New Building Will Appear on Chester Avenue, Next to the Tracks

There’s an irregularly shaped parcel at 4921 Chester Ave. which measures about 1500 sqft, and you’d never know it’s there unless someone told you. The reason its existence isn’t obvious is because it sits immediately adjacent to the submerged Media-Elwyn Regional Rail tracks, and its frontage is hidden by a metal fence and some jersey barriers. It’s there though, and it’s been sitting vacant for decades – but that won’t be the case for much longer.

Looking west on Chester Ave.
The site

Developers have purchased this property and are pursuing a small multi-family development at the site. The new building will rise three stories and will include six units, with a mix of one and two bedroom apartments. The property is zoned for multi-family use, and the developers are utilizing the mixed-income density bonus to get their desired density without a variance. Here’s a rendering of the project, which is being designed by CANNO.

Project rendering

This is one of only a few examples of new projects we’ve seen on this side of the Regional Rail line. While development has crept through Cedar Park in recent years, the majority of the projects we’ve seen have stuck to the other side of the tracks, both because that side is closer to Penn and University of the Sciences, and also because the tracks present a significant natural barrier for pedestrians. That being said, the project on Chester Avenue is far from the biggest bet being placed on this side of the tracks – that would be the 65-unit project a block away on the 5000 block of Springfield Avenue, which is progressing quite well.

Some nice progress a block away

We wonder just how the residents at this project or the smaller building on Chester Avenue will get around town. Will they generally walk? Will bikes or cars be the primary mode of transportation? Or will the close proximity to the aforementioned Regional Rail line result in greater use of mass transit? The 49th Street stop is mere steps away from 4921 Chester Ave., and the trains on that line will get you to the Penn Medicine stop in 5 minutes, 30th Street Station in 8 minutes, and Suburban Station in a mere 13 minutes. That’s insanely convenient, and we wonder whether this feature could spur additional development in the immediate area.

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