Graduate Hospital

Less ambitious than plans across the street

Though recent years have brought unprecedented growth and redevelopment to the neighborhoods surrounding Center City, some persistent vacancy remains. The biggest and best example sits at Broad & Washington, where two enormous parcels stare each other down on a daily basis, wondering which will be the first to make a move. Last fall, it seemed like the northeast corner would finally get redeveloped, with plans from Tower Investments for 1000-1600 apartments and gobs of retail. It's quite likely that this project is still moving forward even though we haven't heard much about it of late- big ticket development like this can take quite awhile to get off the ground.

Rendering of the project at the northeast corner

A recently posted listing on Loopnet for a project called Lincoln Square gives us an indication that planning for the northwest corner is happening as well. We've heard rumblings in recent months that Toll Brothers was working on something for this parcel, and the listing provides definitive evidence that someone is cooking something up here.

But it's a by-right build

Four years ago, we first brought the former YWCA building at 1607 Catharine St. to your attention, at which point you could have purchased the property for a mere $2.2M. A couple years later, we told you that developers had purchased the building and lot behind it, and were planning to demolish the back of the building, build a 67' addition in the rear, and create 33 apartments and 22 parking spots. Months later, in January of 2013, the developers came to another SOSNA zoning meeting with revised plans after several meetings with neighbors, this time intending to build a 60' addition and only 28 apartments. The project got quite a bit of support in the room, though some near neighbors were still not pleased about the height of the planned addition. Still, we figured it was only a matter of time before the building looked like this:

An old rendering

Passing by the other day, it looks like this:

Vacant building seeing new attention

We've covered many changes at the intersection of 19th & Catharine over the years, as we've watched two churches get torn down, with homes rising in their place. Our most recent visit to this corner was over a year ago when new owners took over a long vacant building on the northwest corner. This property has been vacant for many years, but got a new facade a couple of years ago. Also, in the back of the property, we seem to recall an ice cream shop once upon a time, but there's been no business operating there for some time.

Homes will replace vacant lots

A couple of vacant lots are set to fade away on the 1700 block of Carpenter Street in favor of three new homes. One lot, 1717 Carpenter St., will get a single home. The adjacent lot, 1719 Carpenter St., stretches all the way to Montrose and will get a pair of homes, with one fronting Carpenter and the other fronting Montrose Street. Developers appeared before the SOSNA zoning committee a few months back, and recently got their approvals from the ZBA.

The two lots in question

Each of the homes will have a front loading garage. This is no big deal on Montrose Street, where no street parking spaces will be lost. Some would lament the loss of parking spots on Carpenter Street, but looking at the homes next door there's a clear precedent for garages on the block. Also like the homes immmediately to the east, the new homes, designed by Lance R. Kraemer Associates, will also look different from the others nearby.

Another addition for the growing corridor

Typically, we find out our real estate news from reader tips, careful examination of the zoning calendar, and often hilarious community meetings. It's not so often that we literally stumble upon a project just walking down the street. But that's just what happened the other day when we passed by 2004 South St. and spied a new awning and sign.

Corner of 20th & South
New store opening tomorrow

As you can see, there's currently a dry cleaners at the corner and a shop next door that repairs shoes, sharpens knives, and replaces watch batteries among other things. In the space immediately to the west, Unique Bouquet Cafe is planning on officially opening their doors on Tuesday. From what we understand, this cafe will offer salads, soups, sandwiches, and smoothies while offering large fruit trays as well. The space will, we imagine, be mostly for takeout, as we only noticed two tables inside.