Hundreds of Units Will Appear Next to Quaker Building on Poplar

If you stand at 8th & Poplar, the first thing you’ll notice is the Quaker building, an old warehouse originally built for Strawbridge & Clothier in 1918, just a block to your the west. The building not only catches the eye because of its size, but also because of its poor condition, with the windows boarded up and the facade covered in graffiti. Fortunately, this building is on its way toward redevelopment into a project called “The Poplar,” which will consist of 350 apartments, retail space, and over a hundred parking spots. We told you about this plan from Post Brothers back in 2017, lauding the reuse of the property and excited about the new density in the area. We were shocked when the ZBA ruled against the project, and then thrilled when the courts overruled the ZBA decision about a year ago. Given the complexity of the project, it makes sense that the developers are still going through permitting, and that’s why the building still looks so rough.

Current view

Looking at the building from 8th & Poplar, it’s also notable that there are two sizable vacant lots immediately next door, separated from the property by elevated regional rail tracks. When we last covered this property, we mentioned those lots, saying they “could eventually get redeveloped as an extension of the energy in Northern Liberties meeting the new vibrancy created by a renovated Quaker building. This is, of course, projecting several years into the future as the redevelopment at 9th & Poplar is going to take some time to execute.” It turns out we were sort of right and sort of wrong here, as the vacant lots will indeed get redeveloped, it just won’t need to wait until the Quaker building gets renovated- it will probably happen concurrently.

Turns out, the two lots are also owned by Post Brothers, and the developer is apparently looking to create a new micro-neighborhood on the 800 and 900 blocks of Poplar. To go along with their project in the Quaker building, Post Brothers also wanted to build a pair of new 11-story buildings on the vacant lots next door. These buildings will include a combined 388 apartments, 82 parking spaces, and 6,500 sqft of retail space on Poplar Street. Combined with the Poplar, that’ll be roughly 700 new units for this area. And that’s a staggering number of new residents for any part of town, let alone an area that hasn’t seen market rate development in decades.

Because the property is zoned for commercial-industrial use, it will need ZBA approval before it becomes a reality, so it’s possible the project will go through some changes before it gets started. Adding another layer to things, it will also need to go to Civic Design Review because of the size of the project. That inconvenience is a win for us and for you, since we can share the information from the CDR packet, including renderings from Coscia Moos.

Site plan
Project rendering from the east
Rendering from under the tracks
Aerial view

Looks good to us, let’s get started tomorrow.

  • Jack Brown

    This will be great for the area. Good thing that NLNA, some of the nimbyist nimbys out there, won’t have a say, and this will go to the west poplar RCO, who will likely ask for community jobs, etc, and a Community benefits agreement, but that won’t be a problem. People are tired of everything remaining the same, and the people who live in west poplar are either in subsidized housing or own their home due to a pha program of some sort, so it’s not like they’re gonna be “pushed out”. The community there was happy about the Quaker Oats development, but I know it irritated NLNA. HAHAHAHAHA

    • chris

      NLNA is up there with Society Hill. Its amazing how they attempt to tear apart so many fantastic projects. If they don’t like density or development, Philadelphia is not the city for them.

  • ZBIZZ

    Thank gawd this is moving forward finally. I don’t really like that cement facade on the east rendering, but the rest of this looks great and is a welcome addition to such a blighted area.

  • Karig2

    BUILD IT!!! The sooner, the better. Looks great. Huge improvement.

  • NFA

    Yes please. May I have another?

  • Eternalbem

    “close to transportation” amirite?

  • Jayfar

    My understanding, per philly dot com, is that the two lots will not be developed by Post Brothers. That said, this project will certainly be complementary to Post Bros’ Quaker Building renovation.
    –quote–
    An affiliate of Philadelphia-based Hightop Real Estate & Development, which is completing apartment and rowhouse projects throughout the city, has plans for a pair of residential high-rises in the city’s Poplar section, one of them covering most of a city block.

    APOM Holdings LLC, which shares an address with Hightop, is scheduled to present plans for the 388-unit project at Ninth and Poplar Streets to the Philadelphia Civic Design Review board next month, according to the panel’s website.

    APOM is also listed in documents posted to the board’s website as the beneficial owner of the 1.5 acre site, indicating that the Hightop-affiliate has a deal to buy the property from its current owner, developer Post Bros.

    https://www.philly.com/real-estate/housing/hightop-poplar-apartment-tower-post-bros-quaker-20190221.html