Early this morning, we were passing through Mantua and spotted a construction fence on the south side of the 3400 block of Wallace Street. Across the street and down the block, we then saw formwork, announcing another project nearby. This made lots of sense to us, as vacant land in this area has become increasingly attractive to investors looking to build student housing. And we'd bet that's exactly what will happen here.
The 1400 block of Bainbridge Street has seen incredible change in the last decade. The primary driver of change on this block has been the high-end Artisan homes, which have risen in two phases over several years.
Close to Broad Street, two of the largest homes in the neighborhood have been under slow but steady construction for over a year, on a lot where a large auto garage once stood. The last time we checked in on this project, framing was just getting underway. Now, the homes are pretty much framed out.
A reader asked us on Twitter about this project, suggesting that some other sites have stated that the homes are only 1,900 sqft in size. Obviously, that ain't the case. Perhaps because they saw the conversation or maybe by total coincidence, representatives from Landmark Architecture reached out to us, clarifying some of the info for these homes. They will each have 16,000 sqft of interior space and another 4,000 sqft of deck space. The homes will have six or seven bedrooms, and eight or nine bathrooms. Amenities include parking, an au pair suite, basement basketball courts, and a swimming pool. And we got a rendering, too!
As you can see, new construction has appeared at 1925 Titan St., replacing an old row home. They didn't have to do this, but they were kind enough to maintain the cornice line at the second story before they set back the third floor. As a result, it doesn't look totally ridiculous like so many homes with a similar setback. Down the block, 1944 Titan St. has seen construction proceed at a brisk pace, and lacks a setback because it has a previously existing three story home next door. It's currently on the market at a price of $384K. We hope they get what they're asking.
In the background of the second photo above, you can see another home framed on the other side of 20th Street.
Now, a new double-wide home is rising in the place of these buildings.
Huge house getting framed
As you can see, this thing is gonna be a big boy. We can't wait to see what kind of finishes are included in the facade, and whether it takes on more of a classic or contemporary look. With Shimi Zaken as the architect, our bet's on the latter. But we'll check back over the summer, and should have the answers to those questions. And more.
That gap will soon be filled by an additional five homes which we would guess will strongly resemble the homes pictured immediately above. A fence is up and foundations have been poured, suggesting that construction could soon get underway.
In addition, there's one more foundation on the block's eastern side, next to the framed out duplex. When all these projects are finished, it will represent a dramatic transformation for this block. Back in 2007, there were zero homes on this block, and a stone yard took up a big chunk of its western end.
If you've been to Point Breeze lately, you've probably noticed that there's a ton of construction going on all over the neighborhood. Heading up 18th Street the other day, we kept bumping into projects so figured we'd pass along some updates. First, we look at 1334 S. 18th St., which was previously a vacant lot. Just to the north of this construction site, Community Ventures built some affordable housing units a couple years back.
1334 S. 18th St.
Now framed out to two stories, this property will eventually be a single family home. Developers Oakwood Elm LLC bought the corner property last year for $55K which is a pretty good price considering that it's allowing a by-right build of a home that will sell for over $350K. The vacant lot immediately to the south, in case you're wondering, is owned by the City. So look for it to get developed really soon. Or maybe in ten years. We just don't know. One perk for whoever ends up living here is that they'll be mere steps from the still newish cafe, the Pharmacy.
In Powelton Village, tucked amongst a row of older row homes, three new single-family homes are currently being constructed where once stood a vacant unkempt lot for many years at 42nd & Baring. The lots were owned for decades by Drexel University, which wisely decided to unload them in 2012.
In the past
The string of three lots back up to Drexel's Vidas Athletic Complex and was purchased in June 2012 for $148K by North 42nd St LLC along with another lot down the street. So far the three-story homes have been framed out and, notably feature third floor setbacks to "blend in" with the two story homes on the block. Though without front porches, they'll never really fit in with the surrounding housing stock.
Despite the fact that it's one of our favorite neighborhoods in town, East Kensington is admittedly a mixed bag. Some blocks are wonderful, filled with occupied homes. Other blocks are mixed, with a smattering of vacant lots or blighted buildings mixed in with newer and older housing stock. And other blocks just look rough. Take, for example, the 2000 block of E. Fletcher St. a few years ago.
In the past
Just a couple of years ago, this block contained a handful of homes, a stalled project, some blighted buildings, and a solid dose of vacant land. But time has been kind to this block. The stalled project finished last year, and contains apartments that listed for rent at $2,100/mo. And one of the vacant lots is currently under construction.
For years, a home has rotted a mere block away from Palmer Park, the burgeoning Frankford Avenue, and the excellent Steap & Grind. 14 E. Palmer St. was somewhat interesting looking from the outside, set back from the sidewalk with a little front yard, like a handful of other homes in the neighborhood. But according to the listing, it was in "deplorable condition," with structural problems with the rear wall and porch roof. It was on the market last year for just under $50K and was ultimately sold for over $70K. Not bad.
In the past
In the last few months, the old home was mercifully demolished, and now a new single-family home is rising in its place. Looking at this new structure next to the previously existing buildings provides a study in contrasts.
We've covered projects in Northern Liberties large and small, and have suggested that as vacant land becomes more scarce, developers will start to look for more and more out-of-the-box locations to build. We confess, we wouldn't have expected to see a project rise at 82 E. Laurel St., but that's exactly what's happening. As you can see on the map, this location sits in the eastern part of the neighborhood, pretty much next to I-95.
Map of the project
A sign on the site, where groundbreaking took place recently, advertises it as the Iron Place Townhomes project. Checking out the project's website, we learn that it will entail the construction of nine new townhomes designed by Abitare. Named after a small street that's parallel to the project, it will be constructed in two phases. The homes will contain three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and garage parking. The first home is under agreement, and the other three homes included in the first phase are on the market for $490K.