Old City

Joining the mansion parade in Old City

A couple of months back, we told you of plans for three contemporary mansions at 240 Arch St., right across the street from the Betsy Ross House. Passing by recently, we discovered that foundations have been poured for these homes.


A reader gave us a heads up that the project now has a name and a website. That website has both details about the homes and pretty renderings of the homes. The project has been dubbed The Ross Luxury Townhomes. As you might expect, these new homes are gonna be mighty fancy.

Project rendering
Another view

According to the website, the homes will each have over 4,000 sqft of living space, two-car parking (in garages, yay!), huge bedrooms, smart home technology, and wine cellars. Most interesting are the roof decks, which will each have kitchens and hot tubs. Certainly not amenities that Ms. Ross enjoyed in her day.

Tough to find, but will be tough to miss

We confess, we'd never set foot on the 100 block of Church Street before a couple of weeks ago. We were familiar with the 200 block of Church, where Old City Coffee has been doing their thing forever and we used to burn the midnight oil at Sugar Mom's. Oh, and there's a pretty famous church there too. But the 100 block? We confess, we didn't know it existed. But if we may provide an excuse, it's not as if the block had been crying out for attention. It's home to some nice looking historic buildings but little retail to speak of, and until recently there was a big surface parking lot there as well. But today we bring the always welcome news of a surface parking lot that's no more.

Currently, framing is underway at 113-125 Church St., the aforementioned former surface parking lot. The skinniness of the block makes photography a little challenging, but here are a couple of images of what's going on.

Now a vacant lot

Back in April, we told you that a fire had severely damaged the former Suit Corner building at 3rd & Market, and guessed that it would have to be demolished as a result. It was a real shame, especially considering that the iconic Shirt Corner building this was demolished earlier this year.

Post fire

We passed by this intersection a couple days ago, and found that our suspicions were spot on. The building has indeed been demolished.

Post demolition

No idea what will be rising here, or when. But it seems impossible that whatever eventually does will have as much personality as the buildings we lost.

Tough to find

You don't necessarily think of Old City as a place where lots of new construction happens. With a name like Old City, new stuff is pretty much the opposite of what you'd expect. But lately, we've seen a noticeable uptick in new construction, in locations both prominent and hidden. Remember, just last week we told you about plans for 250 units in a big building next to the Ben Franklin Bridge. And today, we have news of a much smaller, harder to find project that's now under construction.

In the past
Construction ongoing

Have you ever tried to drive onto I-95 via Race Street, but somehow ended up still on Front Street? The corner of Front & Quarry is the first intersection you hit when this happens. And it's where a formerly beat-up vacant lot is currently under construction. When we passed by last week, it looked like an elevator tower was being built. Soon, a new five story building will rise here, designed by Harman Deutsch.

This is what we're talkin' about

On Delaware Ave. (or Columbus Blvd., whatever), just past the Ben Franklin Bridge, you've probably noticed the collection of large vacant lots that have seen numerous proposals over the years but little progress. But now, it seems, the lot closest to the bridge is finally on its way.

Current view

According to Plan Philly, a new mixed-use project could soon be rising at this location. PMC Property Group has a plan for 230 N. Columbus Blvd. that includes 250 apartment units, 73 parking spaces, and a ton of green space. Interestingly, the project, dubbed 1 Water Street, includes no commercial uses. Design comes from Varenhorst, the same firm that designed the PMC building at 1900 Arch Street. Check out these renderings: