Student housing has inexorably marched north, west, and south from Penn and Drexel, spreading to various degrees into Mantua, Walnut Hill, Spruce Hill, Powelton Village, Squirrel Hill, and Kingsessing. These types of projects have been slower to move into neighborhoods in Southwest, but in the last few years we’ve definitely seen an uptick in construction south of Baltimore Avenue as other areas have grown more saturated. We’ve even been surprised by some of the projects that have popped up, including a sizable apartment building on the 5000 block of Warrington Avenue, with “amazing views” of the Media/Elwyn rail tracks.
Today we have news of a smaller but still significant project just around the corner from this building. 913 S. 51st St. is a double-wide property that was owned by the same family for decades until being swapped around by developers over the last couple years. The current owners seem like the final owners, as they’re now looking to redevelop the property and intend to tear down the existing two-story home and replace it with a ten-unit building. We have to think that this building will target the same students living in the aforementioned building on Warrington Avenue.
In case you’re wondering, the property at the corner of 51st & Beaumont is not included in this development. It is a private garden which is owned by a near neighbor and it appears it will continue to be used as such. Likewise, the worn warehouse around the corner is also not a part of this project- it’s actually a music venue called Beaumont Wherehouse and this weird West Philly spot will hopefully stick around for many years to come.
While we were in the area, we spied these two contemporary homes on the 5000 block of Beaumont and figured that they were also student housing, but we were mistaken. In fact, these homes were built as for-sale affordable product a handful of years ago through NSP and they are owner occupied units. While these homes certainly don’t fit into the architectural context of the older homes in the area, the fact that they are easily mistaken for student housing is actually a cool feature and another way to push back against the potential stigma of living in an affordable unit. We’re also really pleased that these units are here, helping to preserve some diversity in an area that looks like it’s going to continue to change dramatically in the coming years.