Today we direct your attention to 1511 N. 16th St., the amazing Victorian mansion that's currently home to the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. This building has been used for student housing for many years, but may retain some of its original interior architectural details. About ten years ago, the property was listed for sale with this amazing description:
This must a record- two visits to the area around Temple in one week, and nothing about student housing. Today, we come back to a project that we first told you about two and a half years ago. On the southwest corner of 16th & Oxford, a large old building was last used as a community center, run by the North Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist church. When we last checked in on the property, it was under construction with plans for twenty-five apartments, church offices, and continued use as a community center. But work was moving very slowly.
A couple years ago
You'd think, with the time that's passed, the project would be finished by now. But you'd be incorrect. Yes, there's been some progress, with the front wall now stuccoed over, but there's still a fence around the building and a bunch of windows missing on the first floor. Several violations came up last year, some of which are still outstanding.
In the time that's passed since our last visit, the homes have been finished and many have sold, according to the Community Ventures Facebook page. We aren't sure about the final sale prices, but earlier articles pegged the prices for the 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom homes at around $140K per home.
Just a block and a half from the Pearl Theater on Broad Street, the 1600 block of N. Sydenham Street is pretty much in Temple's backyard. You'd think, given the location, that the entire block would be student housing. But it's actually a mix of vacant land, older homes, buildings that have been renovated into student housing, and new construction student housing.
It's a mix on the west side of the block
The Open Door Community FBH Church has also made its home at 1609 N. Sydenham St. for many years, but zoning notices on the building and the property next door indicate that the church has either closed its doors or moved to another location.
The zoning notices indicate plans to demolish the two buildings and construct a pair of quadplexes in their place. It goes without saying that these new buildings will target Temple students, like every other newer building on the block. We should mention, since the ZBA gave their approval last month, it's only a matter of time before these buildings come down. We wish we could have seen them when they were first built, the northern property looks like it might have been a stable at one point.
There's more demolition coming to the 1400 block of North 15th Street. About a year and a half ago, we discovered that 1415 N. 15th St. was coming down. It was a shame to see this structure, an older building with a brownstone face on its first floor and offset upper floors, succumb to the construction boom in the area, as we guessed that whatever was coming in its place wouldn't match its architectural character. We were correct, as the new eight-unit building does not compare to what was lost.
Four stories and a metal bay for 1415 N. 15th Street
Just a few doors down, a similar fate should soon befall 1407-09 N. 15th St., yet another interesting older building. We wish we could have seen this place when it was first built, as we would bet that the one-story structure with a battlement-themed cornice is not the original architecture.