As baseballs once again disappear into the dark October skies of South Philadelphia, with throngs as loud as jackhammers celebrating birthday bombs, we sometimes require a little stroll to settle ourselves after a big game. So often, those strolls lead to discoveries that are almost as exciting as a lead-off homer. At the corner of 9th & Vine in Chinatown, we were surprised to see a very busy job site where there have been plans for five floors of affordable senior housing. This site was active as a parking lot as recently as this spring when we visited another 10-unit project next door. But parking is now a thing of the past, as first floor walls are already rising on site.

A look at the bright and busy corner of 9th & Vine, facing SE
An aerial shows what's to come
The view from 9th St., with the 10-unit project to the right
The view from Vine St. will look very different soon enough

These 51 units will be income-restricted and targeted to seniors, with a triangular design from WRT. Pennrose, one of the biggest affordable housing developers in the region, is leading the charge here, with a community room, landscaping, and surface parking adding to the neighborhood-focused approach. Let’s scope out the plans of this contemporary design a bit more closely to get a better vision of what’s ahead.

The view of the 9th St. facade from Vine St.
A closer look at the brick-fronted ground level
A view of the more secluded courtyard area
Site plan shows how parking will sit mostly behind the building

While we aren’t exactly enamored with the panel-heavy upper levels, we are very happy to see this project in the works. This is a bit of a tricky lot, thanks to the Broad-Ridge spur that runs underneath the site, leading to the triangular building. To have this many units in such a central location dedicated to serving the community definitely is a huge win as well. This site is also incredibly transit accessible, with the Chinatown Broad-Ridge station just steps away. Additionally, the long-awaited PATCO reopening at Franklin Square is charging ahead, with work on the headhouse now well above ground.

Access to the Broad-Ridge Spur at the south end of the site
A current look at the construction progress of Franklin Square Station
An aerial rendering shows off the glassy headhouse

We wish we had more news on the rest of the huge parking lot, where other big plans have yet to materialize. With even more new residents, more transit connectivity, and perhaps even a new highway cap just a block away, we hope that we see some movement on this surface lot soon. We don’t love surface parking anywhere, let alone so close to transit – so seeing something rise here would be a welcome sight indeed. Until then, we’ll continue to gently welcome the Diamondbacks to town as Game Two nears.