We’ve never been to Malta. Couldn’t even tell you where it is without the help of Google Maps, much less tell you the name of its capital city. But we live in the age of information and as such, we can find out all of those things with but a few keystrokes. And we can share that info with you! Malta is an island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea, roughly 50 miles south of Italy. It’s tiny, covering only 122 square miles, but is very densely populated, with a population of roughly 475K. English and Maltese are the official languages of Malta, but a large percentage of the population also speak Italian, thanks to the country’s proximity to Italy. Valletta is the capital city of Malta, and the entire city is considered a World Heritage Site.
By now you’re probably wondering why we’re giving you a 4th grade level, Wikipedia researched report on Malta, and maybe you’re curious about its major exports (limestone, electronics, tourism fwiw). You’re probably unclear on what Malta has to do with Philadelphia real estate, and that’s some appropriate confusion right there. So allow us to explain. At the end of last year, we told you that developers had 528-30 S. 5th St. under agreement, a building that had been vacant for a couple of years since a restaurant called Tiramisu closed its doors. Those developers had a plan to demolish the building on the property and replace it with a mixed-use building with 22 apartments and retail on the first floor. If you visit the property today, you’ll see that it has indeed been torn down.
The mixed-use building plan required a variance from the ZBA, but the case was never heard. Ultimately, the plans shifted for the property and now the developer, Noah Ostroff, is pursuing a by-right condo building with eight units. Already, foundation work is underway for this project, where units will start at prices above $400K. Check out these renderings, which show the front of the building and the rear frontage on Reese St., where residents will access a parking area.
So what in the world does this have to do with Malta? On its face, not a whole heck of a lot. But what if we told you that the project is named Valletta, after Malta’s capital city? Ah, now it all makes sense! And not only did you learn about a new project coming to 5th Street, but you also learned a little bit about a small but spunky country in the Mediterranean which you’ll probably never visit (but probably should). As always, we’re happy to be of service.