Francisville

New building looks better than most these days

We last visited the 1500 block of Parrish Street last summer, which when you consider the ice and snow and frigid temperatures of late, feels like a couple of lifetimes ago. Back then, in those toasty days, we brought a new project at 1526 Parrish St. to your attention. At that point, the four story building from Carmel Developments had just been framed out. These developers also have projects on Frankford Avenue and Buttonwood Street, and typically offer something a little unusual from an architectural standpoint. On Parrish Street, where their project is now finished and has been dubbed "Maxfield Tower," they've continued this tradition.

If someone's buying it seems likely they'll be developing

A couple of weeks ago, we heard some legitimate complaints from a reader living on the 1500 block of Brown St. about the condition of several of the properties on the 1500 block of Ridge Ave. which back up to her property. Not only are the properties an eyesore, but one of them apparently caught fire a little while back. Thankfully, the fire department was able to take care of things before the fire spread. We recently made our way over there and can certainly appreciate why someone wouldn't enjoy having some of these properties behind their home.

Backs of buildings on Ridge Ave., view from Brown Street

Some of the properties on this block have been renovated while others are long vacant and in terrible condition.

This time it's six units

The 700 block of N. 19th St. is slowly going through a major change. We've actually visited this block a few times previously, bringing the construction of a duplex to your attention in 2012 and again last year. Of course, the construction of a couple of duplexes isn't typically so notable, but when all the other properties on the block are only one story tall, it becomes a bit more of a story. As a bit of a refresher, PHA built a bunch of homes on the block in the 1980s, and let's just thank our lucky stars that architectural standards have evolved in the decades since.

Looking south on 19th St., we see a two-year-old duplex in the distance

At 742 N. 19th St., just two doors down from the most recent construction on the block, we recently spied a demolition notice, indicating that the block will soon see some more change.

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.

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