New Hole in the Ground Near Rittenhouse Monday, March 20, 2017
The street simply called "Rittenhouse Square" is, as you'd expect, one of the more exclusive in town, running along the south side of the park of the same name. The street extends a block to the east, stretching to 17th Street, and a couple blocks to the west as well, running to 21st Street, curiously disappearing for a block, and extending again from 22nd to 23rd Street. In the interest of reducing confusion in the universe, we'd probably advocate for changing the name of the street, but we'd think that the people who live on Rittenhouse Sq. probably like the name of their street, thank you very much. With such a name, you'd think that these blocks would be well established and wouldn't see a whole lot of development activity. And yet we've been pulled to the 2000 block of Rittenhouse Sq. a couple times over the years, and now we find ourselves back on this ritzy block.
Until a few months ago, 2012-14 Rittenhouse Sq. was home to a pair of two-story homes from the early 1950s which were very well located but didn't have much else going for them. A little over a year ago, the two 2-story homes were listed for sale together, described as fixer-uppers that could either be renovated or demolished and replaced. The developer that ultimately bought them has opted for the latter. We passed by the property last week and found a relatively new hole in the ground.
It should come as no surprise that the new owner is planning a three-story home for this location. Here is an elevations drawing, pulled from the Zoning Archive.
A few doors to the west, we spied another zoning notice. 2026 Rittenhouse Sq. was originally built as a carriage house and has been sitting in generally lousy looking condition for as long as we can remember. Back in November, the ZBA approved a plan to add two stories onto the building and to convert it into a home. Per a Historical Commission ruling from 2015, the addition will be set back far from the street, such that it will hardly be noticeable, and the existing carriage house will be restored. Seems a like a win-win to us.
As we said, this block has seen some more significant projects in recent years as well. Next door to the carriage house, a parking garage at 2028 Rittenhouse Sq. was converted into a 9-unit apartment building. Across the street, 2023 Rittenhouse Sq., one of our favorite buildings in the city, was renovated a couple years ago into a 6-unit building. Ah, that horse head is just the greatest.
With a seemingly disproportionate number of projects taking place on this high end block in the last few years, we wonder whether we'll see a bump in development on similar blocks around Rittenhouse Square in the near future. Delancey Street, you're next!