For at least a decade, 143 W. Girard Ave., one of the more interesting buildings in the area, has sat vacant. You've probably passed by here at some point and wondered about it yourself, since its signage is both prominent and memorable. We've probably had half dozen readers ask us about the "Lou's Crab Pad" building over the years, wondering why it's remained vacant and when it will be redeveloped. And to those who have been wondering, it seems the time has finally come.
In the past
Several readers gave us the heads up in recent days that the two buildings on the corner of Mascher & Girard are being demolished. While we're happy to see that this property is being redeveloped, we're pretty bummed that a building with such character will be departing this realm. With the demolition of the two buildings here, it of course begs the question of what's coming next. Regrettably, only demolition permits have been pulled to this point. But we did a little digging around and discovered some elevations drawings on the website for Ian Smith Design Group.
A hundred years ago, it made plenty of sense to have warehouses and factories located in the middle of residential areas. The Washington Avenue of the past, with its lumber mills and coal yards, makes today's forklift-laden obstacle course seem extremely tame by comparison. When the Philadelphia Traction Company had warehouses at 20th & Wharton over a hundred years ago, it seems unlikely that anybody batted an eye. But today, they don't belong there at all. Which is why we were so excited to tell you a few months ago that one of the warehouses would be disappearing and forty-eight homes would be appearing in its place. And it's why we're so excited today to tell you that the second warehouse could disappear as well.
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.