Across the street from the Wawa at 21st & Hamilton and behind the Rodin Museum, perhaps you've noticed a rather large pit with cars parked at the bottom. This section of the former City Branch could someday be part of a sunken rail park. And some of that space could also soon be covered by a new seven-story mixed-use building with residential units and "ground-floor retail."

We love Wawa

Across the street from Wawa

While any proposal is still in its early stages, it's not the first time developers have looked to build here. In the past, a twelve story building was proposed here, but those plans were never realized. Most recently, the area was pegged as an area ripe with future potential during the Phila2035 planning process, as an area that could be developed with streets, open space and more—with 1.6M sqft of redevelopment potential.

Pit in foreground, museum in background

Looking into the depths

It's with an eye toward some of that potential that Cross Properties is looking at building a new project here. Last month, they met with the SGCA and detailed their plans for 101 apartment units with about 30 parking spaces, along with a restaurant on the first floor and some additional retail. The parking would be located below grade, which is provided for nicely by the distance between 21st Street and the bottom of the hole. They are still working out several details of the project, but are looking to get their approvals in order by the end of the year. Here's hoping we can get a rendering by then.

If this project happens, it will make for a construction-heavy intersection in the coming years. Remember, Rodin Square, the mega Whole Foods and residential development replacing the former Best Western, is set to go up right across the street. Also, consider how the Parkway area has undergone multimillion dollar improvements over the past few years. That includes improvements to infrastructure, with things like streetscaping and new paving with bike lines, renovations to the Rodin museum, and the construction of the new Barnes Foundation. Last year the City even hosted community meetings to collect public input for More Park, Less Way, an action plan to make the Parkway just that.

With more development, more people, and more retail coming soon near the Parkway, this area is poised for major growth in the next few years. So much for a sleepy museum district.