Wanna Buy a Big Lot at Broad and Fitzwater?

South Broad Street between South Street and Washington Avenue is on the rise, though its ascent has been rather slow and uneven. When 777 South Broad arrived on the scene a little less than a decade ago, bringing almost 150 apartments and a number of new retail spaces to the corridor, we were hopeful that we'd see other development crop up in a similar vein. But it's been a dry spell until quite recently, when construction started humming along at Lincoln Square on the northwest corner of Broad & Washington.

As for the rest of this stretch of South Broad, it remains a mix of unimpressive uses, with numerous one-story commercial buildings and a variety of vacant lots. We've had our eye on one of those vacant lots, 740 S. Broad St., for several years, hopeful that a developer would come forward to build something new and exciting.

View of the lot

Roughly four years ago, we told you that a third phase of Artisan Homes would be rising here, with plans in place for 8 mansions that were listed starting at $1.6M, pre-construction. A little less than a year later though, we learned that the project wasn't happening after all, and that the property was listed for sale for $6M. By the end of 2014, another developer had come forward with a new plan for 8 townhomes, this time with prices starting at a more palatable $1.35M. That also didn't happen. In 2015, for about a week, the owners listed the property and an adjacent lot on Fitzwater Street for a mere $20M, and the listing included a rendering of a 20-story building with 120 apartments and an adjacent 4-story parking garage. Again, no dice.

Rendering of a possible building here

So here we are, with South Broad Street picking up steam and the southwest corner of Broad & Fitzwater continuing to sit empty. The owners are now looking to sell the property again, and have retained Rittenhouse Realty Advisors to list it. The possibilities remain wide open for this property, with a townhome development still in play and a taller building seeming like a more remote possibility. We'd clearly prefer the latter option, but are realistic about the challenges of building a tall building on this, a relatively small property. The easiest project for a developer would be a townhome play, so that's what we'll expect to happen. The fact that the owners are now actively looking to sell the property gives us the sense that something should be happening here soon- and we're feeling preemptively bummed that it probably won't be the highest and best use for the land. Oh well, maybe we'll get another bite at the apple in a hundred years or so.