We’ve covered the vacant 1.5 acre triangular parcel at 19th & Wylie numerous times over the years, always lamenting its persistent vacancy, which is only amplified by the torrent of development happening all around. We first wrote about this property back in 2013, telling you that the Hankin Group purchased it from the City back in 2010. They paid $900K, which was an aggressive offer at the time, but falls way short of what anyone might pay for the parcel if it were to become available today. The Hankin Group plan called for 69 town homes, but if you visit this property you’ll see that absolutely nothing has happened here. At least not yet.
We say that nothing has happened yet, because we’re growing ever more optimistic that construction will start here at some point in the near future. About half a year ago, we noted that Hankin Group had reengaged with this property and was pursuing a modified project with 66 condo units and a large retail space on the corner of 19th & Wylie. We even shared some renderings from ISA, procured via Plan Philly, to give a sense of how the project will ultimately look. Not bad, if you ask us.
Over the last couple weeks, a few readers have reached out to us, having noticed permits posted to the property, wondering whether construction might be happening soon. Considering that those permits were pulled just last month, it’s certainly an indication that the Hankin Group is actively working on the project, and intends to move forward sometime soon. The permits also indicate that the unit count has changed, and looking at the Zoning Archive, we can see that the project has further evolved in the last half year.
More specifically, the project will now consist of a 4-story apartment building on Wylie Street, with a roughly 3K sqft retail space at 19th & Wylie. This building will include 61 apartments and 19 underground parking spots. We have to think that these units will be offered as rentals. On Cameron and 19th Streets, the developers are planning 28 town homes, and each of these homes will have an associated parking space in the central courtyard. We imagine these homes will be listed for sale.
For those that don’t do great mental math, that’ll be a total of 89 new units, along with 47 parking spaces. The way we see it, this is an even better plan than the original proposal, as it includes almost 30% more density. As we’ve said on numerous occasions, Ridge Avenue is on its way up as a commercial corridor, and Francisville just needs more residents to support local businesses to make the corridor viable. This project would certainly represent a fabulous shot in the arm. Before we get too excited though, we’d like to at least see some earth moving. After all, the property has been quiescent for a very long time since the current owners made the purchase. As the old saying goes, fool us eight years, shame on us.