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.

Bad news for another vacant lot

If all the plans presented for different parcels along the 1600 block of Ridge Avenue come to fruition, it would be a transformation from corner to corner, which is something we've seen at different locations throughout Francisville the past few years (see 19th & Poplar). We recently shared plans for a mixed-use building at 1608 Ridge Ave. with ground-floor commercial and 14 apartments. And there are additional plans for 28 apartments and three commercial spaces next door, where there's now a shuttered Dollar Discount store.

Now, at the corner of 16th & Ridge, we've learned of plans to build a three-story mixed-use building with a commercial space on the first floor and bay windows on the top two floors, each of which will host one apartment. Just to the south, the same developer has gotten plans approved for a pair of quadplexes.

Exciting mixed-use project is planned

On Ridge Avenue, it's no secret that it's been a rough go for years between Broad Street and Girard Avenue when it comes to blight, vacancy, and old dilapidated buildings. But of late, there's been renewed optimism for Ridge thanks to projects large and small. At Broad Street, the mythic Divine Lorraine finally seems like it will spring back to life in the next couple of years with construction ongoing. Nearby, the JBJ Soul Homes were finished last year, filling a large lot that's been vacant for a long time. Smaller projects have dotted Ridge Avenue as you head toward Girard.

And more are planned, like the plans to construct a mixed-use three-story building on a currently vacant parcel at 1608-12 Ridge Ave., with 14-units above a ground-floor commercial space. Next door, an even bigger project is in the works.