When the Hub on Chestnut was built almost a decade ago, it added a splash of color to the West Philly skyline and a delicious dining option in the form of Distrito. As you may or may not be aware, the project was supposed to include a second building next door at 3939 Chestnut St., but that building didn't get built, ostensibly due to tough times for the economy around 2008.
But times have changed, the real estate market is flourishing in West Philly, and the second Hub building has arrived on the scene. We haven't checked in on this project in quite some time, since construction started, but as of the end of the summer, the building looks finished.
Previously, this parcel was home to Thai Singha House for many years. The restaurant has moved across the street, and it's been replaced by a seven story building, designed by Piatt Associates. Sixty-five apartments, all one-bedrooms and studios, float over two stories of retail which are still looking for tenants. According to the building's website, studios range from $1100-$1200 per month, and one-bedroom units are $1400-$1600 per month. It's interesting that the developers opted for such small units in a building that ostensibly targets college students, a population that you'd think would want to live with roommates. Then again, we can't imagine a college experience that involves living in a fancy new apartment. These kids today, they've got it too good.
Lately, we've complained about several projects around town that eschew height or density or retail, or all of the above. And even though we don't love the look of 3939 Chestnut (hey, personal opinion), we really appreciate the fact that this building represents such an upgrade over what was here previously. Perhaps a seven story building isn't the absolute highest and best use for this property, but it's really close to it, and it's a clear upgrade over a one-story restaurant with a couple of old townhomes behind it. Good work, everyone!
Meanwhile, several years ago, we heard rumblings that another mixed-use building would eventually rise on the northwest corner of 40th & Chestnut. We wonder, now that 3939 Chestnut is finished, could this corner be next on the docket?