Another Student Housing High Rise Coming Soon on North Broad?

There’s been a church at the southeast corner of Broad & Jefferson since shortly before the Civil War, with the Incarnation Protestant Episcopal Church making its home here for about a century. We don’t know what that church looked like, as it was torn down in the 1960s and replaced by a new edifice, the current home of the Mount Olive Holy Temple. As churches go, this is not one of the finer structures you’ll find, though we always have an appreciation for buildings that loudly and proudly announce the era in which they were built. In this case, this building lays claim to late 1960s and early 1970s architecture just as clearly as Boston City Hall.

View of the church
Boston City Hall. Worse than Philadelphia City Hall. Image from Wikipedia.

While that unfortunate building in Boston is sure to remain for decades to come, the church at Broad & Jefferson will soon be demolished as vertical development continues on North Broad, near Temple. Bock Development Group  has put this property under agreement and are pursuing a plan to build a 19-story tower with 225 apartments, roughly 5K sqft of retail, and 21 parking spaces. Given the scale of the project, it went before Civic Design Review this month, which provided us with access to some details about the project and some renderings from Cecil Baker + Partners. Check ’em out.

Project rendering
From the other direction
Closer look

Does this building look familiar to you? If so, maybe you’re noticing its similarities to another project, located just a block away. Nest at 1324 is an 18-story building that was finished quite recently, owned by the same developer and designed by the same architect. Remember, we called your attention to this building the other week when we wrote about plans to redevelop the Legendary Blue Horizon building next door.

Nest at 1324, a block away

For reasons that we don’t quite understand, 1324 N. Broad St. was zoned CMX-2.5 (low-density mixed-use) when the project was proposed in 2016. Since then, the parcel has been remapped to the much more permissive and appropriate CMX-4, which would have allowed something quite similar to what was built there as a matter of right. Somehow, 1451 N. Broad St. was not remapped with the western side of the street and it’s still zoned CMX-2.5, meaning the developers will be going back to the ZBA to get permission to build this project. Having the precedent of the project across the street can only help in this department, though we do wish that the new project would do more to differentiate itself from the building down the block. Maybe we’ll feel differently once this building (hopefully) gets built, as the two similar designs could help knit the blocks together as a gateway leading to Temple’s campus. Or maybe it’ll look goofy, having two similar buildings so close to each other. Ask us again in a couple years and we’ll have a better idea.