We first visited the 700 block of N. 20th St. back in 2012, noting that developers were planning to demolish a home and replace it with a new quadplex. This block, and several others in the neighborhood, were built up by PHA in the 1980s with small homes that were sold off as affordable housing. Those homes were unlike traditional Philadelphia row homes in that they were quite squat, they sat on large parcels, and they included driveways. Here’s a look at the northern end of the eastern side of the 700 block of 20th Street, to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about.
Perhaps you noticed, that image is from Google Street View. We had to resort to using that image, which is about a year old, because almost all of the homes in that image are now gone. Stamm Development, a developer we’ve covered a few times before, has gone on a tear, buying up all the homes on the northern end of the block. They’re in the process of building several new buildings, with clear progress at 753-55 N. 20th St., a double-wide building. We told you about this one before, before it got zoning approval. Soon enough, look for a building with 6 units and four parking spaces in the front.
As we said, this developer has other projects in the works on this block. According to public record, they’ve bought 745, 747, and 749 N. 20th St., leaving 751 N. 20th St. as the lone home standing on this part of the block. Lest you think that home will remain and look odd with new buildings towering over it, the Stamm website indicates that they will also be developing that property and they’ve already pulled a demo permit, so this home won’t be around for long.
Soon enough, we’ll see four new buildings rise here, each with five units. At first, it seemed a little odd to us that the double-wide building called for six units and the skinnier buildings had only one less unit. Looking at the Stamm website though, we see that the skinnier buildings will contain rental units while the double-wide building units will be sold off as condos. We’ve seen successful rental and condo projects on this block and others like it, so this certainly makes sense.
In very short order, almost the entire eastern side of this block has experienced redevelopment. During that time, the western side of the block has seen some new construction, but not very much. We have to think though, that as the development wave crested over one side of the block, the same thing is bound to happen across the street. We do wonder though, why there’s been such a marked difference to date.