Temple Area

Slow start but should start chugging along now

Ignoring the occasional giant building built by the university itself and a handful of other exceptions like the buildings at the old Wanamaker School site, most of the new construction we've seen near Temple has been on a smaller scale. Need a new triplex or quadplex? Walk a block or two from Temple's campus and you'll find 'em by the bushel. But today we look at one of the larger new projects we've seen in the area of late, which will contain dozens of units when it's finished.

View of framing last week

We first told you about the project at 1325 N. 15th St., which is being built by Blackstone Development, back in April when it was literally a hole in the ground. The building, which has been dubbed 'The Greenery,' will contain 64 studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units, along with an underground parking garage. Unlike many student housing projects we've seen in this area, the project isn't cramming as many beds into each unit, offering larger units for students to destroy enjoy. There will also be a first floor courtyard area inside the building which will have planters, small trees, and a seating area. Harman Deutsch did the design work.

At least it's sorta close to Temple

The last few years have brought an incredible amount of construction activity to the neighborhoods surrounding Temple University, largely in the form of private developers building student housing. Though much of this effort is concentrated on the blocks closest to campus, we've seen some examples of far flung development, like a triplex on the 700 block of Master Street or apartments on the 2300 block of North Park Street. Today, we look at a new project that just started construction that's actually kind of close to campus, but you wouldn't think so from looking around.

Construction getting started

Earlier this year, developers bought and consolidated 1315 and 1317 N. 16th St., which have been vacant for a long time. The lots are on the small side, only 700 sqft each, so combining them makes all kinds of sense. Soon, we'll see a three story building rise here with a commercial space on the first floor and two apartments above. If we had to guess, we'd assume that the developers are building the commercial space with no expectation of finding a business to take it over, but will instead convert it to residential use once the building goes up. We've seen this before on Cecil B, and would have to imagine we'll see it again here. Let's agree, this doesn't exactly look like a viable location for a business at the moment.

With no help from Kate Pierson

October was our last visit to the 1700 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, when two new buildings were finished up and a few more were on the way. At the time, we remarked on the inclusion of "commercial space," as required by the zoning code, but speculated that based on the design the developers never intended for businesses to open but instead would eventually convert those spaces to apartments. We still think that seems likely.

But we're not here today to think about the future of these buildings. No, we're here to make fun of some shiny bay windows.


On the plus side, at least they went with Temple colors, sort of.

Looks no better a few years later

A couple years back, we directed your gaze to the 1500 block of N. 16th Street, near Temple's campus. At that time, developers had just constructed a disappointing new structure adjacent to one of the most attractive historic buildings in the city. Today, the historic building still looks terrific. And the two-year-old gray stucco building next door still looks like crap. It will be such a pleasure to revisit this site over the next however many decades and continue to drink in this sight.

The horror!

In a move that we can only hope will blunt the awful sight of the newer building, we've discovered that a project is underway at 1516 N. 16th St., immediately to the south. This lot has sat vacant for we couldn't tell you how many years, but now there's a foundation coming together on the site.

Don't seem to be for the benefit of pedestrians

A couple of readers have asked us in recent weeks whether we know anything about the construction taking place in the middle of North Broad Street. While word of this sort of work might make you expect a major and persistent traffic snarl, the activity is actually pretty compact and doesn't seem to be impacting cars traveling hither and yon. To the naked eye, it appears as though the City is constructing little medians on North Broad Street, starting in Francisville and running up past Temple.

Early stages in Francisville
Further along on Temple's campus

We assumed that this was simply an effort to improve the lighting on North Broad Street, as the medians have electric service built into them and what looks like the beginning of a light pole. This is partially correct, and at least on the right track. According to a story from CBS3 from the fall, the City is installing forty-five light masts on North Broad Street. Different from light poles, they will stand fifty feet tall and offer architectural reflective lighting. There's a sample you can find on Temple's campus, or you can just look at this rendering: