Temple Area

But it still may look regrettable

The 1500 block of N. 16th St. enjoys the presence of numerous buildings that are, in our estimation, architectural gems. A few years ago, a new stucco apartment building rose on the block, looking like a tumor next to an amazing old structure. Earlier this year, we told you of plans for yet another addition to the block at 1516 N. 16th St., and hoped that the new building would reduce the impact of the aforementioned stucco tumor.

The new structure
Some good looking buildings on the block

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.

Is something new coming on North Broad?

Last week, we directed your attention to the northwest corner of Broad & Jefferson, noting that the Burk Mansion, vacant for about twenty years, was getting a little work done. Just to the north of this beautiful building, we spied some demolition activity that seemed like it could mean more development coming to North Broad Street.

In the past
Buildings coming down

As you can see, a former appliance store and book shop on the 1500 block of N. Broad St. have come down. Zavelle, in case you didn't know (we didn't), had a presence at Temple since before World War II. When we came upon this demolition, our first thought was that a private developer had purchased the properties with plans to build some new student housing. But no, it's actually Temple University that owns the properties. According to a Temple News story from last year, the school also owns the other buildings you see in the photos above and will be demolishing them as well, in short order. Originally, the Zavelle building wasn't part of the demolition plan but when Temple was able to acquire the parcel earlier this year for a staggering $950K, they decided to take that building down as well.

Certainly not what we expected

Student housing construction has been all the rage near Temple, with projects large and small changing almost every block in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. So when we heard about a zoning notice at 1412 W. Dauphin St., just a couple blocks north of campus, our minds immediately went to student housing. And upon reading the notice which calls for fifty-four units and eighteen bike parking spots, we had no doubt that another big student housing building was on its way.

But we were wrong! Hey, it happens every now and again.

Current view of 1412 W. Dauphin St.
Looking down Carlisle St.

Doing a little digging, we realized that plans for this site aren't for the kids at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. According to a Civic Design Review presentation from August, developers want to build an affordable housing building for senior citizens on this site (creatively) called Dauphin Street Senior Residences. Has a nice ring to it, no?

New windows at least

Over a year ago, we directed your attention to the northwest corner of Broad & Jefferson, to a building that's been sitting blighted for as long as we can remember. A vacant building is nothing out of the ordinary in this area per se, but a vacant historic mansion next to Temple's campus is a little more noteworthy.

In the past

In case you don't feel like reading our post from before, the building, known as the Burk Mansion, was built in 1907 as a private residence, served as the home of the Upholsterers International Union for a couple of decades, and was acquired by Temple in 1971. For twenty years, the Temple's School of Social Administration and a daycare were in the building. Then a fire in 1993 caused considerable smoke damage to the building, and it was finally closed down in 1995.

In the last couple of days, a few readers have reached out, sharing the news that the building has been getting a little work done. New windows have filled in the boarded up openings, and there's white curtains in those windows. Check it out.

Filling long vacant lots

A couple of weeks ago, the Inquirer ran a story about the Columbia Avenue riot of 1964. Even fifty years later, the effects of this event can be felt on what is now called Cecil B. Moore Avenue, a once vibrant commercial corridor that never fully recovered. With a student housing boom, some blocks close to Temple have experienced redevelopment in recent years. But further away from the school, there's still a ton of blight and vacancy. Take, for instance, the south side of the 2100 block:

In the past

We passed by this block last week and discovered that it's very much under construction. Rather than residential development, as you might first expect, this will instead be a relocated community wellness center.

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