Francisville

Long vacant lot filling in, former church coming down

We've said numerous times over the last few years that Ridge Avenue is on the rise, and you can find two fine examples of this situation on the 1700 block. The most obvious change to the status quo is at 1731 Ridge Ave., where a new building is under construction on a property that has been vacant for many years. To our surprise, we see that the property was listed for sale a little less than a year ago for $110K and sold two weeks later for $100K. The developers that purchased the lot are now building a structure with two commercial spaces and two apartments which we'd bet will be sold off as condos. While it's nice to see the new construction here, we find our gaze is drawn to the building next door, which was surely much more handsome before most of the cornice fell off.


Construction on Ridge Avenue

Across the street, a much larger project is looming, as a vacant building at 1734 Ridge Ave., most recently home to a church, will soon be demolished. We actually mentioned this property about a month ago, as part of a story about some upcoming construction around the corner on Leland Street. As we told you then, Loonstyn Development has owned the building for several years and now it appears as though they're ready to move forward with a project. It's good timing, with some additional projects coming soon to some long vacant land a few doors down.

Lots of parking, too

Our boy William Penn laid out a sweet city, with the downtown grid creating predictability with right angles and numbered streets. But as you're surely well aware, that grid starts to break down as you head out of the middle of town, and much of that wonderful predictability starts to go out the window. That's a long way of saying that we have no idea how the lot at 1834-36 Vineyard St. came into existence, but we can't imagine it would've happened in Center City. Take a look at this thing, it's a 32' x 240' property that runs between Cameron and Perkiomen Streets, dead ending at the rear of some properties on Wylie Street.


What a weird lot

Until fairly recently, a couple of homes sat on the front of the lot on Vineyard Street and they had the biggest backyard ever. A reader reached out the other day though, letting us know that those homes have been torn down and there's some new construction taking place at the property.

Surrounding properties are of interest, as well

Would you be able to find Leland Street on a map? We'll give you a hint, it's in Francisville. Give up? We don't blame you.

Leland Street runs for just over a block in Francisville, starting at Wylie Street and ending forever at Ginnodo Street. According to public record, Leland Street has only 27 legal addresses. Amazingly (though it's not so amazing given the neighborhood), one of those properties will soon get redeveloped. Some advance warning, this post might get a little confusing but this map should prove handy to maintain your bearings. Sorry to do this to you on the afternoon before a holiday weekend.


907 Leland St.

In the map image, we've highlighted 907 Leland St., the property that's going to be redeveloped. The developers are looking to build a five-unit building on this lot with parking in the back and will go before the ZBA later this month. Interestingly, the parking will be accessed via the drive-aisle used by the row of newer homes next door even though that property was (we think) developed by someone else. This project has been continued several times and we're not sure why- it seems like a reasonable enough plan for this location.

More mixed-use coming to the corridor

About a month ago, we asked you to direct your attention to the 1500 block of Ridge Avenue, where two projects were moving forward and another will soon follow at the corner of 16th & Ridge. Trinity Realty Companies, the developer for 1526-30 Ridge Ave. saw the post and reached out to us, sharing a drawing of the building we can expect to see here once construction moves forward. The property is currently just a poured foundation, but it will end up as an eight-unit building with retail space on the first floor.


Foundations on Ridge

Project rendering

Like so many of the other projects we've seen sprout up on Ridge Avenue over the last couple of years, this project will also have a very contemporary look to it. According to the developer, the units will be offered as condos, and there's no retail tenant as of yet. This comes as no surprise, as many of the buildings that have already been built on Ridge are still looking for commercial tenants.

Gonna be a tough few months for this block

We haven't been to the 800 block of Opal Street for a few years, not since developers built two homes and a garage that were inspired by the Schmidt’s carriage house on nearby Cambridge Street. Designed by David Traub Architects, these homes are quite a bit more traditional looking than the standard new construction you see around town these days.


Built circa 2013

On our last visit to the block, we also mentioned a nearby vacant lot that was available for sale and opined that some enterprising developer would eventually take advantage of the opportunity, but wondered how they'd handle its narrow 12' width of the lot. The solution, to buy the adjacent lots from the City, seems straightforward but was surely a challenging exercise which took years to execute. Nevertheless, developers were able to purchase the adjoining lots and are now planning three 16'-wide homes for this location. A reader sent us an email last week that gave us the heads up about work getting underway at 867-71 N. Opal St.

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