Most of our development coverage is tilted toward greater Center City, in case you haven’t noticed, and it’s for good reason. First, we know that most of our readers are located in or near downtown, and we want to give the people what they want. Also, the city as a whole is in the middle of a construction boom, but the majority of that boom is taking place in the middle of town. Finally, we’re located on the Graduate Hospital / Point Breeze border, so of course we’ll be a bit biased to cover projects that are closer to home, rather than those that are a bit more far flung.

That being the case, especially now as the weather warms up, it’s our pleasure to make our way out of our comfort zone and hit up some new neighborhoods. When a reader tipped us off about an upcoming project on Midvale Avenue, we were enthusiastic about taking a ride up to East Falls to enjoy some foliage in one of the city’s greener neighborhoods. We didn’t have to go too far into the neighborhood to reach our destination at 3515 Midvale Ave., which is about two blocks away (and up the hill) from Ridge Avenue. This property was used for auto repair for many years, with the amazingly named Chuck’s Garage operating here for a long time.

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In the past

If you pass by this address today, however, the old auto garage is gone and the lot is sitting vacant. A construction fence around the perimeter would seem to indicate that something new is coming soon- but what?

Current view

Developers bought this parcel, which covers over 17K sqft, a little over a year ago. They’ve been trying to work out exactly what to build since then, with a multi-family project slowly coming into focus over the course of 2020. Though the original plan called for a bit more density, the developers have settled on a five-story building with 36 apartments and three retail spaces on the first floor. Bright Common did the design work, and we expect that the new building will look a little something like this:

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Project rendering

This kind of building is the perfect addition to this stretch, maintaining commercial use on the corridor, increasing density, and not worrying about any parking whatsoever. The East Falls Regional Rail Station is just a block away, and as we mentioned, this is only a couple blocks away from Ridge Avenue and the Schuylkill River Trail. This building is being constructed by right, thanks to the fact that the property is zoned CMX-2.5, which allows greater height and density than the more common CMX-2, and also has no parking requirement. When we express a desire to see commercial corridors downtown remapped, this is the kind of thing we’re looking for, to include some height and density to provide the necessary customer base for small businesses to thrive. This kind of building sure would look good on South Street or Point Breeze Avenue, don’t you think?