There's a section of the 4600 block of Sansom Street between 46th Street and Farragut Street that's been rather bleak for at least the last decade, probably going back many more years. A single building on the south side of the block has survived the passage of time, with two huge vacant lots on either side. On the north side of the block, another vacant lot overlooks a gas station.
But things have changed dramatically as the student housing boom in West Philly has made its way here, and with considerable force.
Triplexes on 46th Street, foundation at the corner
A reader gave us the heads up the other day about some construction activity on the 3600 block of Spring Garden Street, a block that has somehow escaped our attention over the years. The construction we discovered was taking place at a three-building apartment complex at 3608-3612 Spring Garden St. with the name Elrae above each of the entrances. We have no doubt that these buildings have plenty of history to them but despite our best efforts we couldn't find much. Can you shed some light?
A little over a year ago, we told you about a plan for a sixteen story tower and twelve for-sale residential units at 3201 Race St., replacing a surface parking lot and some poorly maintained homes. At the time, the project had already gone through the Civic Design Review process, but it hadn't yet gone before the ZBA. Within a month of our story, the ZBA gave their approval, paving the way for the project to move forward. Often with projects of this scope and cost, it takes some time to get everything properly lined up, so it's no shock that it took almost a year for the project to get moving. But as a story from the Inquirer tells us, the official groundbreaking is happening today.
Over the weekend, we made an early-morning trip to Trader Joe's (no lines before 9am on a Sunday!) and afterward we decided to take a detour through West Philly to see whether we could stumble upon any theretofore unknown construction. We sadly came up empty on the construction front, but we did spy something exciting and at the very least new to us. Crossing the Schuylkill via the Market Street Bridge, we discovered a collection of planters on both sides of the bridge, and four pergolas to boot.
Planters in the foreground along with the two newest Cira buildings plus the IRS building
North side of Market Street, looking east toward Center City
Greenery plus 30th Street Station and the original Cira Centre
Thousands of people cross this bridge every day, and these planters surely make the trip a little more pleasant. But where did they come from? When did they arrive on the scene?