The Fitler Square neighborhood often gets lumped in with the Rittenhouse neighborhood, perhaps due to the fact that Center City Residents Association has represented the interests of the entire area for decades. Further cementing the connection, Rittenhouse and Fitler Square have been part of the same local historic district since the mid-1990s. Still, Fitler Square has its own distinct character and personality, with a mix of handsome brownstones, smaller but adorable homes on narrow streets, a collection of neighborhood small businesses, and an avalanche of strollers at Schuylkill River Park and the Fitler Square park. As the neighborhood has been established as a desirable location for a very long time, we typically don’t see much by way of development around these parts. So we were pretty surprised over the weekend, when we discovered several ongoing projects on the same block of Waverly Street.
The project at 2401 Waverly St. is perhaps the most apparent, since it’s happening on a property that measures nearly 5,000 sqft and it extends all the way to Pine Street, with views of Fitler Square. Per Hidden City, this property was once a studio for Norman Rice, a mid-century architect. Interior images of the building show numerous wonderful details, but we don’t imagine that anyone particularly appreciated the outside of the building, especially the row of garage doors on 24th Street. Whether people liked the building or not, it’s now been torn down. And while you might expect at least three new homes on a parcel of this size, it turns out it will only be used for a single home- one that will clearly be one of the sweetest homes in the neighborhood when it’s done getting built.
But that’s not nearly all for this block. Someone bought 2406 Waverly St. about a year and a half ago for just over $550K, and looking at the listing, this place was in a condition that absolutely justified the purchase price. Nevertheless, you can see the home has been completed demoed and now a three story home is the next step for the property. This is a similar scene to what has played out next door, where there were once a pair of attractive two-story pastel-colored homes, but a couple of three story homes have appeared in their place. 2408 Waverly St. is still under construction and hasn’t been listed for sale, but 2410 Waverly St. sold at the end of last year for $1.25M. When you consider that as a potential sale price for 2406 Waverly St., the initial investment starts to make some sense.
It’s a bit of a different story at 2419 Waverly St., which doesn’t appear to be the work of a developer at all. Instead, it appears that the person that’s owned the property for decades is looking for a little extra living space, so they’re adding a third floor to their home. The design calls for a mansard roof, which we’ve seen on other properties on this very block. In fact, 2427 Waverly St. is one of our favorite third floor additions in town.
Finally, let’s turn our attention to 2428 Waverly St., a three-story building at the corner. From what we can tell, someone bought the property at the end of last year, paying $760K. At that purchase price, demolition and new construction isn’t practical, nor is a gut renovation, so this appears to be a smaller renovation effort that includes some new windows, a new bay window, and a roof deck. We figure there will be some interior work as part of the project as well.
As we said, Fitler Square and Rittenhouse are part of a historic district, which means that any project within the boundaries of the district requires permission from the Historic Commission. Interestingly, the 2400 Waverly Street sits juuuust outside the district, which makes it considerably easier for developers and property owners to perform exterior work on their properties. This gives us the feeling that these sorts of projects will continue to crop up along the borders of the district, but small scale projects will remain few and far between inside the district. Then again, given the sale prices we’re seeing for new construction homes without parking on the 2400 block of Waverly, maybe developers will be willing to jump through the necessary hoops to build new homes inside the historic district as well.