Spring Garden

Exact plans are unclear at this point

The hits keep on coming for North Broad Street. Once seen as the red headed stepchild of the Avenue of the Arts, North Broad Street has seen an amazing resurgence in the last few years and its future is incredibly bright. At Broad & Fairmount, the renovation of the Divine Lorraine is progressing, restoring one of the most striking buildings on the corridor and bringing 121 new units to the area. Restaurants like Osteria and Alla Spina are making North Broad Street a destination for people that don't live nearby. And very soon, even more people will call North Broad Street home.

Yesterday, Philly.com reported that the Parkway Corporation has purchased the large surface parking lot on the northwest corner of Broad & Spring Garden. The plans are a little nebulous at this time, but should be of the mixed-use variety and include residential, office space, and retail. And since it's Parkway, we have to assume that parking will also be involved, even though the property sits on a BSL stop.

Project originally came through in 2010

Dating back farther than we can remember, there's been a wall at 1502-04 Green St. instead of two buildings. We confess, we never gave this wall much thought, perhaps because we were distracted on the block by the now-demolished PHA-owned blight at 1516 Brown St. or the wonderful Chapel Lofts building. But if you pass by the corner of 15th & Green today, you'll notice that the wall is gone and two new four-story buildings are under construction in its place.

View for years at 1502-04 Green St.
Current view

The property is actually enormous, taking up almost 8,500 sqft and stretching all the way to Brandywine Street. For many years, this parcel has been used as a surface parking lot and we'd suspect that the wall of Green Street offered a modicum of security for people who parked back there. Looking around the back of the property, we can see that the construction is perhaps covering half of the property, and the rest is still very much in use for parking.

We still would have preferred the old convent

If you always wanted to live near the Art Museum and have a spare couple million in your pocket, the Green Street Estates might be your dream come true. But it wasn't always clear that we'd end up with this project at this location. Two years ago, How Properties bought the former Saint Francis Xavier convent at 2322 Green St. and planned to convert it into an 18-unit apartment building. With additional space on the parcel, the developers were going to build some more buildings, with an expected total unit count of 48 in a by-right project. This sounded pretty good to us.

Love the retro signage

The last few years have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for 563 N. 20th St., a building on the northeast corner of 20th & Brandywine. For many years, it sat in a relatively unloved state, housing Park Grocery Co. on the first floor. Just looking at an image from 2009, we can't tell whether the business was still active or whether the storefront had been dark for a decade. Perhaps someone who lives nearby remembers?

This was the view for years

It seems that developers purchased the building in 2010, renovating the entire structure and creating two residential condo units and a commercial condo on the first floor. In 2013, we told you about plans for Momoyo, a frozen yogurt that also strangely advertised the sale of cotton candy and dog treats. The business opened and quickly got shut down because of a zoning issue. When they eventually reopened, they installed some funky, ultra-contemporary plastic panels around the entrance to the storefront, covering up the original signage.

It's been about a year in the making

The other day, we heard from a reader, bringing a renovation effort at 673 N. 15th St. to our attention. This project apparently stalled out for a time, but construction has now resumed. Plans call for three apartments above an office space, and at least some of the first floor windows are being expanded to make for a stronger street presence. We're holding out hope that the windows on the south side of the building will also grow before construction finishes.

Renovation at the corner of 15th & Melon

We actually brought this property to your attention about a year and a half ago, shortly after developer Loonstyn Properties bought the building. As part of that purchase, they also bought the warehouse next door on the 1400 block of Melon Street. At the time, we were hoping that the developers would maintain the existing property and perhaps renovate it into a residential reuse. The bones, after all, are pretty great.

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