Taking a Stroll on Chestnut Street in Spruce Hill

Between the 4200 and 4400 blocks of Chestnut Street in Spruce Hill, there are several active construction and/or redevelopment sites to be found. So last week, we took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to get a snapshot of what’s going on. We didn’t need to go much past 42nd Street to find the first project. The building at 4212 Chestnut St. is currently being demolished, work which should stretch over the next few weeks. It looks like this building was an office building of some kind, but soon it’ll be gone.

4212 Chestnut St. being torn down

We haven’t heard what exactly is going on here and came up rather empty poking around online. The property was sold in 2014 for around $1.1M to an entity with the same mailing address as the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. It traded again a few months back, as a developer based out of Southampton bought it for $1.75M. As of now, there are no permits that indicate what will replace this old building, but student housing seems like a safe bet.

4215 Chestnut Street, from the east
From the west

Looking across the street, we see 4215 Chestnut St. has seen major progress since our last visit. We covered this HOW Properties project back in October of last year and we told you that the end result will be a 28 unit condominium building with parking on the bottom. Back then, the property was merely a hole in the ground. As you can see, it’s made heaps of progress since then. The condo units are now listed for sale, with a 1 bed/1 bath listed for $244K and a 2 bed/2 bath listed for $324K. While the ground floor parking is a bummer, we’re really a fan of the cornice, although we would have preferred it at the top of the building. Anyway, here’s what the it will look like when it’s done:

Final product

Moving right along, the southeast corner of 43rd & Chestnut has been a useless vacant parcel for at least a decade. From what we have found on construction permits and property records, it looks like the developer here is a very familiar face to the University City neighborhood, University Realty. University Realty is the same company that has developed large student housing properties on the 4000 block of Chestnut Street and at the corner of 46th and Walnut and we expect this property to look similar to these, with parking on the first floor and apartments above. For now though, the property is still in site preparation mode.

4258-60 Chestnut Street as it looks today

The final redevelopment project sits on the south side of the 4300 block of Chestnut. Last year, The Netherlands, a 6 building apartment complex, suffered a serious fire, and it appears to be vacant and slowly being brought back to life by contractors. Coincidentally, these buildings were acquired around the same time by ZanderCo Management who planned to do renovations anyway. The fire undoubtedly made the process all the harder, but we wish them success in repairing the damage and rehabbing the property. These buildings certainly contribute a great deal to what makes West Philadelphia such a beautiful section of the city.

Current view of the Netherlands

Overall, we’re glad to see this neighborhood getting some attention from developers taking advantage of the relatively dense zoning designations in the area. That said, it’s a shame that the ground floors of newer buildings (unlike the Netherlands) are trending toward curb cuts for parking entrances. For whatever reason, some drivers treat Chestnut Street like a race track, and those new curb cuts aren’t going to make things any safer. Hey, now that we think about it, how about some traffic calming measures on Chestnut Street in West Philly? And while we’re at it, no more curb cuts for new construction either.

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