Spring Garden

Apartments, retail, office space, and parking of course

One of our first predictions for 2017 was that North Broad Street would take a major step forward this year, and it didn't even take two weeks for news to emerge that supports this expectation. Hey, when you're good, you're good.

Yesterday, Philadelphia Business Journal published a story (behind a pay wall) about plans for Parkway Corp. to partner with Nightingale Properties to redevelop the large surface parking lot on the northwest corner of Broad & Spring Garden. You may recall, we told you over the summer that Parkway had purchased this property but we didn't know anything concrete about their plans. Now, thanks to PBJ, we've got some significant insight and some pretty renderings too.

A couple years after its demolition by neglect

We featured the building at 1516 Green St. as our blight of the week in March of 2013, wondering how this wonderful building had fallen on such hard times. Doing some research, we quickly realized that it was under the careful watch of the Philadelphia Housing Authority that the building was allowed to fall into such horrendous disrepair.

In the past

Fortunately, PHA auctioned off hundreds of vacant properties a few years back, including 1516 Green St., and by 2013 it was in the hands of private developers looking to redevelop. They presented a plan to convert the building into six apartments, a project that would have entailed demolishing and rebuilding the rear of the building but maintaining its facade. Since the property sits in the Spring Garden Historic District, this plan had to go before the Historical Commission which unfortunately did not give its blessing. Within a year of our first story, the building was declared imminently dangerous and demolished. As you might expect, the property has been sitting vacant for the last couple of years. But hark, a reader told us the other day that construction has started here!

They paved our hearts and are putting up a parking lot

A reader emailed us the other day, wondering about zoning notices they'd spied on the 1700 block of Brandywine Street. We were excited to hear about this, as the north side of this block is dominated by a large surface parking lot and is zoned for multi-family use, so we had high hopes for a significant upgrade. Doing just about a minute of research though, out hopes were quickly dashed.

Slightly faded zoning notice at lot at 1709 Brandywine St.

Existing parking lot

The parking lot is pretty sizable

Unfortunately, the zoning notices are simply for the relocation of lot lines to expand the existing surface parking lot, which is currently used by the Carpenters Union on the 1800 block of Spring Garden Street. The ZBA granted the variance over the summer, by the way. The union bought the property back in 2014, though the eastern section was seemingly owned by developers at one point. As far as we can tell, these lots have pretty much been sitting empty forever, since they were once the enormous rear yards of mansions on Green Street. And it seems they'll continue to sit "empty" for the foreseeable future. This is a bit of a bummer, as this is a prime location for redevelopment. Ah well, we suspect the neighborhood will survive.

Sensible upgrade for long vacant lot

People were frustrated back in 2012, when signs went up at Clemente Park barring dogs from the park. Prior to this rule change, the park saw roughly 150 dogs come through every week, so it was getting quite a bit of use from our canine friends. On the other hand, it's tough for dogs and kids to share public space since since a dog owner can't always perform a perfect cleanup job after their pet does its business. Four years ago, the local community group was working on a couple of ideas to create a dog park in the neighborhood on a large vacant parcel on the 1800 block of Green Street.

In the past

According to a Newsworks story from 2014, many dog owning neighbors were in support of this idea, but it also faced considerable opposition from the Enon Baptist Church to the west and the Waring School to the east. The article indicated that Councilman Clarke was aware of these concerns but was committed to working with the neighborhood to alleviate neighbor worries. And it seems that's what happened at some point in the last couple of years, because the dog park is now under construction. 

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.