Will Market House Appear Soon on Washington Avenue?

Historically, the triangular parcel formed by 8th Street, Passyunk Avenue, and Washington Avenue was the site of maybe a dozen homes or small apartment buildings which we believe were torn down in the 1960s. A service station opened here by the 1980s, and by the 1990s, Captain Jesse Crab Company was hawking live seafood and fresh produce at the corner of 8th & Washington. After years on and off the market, the business closed up shop a few years back and the property went up for sale, trading for $1.3M in 2016. The buildings that had been occupied by Captain Jesse’s were demoed that year and the developers planned a five story building with 11 retail spaces on the first floor (!) and 16 apartments on the upper floors. But the project never came to pass.

In the past
Current view

New developers bought the property almost three years ago, paying just over $1.8M for the property. Their plan changed things up from the prior proposal, opting for a six-story building with ground floor retail and 39 units. Certainly, the added density makes plenty of sense, as does the additional height, given the width of Washington Avenue. Best of all, the project is totally by right, given the CMX-2.5 zoning for the parcel. Granted, we’d prefer a zoning designation that allows even more height and density, but this is a triangular property that’s not even 10K sqft, so this proposal is probably the best case scenario for this parcel, zoning notwithstanding. Here are some renderings for the project which has been dubbed Market House, with some sweet design work by Ambit Architecture.

Project rendering
View from Washington Ave.
Another angle

These plans and drawings are from last year, and to date we haven’t seen any construction at the site. A reader reached out last week though, and gave us the heads up that the barbed-wire topped fence that’s surrounded this property for years has come down. This could be an indication that construction is on the horizon somewhat soon, but we also don’t see any new permits other than the zoning permit from the summer of 2019. That being said, maybe the developers are just on the cusp of getting permits and figured they’d preemptively remove the fence. Alternately, maybe they’re still not near starting but determined there wasn’t much value in renting a fence to secure a vacant lot. Let’s hope for the former, as a new mixed-use project here would be a shot in the arm for this location, just a block away from the Italian Market. And it would certainly fortify a section of Washington Avenue that’s ripe for additional growth.

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