The vacant lot on the 1900 block of Walnut Street, across from Rittenhouse Square, has embarrassing the neighborhood for over twenty years. Over the years, a variety of possible projects have come down the pike for this property, including a large parking lot and movie theater project from the PPA.
Current view on Walnut Street
Sansom Street view
Historic buildings on Sansom Street
Some of those plans have been close to becoming a reality, but we're pretty sure none have come as close as the current proposal from Southern Land Company. We told you about this project at the beginning of the year when the details of the project were still up in the air. Back then, we showed you an image of the massing of three buildings with a small building on Walnut Street and two huge buildings on Sansom Street. Now, thanks to Skyscraperpage, we see that a totally different plan is now in the works. The developers are cooking up a plan for a 51 floor, 600' building that would include a mix of rental apartments, condos, and retail. Solomon Cordwell Buenz did the design work.
Let's start at the south, shall we? 946-48 N. 2nd St. was previously home to a pair of unfortunate old buildings, seemingly sitting vacant for many years. Borkson Properties bought the parcel last year, demoed the buildings on the site, and are now working their way through construction on a mixed-use building with four residential units and a ground-floor commercial space. According to the developer's website, the units will be offered as condos, with two 2 bedroom units and two 3 bedroom units. Sizes will range from 1,200 - 2,100 sqft.
Maybe a week ago, on our way to get some pho from Thang Long on Kensington Avenue, we spied some new construction on the 1900 block of E. Cumberland Street, about a block away. For quite some time, 1908 and 1910 E. Cumberland St. have been vacant. But developers from Callahan Ward purchased the lots earlier this year and now they're building a pair of homes here.
Homes have been framed out
We reached out to the developers and learned that they're building two homes here, by right. Each home will have about 2,200 sqft of living space, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and large rear yards. Look for list prices in the low to mid $300K range. Because the project was done by-right, they didn't have their architects put together any fancy renderings, but you can already get a decent idea of what these homes will look like when they're done.
Next to the new homes, we wondered whether more development might be forthcoming.
Lots next door
Only one of the four lots next door have changed hands more recently than 1982, and that one was purchased by developers in 2008. So unless some other developers get creative and sleuth out the current owners, look for these lots to remain as they are for the time being.
What a slog it's been for the northwest corner of 17th & South. For years, this large and prominent lot sat vacant.
In the past
It was therefore with great excitement that, in the summer of 2011, we shared the news that developers were planning a new mixed-use building for this address. It took almost a year for them to get approvals from the ZBA, and then near neighbors appealed the project, putting it on hold. Finally, in the beginning of 2014, construction began on this nine-unit building and we told you that 7-11 would be leasing the ground floor space. But the construction process was slow, stalling completely by the time the summer rolled around. The building sat, mostly framed, for months, and then construction started up again in October. A little over a year later, the building looks like it's finished and the retail tenant is getting close to opening. The Slurpee machines are in place, and the awnings went up this week.
As East Kensington continues to see development on through streets like Amber and Coral, the side streets are also getting in on the act. We were meandering around the neighborhood last week and noticed some action on E. Letterly Street between Amber and Coral. A new home at 2084 E. Letterly St. was the first thing that caught our attention, perhaps because of the vinyl siding that's visible from Amber Street. The fact that it looms a bit over the neighboring homes may have also had something to do with it, good thing for that third floor setback! </sarcasm>
Nah, it really was just the vinyl that made us notice the home
This home has replaced a vacant lot and is currently under agreement at a list price of $270K. That price seems a little low for East Kensington, though the 14' width of the lot may have something to do with what someone's willing to pay here.
You can see in the image above there's more construction down the block.
A decade ago, the mostly vacant lot on the northwest corner of 2nd & Wildey fit right in. Northern Liberties was on the way up, but there was still so much vacancy everywhere. As the years have rolled off the calendar, you know the story. Liberties Walk; The Piazza; Dramatic improvements to the corridor on 2nd Street; Hundreds of projects from small, medium, and large sized developers. We've seen so much development in this neighborhood that it's almost odd to see any lingering vacant lots or buildings. A few, like the lot at 2nd & Wildey, have remained. But that lot is on the way out, according to a story from the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Corner of 2nd & Wildey
The story tells us that How Properties has purchased the parcel, which measures about 25K sqft. Their plan calls for a fifty-five foot building with 53 apartments and ground-floor retail. The story indicates that there's a rumor that a grocery store could be the tenant but we don't buy it. Taking aside the fact that there's an Acme just up the block, a 14,500 sqft space would only accommodate a specialty store like Trader Joe's. And we have a strong feeling that TJ's would never open in a space that has no parking lot. People like driving to Trader Joe's.
The intersection of 19th & Poplar has been a nexus of sorts as Francisville has seen incredible development over the last several years. We've seen several condo projects built, a collection of homes just to the north and south, and a collection of one-off projects to boot. Over the summer, we told you about plans for "the last two lots at 19th & Poplar," discussing a two-duplex project on the southeast corner which was actually withdrawn from the ZBA earlier this month. But just a few months later, we have news of a project at 1822-24 Poplar St., just down the block. Previously these parcels were a long-blighted building and a vacant lot.
In the past
Now, construction is underway.
Construction site plus looking west
Previously, developers proposed building two triplexes here and they took the project to the ZBA. But somewhere along the line they decided against it and now they're building duplexes. This will fit in well with the row of duplexes down the street which we're pretty sure were sold off as condos. We expect the same thing here.
It wasn't so long ago the the 600 block of N. 3rd Street was dominated by a big surface parking lot and a few large buildings. Change has come in a big way, as today it's dominated by residential development. Currently there are three different projects under construction on the block, with more on the horizon.
Northwest corner of 3rd & Green
Over a year ago, an old warehouse on the northwest corner of 3rd & Green met its maker. And for quite some time, the parcel sat vacant, waiting for new things to come. A few months back we noticed foundation work underway and after another short pause, framing began in earnest a few weeks ago. When the developers are done doing their thing, look for fifteen new homes on this site. We scoured the internet looking for renderings but only came up with outdated images of this project. But suffice to say, it'll be a big one.
Eight home project on the east side of the street
Just across the street, there's been a ton of progress on an eight home project at 609 N. 3rd St. from Bellagio Homes. We somehow haven't updated you on this project since they broke ground in the fall of 2014, but as you can see most of the homes look like they're nearly finished. Remember, only four of the eight homes in this project are visible in the photo above, since the others front Bodine Street. The homes, with architecture work from Fusa Designs, have a nice modern look to them.
It's taken some time, but work has finally gotten started on a new mixed-use building at 117 Spring Garden St., a property that sits right next to I-95 and across the street from one of Philadelphia's classiest shopping centers.
New hole in the ground
Shopping center across the street
We last visited this property at the end of 2013, describing the efforts the developers made to satisfy the desires of the NLNA by stepping down the height of the building on its northern side. A reminder, this project will mean 24 apartments, a first floor retail space (which we truly don't understand) and eight parking spots. Here, check out some renderings:
We first visited 40th & Baring in the summer of 2011, when we told you about a new 15-unit building under construction on the northwest corner. As the years have rolled along, we've probably been back to this intersection a dozen times to report demolition, renovation, and/or new construction within a block or two. A handful of years ago, there was hardly any new construction housing stock in this area. In the last five years, we'd estimate that over a hundred new apartments have come online around here.