At 7th & Berks, we told you last week about plans for nine triplexes, ostensibly targeting Temple students. A commenter was kind enough to direct our attention one block to the east, to 6th & Berks, where a long-vacant lot is now home to a new foundation.
In the past
Naturally, your first expectation here would be even more student housing. As we mentioned last week, the rail tracks that run between 9th and 10th Streets represent a barrier from Temple, but projects like Paseo Verde are potentially inspiring additional development to the east of the school. If, however, your first guess here is student housing, your guess would be totally wrong. No folks, this will be a mixed-use building, combining a home with an artist studio. And it's gonna look like nothing else in the area.
A reader recently reached out on Twitter (follow us @nakedphilly), curious about some construction activity at 1901 N. 7th St., in a section of town we don't get to very often. We took a peek on the old Google Maps time machine function to see that this property looked totally awful as recently as a couple of years ago.
In the past
Now, however, it's a huge construction site.
The other day
The plan for this site is nine triplexes, making a total of twenty-seven new units. The developer is PRDC Properties, though looking at their sign on the site they'd be happy to sell the project to you if you're interested. When we reached out to the developers though, we were informed that it's their policy to not comment on any projects beyond what's in the public record. So let's look at the sign and call it a day.
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.