Chinatown has been an under-the-radar development hotbed as of late, with proposals in the works, a contentious landmark in store for a reinvention, and the small matter of a potential 76ers arena at the current home of the Fashion District. None of this really comes as a surprise (sports arena notwithstanding), as the central location and copious surface parking lots are practically begging for an upgrade in many instances. One of those instances is at the Patriot Parking lot at 225-39 N. 13th St. in the northwest corner of the neighborhood. This typical surface parking lot takes up the north half of the block south of Summer St. between 13th St. and Winters Ct., separating it from rowhouse neighbors to the east.

An aerial of the surface parking lot at 225-39 N. 13th St.

Thanks to a recent zoning document, we knew there were plans to combine the lots here, ostensibly to prepare for a future development. Early this week, however, while browsing the daily zoning reports over our morning coffee, we saw a permit for 81 rooms of visitor accommodations over ground floor commercial space – seemingly setting the stage for a seven-story hotel. Details are limited, but thanks to another zoning document, we have at least a rough idea of what’s planned.

Site plan shows how the building will be positioned on the property
An elevation drawing of the west facade gives some hints to the design

There’s a bit more ambiguity immediately across the street, where another hotel mystery has been on-going for years. The former NFL Films building (amongst many other former uses) sits to the north at 230 N. 13th St., where plans for an overbuild and an AC Hotel were in the works. Designs called for a 12-story overbuild that didn’t meet the existing two-story structure in the most elegant fashion.

View looking southeast from the corner of 13th & Summer, slightly south of Vine St.
Former NFL Films/Big Brothers, Big Sisters building across 13th St.
Elevation drawings show 12 additional floors over the original two

Will we see one of these rise soon? Both? None? We honestly couldn’t tell you, though we would love to see both get started sooner than later as Philadelphia prepares for a huge influx of visitors for the 2026 World Cup. While the region currently has slightly below 60,000 rooms, having worthy accommodations for a global audience in Center City seems like it should be a priority, especially at this location, just steps from the Convention Center and transit connections. Given the approval and construction timelines, any hotel that is to be ready for then would need to get moving sooner rather than later.