A little less than a year ago, we brought 906 N. Broad St. to your attention, dreaming of a better future for the building. We noted the likelihood that it was originally built as a car dealership, but showed you its current blah condition, chopped up into a Family Dollar, a seafood restaurant, and a mini market. We also made mention of the building’s great potential due to its location on the fringe of Francisville and close to Temple’s campus, suggesting that a one story commercial building wasn’t the highest or best use for a sizable lot on this block.
Developers bought the property a couple years back with exactly that thought in mind. They paid a steep price, $2.5M, so it came as no surprise that we told you they were planning changes for the property. Those changes called for a five-story addition to the building, with 100 apartments and 8 parking spaces. We were perhaps a little surprised that the developers were planning an addition and not demolition and new construction, but maybe saving the first floor will save a couple of bucks on the construction side.
When we called your attention to the project, we indicated that it would go through the zoning process and also through Civic Design Review, and suggested we’d come back with more information once the CDR process got moving. Turns out, the project goes to CDR next month, so here we are. As you might expect, there have been some changes to the project. The unit count has gone down, from 100 to 94. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the parking spaces have disappeared, which is certainly the appropriate move from an urbanist standpoint given the Broad Street Line stop just a block away. Also, we’ve got some renderings from YCH Architects, which shows what we’ll hopefully see here at some point in the future.
This project not only gels with all the small scale development we’ve seen in Francisville in recent years, but it will also dovetail nicely with the ongoing renovation of the Metropolitan Opera House, just steps to the south. We’re not suggesting that the future residents of an expanded 906 N. Broad St. will be going to shows every night at the Met music venue (though discounted concert tickets would be a cool perk), but the two projects will greatly add to the vibrancy of North Broad Street and help link Temple’s campus with Center City. And with North Broad Street continuing to take steps forward, we have a feeling that this won’t be the last apartment building to spring up in this area.