Some New West Philly Homes Fitting In Better Than Others

On the stately streets of the Spruce Hill and Walnut Hill sections of West Philadelphia, some new construction projects show various development approaches. Last fall, we posted about 245 S. 45th St., which was undergoing demolition after years of vacancy. The property, which is owned by Glasberg Properties, is now slated for 15 rental units and will look significantly different from the residential block surrounding it. As you can see, the lot is double the width of typical building on that street.

Current view

Luckily, we were able to talk to the contractors on-site and snap a shot of the basic drawings for the building. We were told that their office may have a more detailed visual on what to expect but we're still waiting for them to send something our way.

A shadowy black and white elevations drawing. Note the height of the building which won't match the neighboring structures

Half the porch roof is missing

One interesting architectural problem for these developers is on the left side of the building, where there is half of a vaulted porch roof on the neighboring building. The new building, which is in-line with the others on the block with the same setback, should address the neighboring porch, perhaps with a half-vault of its own. But that's not reflected in the drawing. Each of the building's front units will have their own little porch area, but the building won't have a typical West Philly porch like its neighbors. It should be interesting to see how the new building will fit into its surroundings once the facade goes up.

Just two blocks away, at 223 S. 46th St., a new home is on the market for $650K, which is a pretty high price point considering other similar but much older houses on the same block are fetching around $500,000. On the other hand, this house is different because it's new construction, but still retains the look that the neighborhood is known for. The builder opted for a roof deck instead of a fourth floor, which we don't see as often around West Philly.

Not too different from its almost century-old neighbors

Back in 2012

Further down the street

Another block toward 46th Street Station, a modular construction project on the southwest corner of 46th and Sansom is finishing up. We last updated on this site back in April. Since then, the facade of the buildings have finished and construction fences are gone… except for that last lot. It seems like the builder has plans for it but no permits yet. Hopefully, the eventual corner construction will cover up that boring vinyl party wall which currently defines the building's northern side. While the architecture of this building is nothing to celebrate, the main issue we have are those awful meters located front and center on each new building. It's a pretty sad sight. In terms of pricing, the new 2 and 3 bedroom units are on the market for $1500 and $1900 respectively.

View from the north. Note the corner lot still enclosed in construction fence

All of these projects are quite different, but what's clear is that the market in West Philly is getting stronger, both from a for-sale and rental perspective. With new construction inching further north and west, it seems like the market may finally be getting strong enough to warrant construction on some of the larger lots near 46th Street Station, many of which are zoned for high density. This sounds like a great recipe for transit-oriented development to us.  

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