Spring Garden

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.

New construction homes plus renovation are planned

The folks at MJL Properties have plans for more development, this time including some preservation in the Spring Garden Historic District. At 2001 North St., right behind Fairmount Pizza and half a block below Fairmount Avenue sits the old Potts Ice Cream factory.

Wonderful building at the corner

Built in 1947, the corner of the building is a great example of Art Moderne architecture, but the rear portion is a less exciting structure that looks like it could be the back of a high school. The developers intend to demolish most of the brick section of the building and replace it with new homes. As for the Art Moderne section, it would be improved with updates like painting or coating the buff brick facades, reconfiguring the height of bay windows along 20th Street, fixing the windows, and roof decks.