Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: an unremarkable former commercial building in a changing neighborhood is torn down and replaced by apartments. OK, we’re aware that we tell this story about once a week or so, but we are here yet again to tell the tale of 909-17 N. 26th St. Parcel A, where Graveley Roofing is currently undergoing demolition. This one block stretch between Poplar & Girard is absolutely teeming with activity, so it comes as no surprise to us that things are moving forward for this former low-rise structure, even though it’s been a long road to get here.

Rendering shows off a moody black color palette
Graveley Roofing in the past, looking east from N. 26th St.
Demo now well underway
Another view from the past, looking north up N. 26th St.
Demo almost complete on the front side of the building
View of the Bambrey St. side of the property

We had an idea of what to expect in the past, as a few renderings and drawings popped up a couple of years back, courtesy of Kore Design Architecture. A five-story building with some throwback flair was in the works back then, but it seems as if things have been downsized slightly. When we previewed the project in 2020, we anticipated a five-story building with 49 units, no retail, and 18 underground parking spots, but we noted that a variance would be needed, so the plans were not set in stone. Zoning documents show that changes did indeed occur, with the addition of some setbacks to reduce the impact of the height of the building. Also interesting, it looks like the ZBA required a density reduction to 40 units, but the permits show 49 units, as previously proposed. Not sure exactly what happened there, but we won’t complain about the additional density.

Still some ways to go on the backside of the lot
Drawing shows a stately look, with parking access to the left
Another view of the old plans
New drawing shows 5th floor setback
Site plan shows building shape and parking layout

If this is built similar to the rendering, this should be a rather striking addition to the neighborhood. The prominent cornice and the black brick give a feel that is rarely seen in new buildings these days. And speaking of new buildings, 26th Street is absolutely teeming with projects. Immediately across from the site, Fairmount North has recently wrapped, with 100+ units and ground floor commercial space for the former vacant lot. Just up the street at 26th & Girard, the Bordeaux (which we highlighted recently on our Instagram Reels neighborhood series) is close to completion. As we covered earlier this year, this will bring 16 more units and some additional retail space to the area. So on just this one block, almost 170 units are joining the fold. The Fairmount/Brewerytown border has been undergoing a transformation for a while now, and this street attests to just how quickly and dramatically things can change.

View of the Canno-designed Fairmount North across the street from the ongoing demo
The Ambit-designed Bordeaux almost finished on the corner