Francisville

You get a dollar if you can point it out on the map

Here's a test, to see if you were paying attention a couple years ago. Who can tell us where to find Erdman Street? No cheating.

...

Oof, nobody? Okay, we'll tell you again, but this is the last time.


There's Erdman Street

Erdman Street is a tiny alleyway in Francisville that's only accessible from Perkiomen Street. When we last visited this block, it looked like garbage, strewn with trash and overgrown with all kinds of weeds.


A couple years ago

We brought the block to your attention back then because we had learned that a developer had purchased some land on the block. The developer, David Champagne, had built other homes in the neighborhood and was planning to move lot lines around to build a quartet of homes. It turns out, Champagne simply took the properties through permitting and then sold them to a different developer about a year ago. The listing for the lots included an elevations drawing from Plumbob which showed some nice looking contemporary homes.


Elevations drawing from when the lots were sold

Checking in on the block today, we can see that things are much improved. Also, the four new homes are progressing well.

Folsom Powerhouse getting a new neighbor

On 17th Street between Olive and Folsom Streets, there's a roughly 8,000 sqft parcel that's been sitting empty for as long as we can remember. New development have sprung up around this property though, with the Folsom Powerhouse project rising next door on the 1700 block of Folsom Street, and a new mixed-use building around the corner on the 1700 block of Fairmount Avenue. And yet 708-16 N. 17th St. has continued to sit vacant, aside from some trees and a few cars.

Community did not care for this project

The area around 16th & Girard has been dominated by Saint Joseph's hospital for many years, with the large building sitting on the southwest corner and many nearby properties used as surface parking lots for employees, patients, and visitors. But the hospital closed last year, and as we told you a few months ago, North Philadelphia Health System has sold off many of the former parking lots to developers. As these properties sit on the northern end of Francisville, relatively close to Temple University, NPHS has had little trouble finding interested buyers.

The largest former parking lot is on the southeast corner of 16th & Girard, and about a year and a half ago, we told you about plans to build three apartment buildings on this site. That post generated a ton of comments, as numerous neighbors were not thrilled about the proposal, which called for 120 apartments, 39 underground parking spaces, and 60 bike parking spaces. People were upset about the look of the building, the lack of retail on the corner, the density / only 1-bedroom units, no community green space, and insufficient parking. Nevertheless, the developers got the variance they were seeking, and construction has progressed over the last year or so. The first building is pretty far along, while the second and third building are only now getting framed.

More customers for Ridge Avenue "businesses"

It's been about a year since we last checked in on 16th Street in Francisville, specifically the stretch of 16th Street between Parrish and Ogden. A reminder, this block, along with the adjacent 1600 block of Ogden Street, was a vast desert of vacancy just a few years back.


Back in 2012

The vacancy on Ogden Street was busted by some new construction in 2014, and we've seen several new buildings sprout here in the years since then. The east side of 16th Street saw some action soon after, with the long delayed Vineyards at 16 project, while the west side only started lurching forward a year ago, as a new duplex was getting framed when we visited last. We passed by the intersection recently and discovered additional progress, with much of it coming from the folks at Stamm Development.

Rumor has it the church will be torn down

It's true that Philadelphia boasts numerous edifices that outshine the former New Macedonia Church at 875 Corinthian Ave., but that doesn't mean we won't be sad to see it go. About half a year ago, we told you that developers had purchased this building that's up the block from Eastern State Penitentiary and down the block from Girard College, and we were hopeful that adaptive reuse would be in store. We were realistic in forecasting the situation though, recognizing that the building was not designated historic and that demolition was the likely outcome.


The church

View from the south

Sure, a condo play would have been a nice touch, and we've seen time and again that buyers in Francisville have a huge appetite for condo units. But demolition and construction of townhomes were always going to be the most profitable approach, and according to a reader, that's exactly what's in store for this property. We don't see any permits thus far, so we'll classify this as a rumor at the moment, but it would come as no surprise to get confirmation that this is indeed the plan.

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