Francisville

Another lot will vanish in this growing neighborhood

A couple years back, Michael Loonstyn of MJL Properties built a rather significant project on 19th Street, on a triangular chunk of land between Perkiomen and Vineyard Streets. And just the other week, we told you about ongoing work from this same developer to convert a garage on Cameron Street into four apartments. If our reading of public record is accurate, it seems these guys don't like moving very far when they take on new projects.

Fence around the garage

At 1817 Wylie St., right around the corner from the apartment conversion on Cameron Street, we recently spied a fence around an old two story garage. This building, you can see, has an interesting mural graffitti combo going on. But it's on its way to demolition, as it was purchased by Lofts on Vineyard LLC last year, along with the adjacent property. This company's address tracks back to the aforementioned 35-unit development, leading us to believe it's another MJL project. According to permits, they will be building two quadplexes in place of the garage and the vacant lot to its right in the photo above.

The giant lot across the street remains dormant

We've seen so many changes in Francisville in the last few years, with quite a bit of development centered around 19th & Poplar. A mere block away from this transformed intersection, we came upon a little infill project that's currently getting way more sunlight than it deserves. Previously, 843-45 Cameron St. was a double-wide garage on a narrow street. The street remains the same; the property, not so much.

In the past
Now under construction

According to permits, the developers, MJL Properties, have added a story (duh), and will use the property for four apartments. This conversion makes perfect sense, as residential demand has grown in Francisville, especially closer to the Fairmount border.

Looking at the photo above, you'll notice a huge vacant lot in the foreground. This is surely convenient for the developers, as it gives their trucks and dumpster ample room to stretch out. It will likewise be lovely for the people who eventually move into these units, who will get an above-average amount of natural light thanks to the lack of homes across the street. It's not as great for the neighborhood. We've actually covered this lot on a few previous occasions.

Big lot on Poplar Street on the outs

In Francisville, long vacant lots are filling in at a disarming pace, and it seems like the development fisherman has hooked another big one. A reader checked in today, alerting us to the outcome of last night's Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation zoning meeting, where neighbors overwhelmingly supported a new development at 1617-33 Poplar St. that would replace a giant vacant lot near Ridge Avenue.

Current view
View of the site from above

As you can see, this parcel is quite large and quite vacant. The overhead view is clearly from a couple of years ago and doesn't show other development that's happened nearby since. Surrounded by other projects, the new development here will feel quite at home, though it will be among the larger projects to come down the pike for this area. So you may wonder, what was it that neighbors learned about last night and supported to the tune of 69-4?

More units are coming

It's been many months since we checked on the Folsom Powerhouse project in Francisville, and there's been plenty of progress at the site since our last visit. Remember, the first phase of this project from Equinox Management & Construction and Postgreen Homes included the construction of seven buildings- three townhomes and four duplexes. All of those units, designed by by Interface Studio Architects, were available for sale and have sold, according to the Postgreen website. A couple of weeks ago, a ribbon cutting took place, celebrating the completion of the first phase.

The units that are already finished

With the completion of the first phase, it's now onto the second phase of this development. On 18th Street, two apartment buildings are now under construction. These ten units will be rental apartments and one of the buildings will include a retail space. Further east on Folsom Street, a single home, a triplex, and three more duplexes are on tap. 

Glad the blight is gone but we lament the lost architecture

Just across Broad Street in Francisville, Poplar Street has been host to a flurry of rebuilding. Recently, we spied construction at 1429 Poplar St., a property we actually brought to your attention over two years ago when this project was just in its planning stages. Back then, a blighted building with great bones stood on this site. Sadly, that building has been demolished.

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