Even if you’ve lived in Francisville for a long time, it’s quite possible you’ve never heard of Bowers Street or Erdman Street. These tiny streets branch off of the 800 block of Perkiomen Street, and both dead-end into the backyards of homes on Leland Street. Just a couple years ago, developers built a handful of homes on Erdman, cleaning up the block considerably. But the lots across the street from those homes have remained vacant, ditto the entire block of Bowers Street. This was surely due to the fact that just about all the remaining lots with Erdman or Bowers Street addresses were owned by Community Ventures, a well known affordable housing developer. The same company has also traditionally owned the commercial building at 813 Perkiomen St., which has housed a daycare for many years.
We don’t quite know why, but Community Ventures has decided to sell this property, along with their vacant lots on Erdman and Bowers Streets. The developer purchasing the properties is looking to demolish the commercial building, consolidate the properties into one lot, and build two dozen homes. As designed, twelve homes will front Erdman Street, and twelve will front Bowers Street, and each home will have an interior parking space, accessed from a drive-aisle on Perkiomen Street. Design work for the project was done by Gnome Architects, a firm formerly known as GjDesign. They were kind enough to provide some renderings of the project, to give us an idea of what to expect here.
As is often the case, what we can expect here will be directly tied to whether the ZBA gives the project their seal of approval. We’re fairly optimistic that this will happen, as the community offered support after a meeting last month. Apparently, the developer was originally planning an apartment building here, which would have been much more in line with the property’s CMX-2 zoning. But the neighbors preferred a single-family home approach, hence the design you see above. When developers completely change their approach to a project in response to requests from the community, that’s usually a good sign that it will receive the necessary approvals from the City. So like we said, we’re feeling pretty positive that this project will happen and will soon fill in a long untended stretch of land with some sharp looking new homes.