The 40th & Lancaster intersection is best known for two things- the chaotic traffic pattern that’s produced by the intersection of 40th Street, Lancaster Avenue, and Haverford Avenue, and the handsome and historic West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building which is now home to a hoagie spot and a check cashing business. A less heralded but still noticeable aspect of this intersection is 3965 Lancaster Ave., a roughly 4,600 sqft parcel that’s been sitting vacant for a long time. Or at least it was sitting vacant.
Yeah, that’s a new building that’s currently under construction. Developers bought the property a little over a year ago, paying $315K. Now they’re pursuing a by-right project which includes a ground floor retail space, one apartment on the first floor, and nine apartments on the upper floors. Designblendz did the architecture work and we have to tip our hats to them for designing a building with a distinct personality. Sure, this building won’t hold a candle to the former bank building across the street, but we challenge you to find a contemporary building that does. As opposed to so many other projects we’ve seen spring up around West Philadelphia over the last half decade, at least this building will have a little pizzaz and won’t be a bleak box that utilizes the least expensive materials to try to squeeze every possible dollar out of the construction budget.
We wonder whether this project might be an indication that additional development will soon make its way to this stretch of Lancaster Avenue. We’ve detailed countless projects over the years on the blocks just to the south of here, but starting around 39th Street and pushing west, Lancaster Avenue has represented a soft northern border for student housing development. Further east (and south), Lancaster Avenue pretty much runs through Drexel’s campus and includes a mix of student housing, businesses targeting students, and a couple sizable new projects. We don’t imagine this will ever be the case this far west, but as student housing continues to boom in this part of West Philly, we suspect more buildings and businesses targeting students will start cropping up here. In other words, expect this new building to get some new neighbors sometime soon, even if we can’t yet tell you exactly where they’ll appear.