ideally, the City will work to ensure that redevelopment in this part of town will not only be of the market rate variety, but will also include a robust affordable component to maintain income diversity in the area. Whether that ultimately occurs though, is anybody’s guess.