For many years, the southwest corner of Broad & Norris has been surrounded by a red plywood fence, hiding the Temple Community Garden from street view. Immediately to the west on Norris Street and to the south on Broad Street were a bunch of old homes long ago chopped up into apartments. Those buildings were collectively known as the Triangle Apartment Complex and they were used in recent years as grad student housing. Let's just say they didn't have a stellar reputation.
Student housing has been all the rage in the neighborhoods surrounding Temple in recent years, and it's almost a surprise that there are any vacant lots or blighted buildings remaining in the area. But alas, a considerable number of empty buildings remain and there's still plenty of lots too. Until very recently, the northwest corner of 17th & Norris had a building right at the corner, an overgrown field to the north, and a small forest to the west.
In the past
Visit this corner today and you'll see a very different scene. Just to the north, four duplexes are approaching completion, sporting some of the brightest bay windows you'll ever see. The leasing company, Walnut Realty Group, is calling this development Tuscany Suites (a hundred bucks if you can convince us they evoke Tuscany in any way), and they're marketing the 4 bed/4bath units for $600/room. Each unit comes with a 40" Smart TV in every living room, turfed backyards with grills, and probably a significant security deposit requirement.
If you head west on Cecil B. Moore Avenue past Broad Street, in the past few years, Temple-related development has grown on numerous blocks. We've seen varying types of projects, mostly in the residential realm. As large projects go, Temple opened the 27-story Morgan Hall at Broad & Cecil B. in 2013, at once changing the face of the North Broad skyline. But there have been plenty of smaller buildings coming on the scene as well.
The months keep falling off the calendar and development around Temple has continued to buzz. Derelict buildings have been demolished and replaced with shiny new (often boring) buildings. Lots that sat vacant for decades have turned over. So much construction has happened here of late, people who graduated even five years ago wouldn't even recognize their former neighborhood.
While all of this makes perfect sense in the abstract, we figured we'd give you a visual example of just how much change has come to a random intersection in the area. There's no particular reason we picked 12th & Dauphin, but it certainly illustrates the point. Check out some images of what the area looked like back in 2009, thanks to the brilliance of the Google Maps Time Machine feature.
In case you don't recall, this four-story building will eventually have nineteen apartments. As is the case with most new construction in the area, it will surely target Temple students, and make us jealous of their living conditions compared to those of our college days. We still don't know what this building will ultimately look like, but it sure is doing a fine job of blocking the view of the stuccoed building next door.