Time to Panic, Parking Lot on Lombard Could Be Closing

The 2000 block of Lombard Street is unlike any other in the city, with the Lombard Swim Club covering about half of the south side and a large parking garage taking up about a third of the north side of the block, and a bunch of homes filling things out. And while we don't imagine that the swim club will close or relocate in our lifetime, the clock could be ticking on the parking garage.

View of the garage

Lombard Swim Club across the street

At the end of last year, we got an email from MPN Realty, advertising that the parking garage at 2031 Lombard St. was available for sale. This seemed like an amazing investment opportunity, as the building sits on a quarter of an acre of land in Rittenhouse, runs street to street, and is zoned for multi-family use. A condo building would fit the bill for this spot, or a row of $1.5M to $2M homes would also make all kinds of sense on this block. After all, we've seen very successful high-end projects appear on the 1800 and 1900 blocks of Lombard Street, so a similar project on this block would seem like a slam dunk.

We enquired about the desired sale price, and felt rebuked when the price was entirely too rich for our blood, then we wondered whether anyone would be willing to pay sky high prices for the property. The other day, a reader reached out and told us that they had heard that the property was under agreement and that the garage would be closing by the end of the year. We stopped over there and asked the attendant whether he could shed any additional light on the subject but he demurred, insisting that he's relatively new to the job and didn't know anything.

Assuming what we're hearing is true, we have to imagine that this garage will eventually get demolished and then replaced by a row of new homes. We imagine that whoever buys the property will try for a zoning variance to build four-story homes in order to justify what will surely be incredibly high sale prices, but we wonder whether they'll get pushback because people will be so upset about the loss of the parking lot. While we're generally opposed to surface parking lots, we do appreciate the importance of garages in Center City, and the closing of this garage will have a clear impact on quality of life in this neighborhood, where parking is already at an incredible premium. We'll just have to wait and see what happens and how the neighborhood responds to whatever the future owners are planning for the property.

And as an aside, if you've never heard about the Lombard Swim Club until now and think you'd like to join, we suggest you get on the waiting list asap. Last we heard, it takes about a decade to get to the top of the list. Hey, it's easier than getting Eagles season tickets.