Francisville

A long dormant block is making a comeback

For many years, the 1600 block of Ogden Street was a vast vacant wasteland. A number of City-owned lots sprinkled among privately owned lots combined with an a stunted Ridge Avenue made developing the block a challenge to say the least. And so it sat.

But as Francisville has seen considerable investment in recent years, with Ridge Avenue slowly pulling itself up, and with some City agencies selling off lots on this block to developers, we've started to see some real progress. Last year, a string of three duplexes sprouted on the block's north side. Passing by the other day, we spied formwork for the foundation for a fourth duplex. This is coming from the same developer that built the others.

North side of the 1600 block

The vacancy on the south side of this block was only broken recently when a four-story, two-sided building started construction. That building will soon be joined by two more duplexes on which work just began. It's different developers than the duplexes on the north side, so expect the buildings to look a little different.

Hilarious vacancy thanks to the City

We got a tip the other day about some new construction on the 800 block of N. 15th Street. Because it's what we do, we decided we'd check it out, remembering a couple of other projects on this block that we'd covered in the past. When we visited the site, we did indeed discover a new building getting framed out at 823 N. 15th St.

Framed out with vacancy on both sides

Developers purchased the parcel at the end of last year and got zoning approval for a four story triplex in April. Will the units be rentals? Condos? Who knows.

Taking a few steps back, you can see that the triplex is going up in a sea of vacant land. There's four vacant lots to the south and another five to the north. Across the street, it's basically a soccer pitch.

Better than what's been there

Last week, a couple of folks who work at the still shiny JBJ Soul Homes tipped us off about some new construction activity at the northwest corner of 15th & Swain. It took us a little while to get to this Francisville corner, which was a vacant lot for years and often home to some pickup trucks. When we finally visited yesterday, we discovered a new hole in the ground.

In the past
Current view

The lots were purchased by developers earlier this year for a combo price of $220K. They've hired Harman Deutsch to design a mixed-use building for the site, making this a by-right build. Plans are for a four-story building with a commercial space on the first floor and an apartment on each floor above. No idea what the commercial tenant will be, though we don't know what kind of retail will be the right play here.

Replaces long shuttered bike shop

A new building, now under construction, will contribute to the slow revitalization we've been eyeing on the 800 block of North Broad Street. When we passed by recently, we saw the new building at 826 N. Broad St., just below Broad & Parrish.

Recent view

The four-story structure is being developed by Konkrete Investments (seriously, visit their website, it's amazing) and is designed by Harman Deutsch, according to online permits. There will be four apartments here, and maybe a retail space too, we can't quite tell. The building, now framed out and and with windows installed, replaces an old three story structure that most recently housed a bike shop. The store last operated back in 2007 from what we can gather. In the years since, the signage slowly degraded. Then the building was demolished earlier this year.

Renovation and new construction

We've seen serious changes in Francisville in recent years, mostly in the form of long-vacant lots filling in with residential or mixed-use development. The concentration of this redevelopment has taken place near the 19th & Poplar intersection, though we've recently started to see additional infill closer to Ridge Avenue, the neighborhood's depressed commercial corridor. As we were passing through the area the other day, we spotted a tall new addition just off of Ridge.

New building has appeared

Carmel Developments, developers who have lately been busying themselves on Frankford Avenue, purchased 1541 Ridge Ave. over a year ago. They've since gone to the trouble of subdividing the lot, creating an independent parcel that fronts the 1500 block of Parrish Street. There, they've already framed out a four-story building that will eventually house three apartment units and a commercial space. Next door to this construction site is a crossfit gym we've never noticed and would have to imagine hasn't been around for so long.

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