A few years back, we told you that a rather skinny surface parking lot at the southeast corner of 12th & Vine would be redeveloped by local developer Callahan Ward into a six-story apartment building with views of I-676. And we must give credit where it’s due, the development team, which included ISA, was able to successfully execute a 7-unit building on a 12′-wide lot, a feat we confess we didn’t imagine possible. The project was completed a couple years back, and it looks really great.

IMG_1385 (1)
Skinny apartment building at 12th & Vine

Perhaps inspired by this project or maybe just cognizant of the general lack of underdeveloped land in Center City, a different developer is currently working on a pair of projects on the same block. Historically, 245 N. 12th St. and 225-27 N. 12th St. were used for surface parking, seemingly as an extension of the larger parking lot to the east. Surface parking is generally a crummy underuse, but in this case it was extra egregious, given the dimensions of the two lots. The northern lot is 19′-wide, which allows for some parallel parking spots, and the southern lot is wide enough to pull cars in, but only deep enough to accommodate 10 spots. What a waste!

Fortunately, both properties are currently active construction sites. The southern site even has a steel deck for its first floor and what looks like a completed elevator tower in place. The northern building, being smaller and simpler, will not require either.

IMG_1386 (1)
245 N. 12th St.
225 N. 12th St.

RM Development Partners bought the properties last year and are pursuing by-right projects at each site. At 245 N. 12th St., the plans call for a four-story building with seven units. Given that the building a few doors away to the north got seven units on a skinnier footprint, they probably could have crammed a few more in there, but instead they’re opting for slightly roomier units. We get that. Down the block at 225-27 N. 12th St., the developers are going for something a bit larger, with 19 units over six stories. That’s the reason for the steel and the elevator. Check out these elevations drawings, from Coscia Moos, to give you a sense of what’s coming.

Screen Shot 2021-12-22 At 10.53.08 AM
Four stories for the smaller parcel
Screen Shot 2021-12-22 At 10.50.23 AM
Six stories for the big boy

The new building at 225 N. 12th St. will tower over the surrounding properties, while the northern building will just be a bit taller than its neighbors.

IMG_1387 (1)
Looking south on 12th Street, toward the Convention Center

That being said, there’s a hotel down the block that stands taller than either project, and the Convention Center is just steps away. If anything, we’d argue that the surrounding properties represent an underuse, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see some of them get redeveloped in the coming years. Of course, we’d be far more excited to see some of the nearby surface parking lots turn over in the near term, and that certainly seems like more a question of when rather than if at this point.