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.
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.
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.
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.
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.