A reader reached out the other day, tipping us off to some ongoing construction on the 1600 block of Poplar Street, in Francisville. This block has seen a ton of new construction over the last decade – there were only four buildings on the north side of the block back in 2011 and one of them was sitting vacant and blighted. Today, it’s a rather different story, with numerous quadplexes rising on both sides of the block, a five unit building, and some denser projects as well. Through it all, the Southwest Nu-stop Recovery Center has continued to operate at 1609 Poplar St., offering much-needed mental health services, behavioral health services, and drug and alcohol addiction services. Might we add, they were doing these good works out of a handsome old edifice.

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In the past

You can probably guess where this is going. The organization sold the property to developers, the old building has been demoed, and a new building is rising in its place. Nu-Stop is still functioning, but has consolidated its operations to their facility in Southwest Philadelphia, on the 5600 block of Woodland Avenue. We admit, we don’t know what precipitated the sale of the property, but we sincerely hope that the proceeds will help fund the efforts of this organization, and perhaps provide it with some runway to open another facility closer to Center City.

Trinity Realty is the developer here, and this is far from their first foray in Francisville. They’ve built a couple multi-family projects on Ridge Avenue, and more relevant, they built the quadplexes at the corner of 16th & Poplar, immediately next door to this project. Interestingly, they took the approach of selling the units in those buildings as condos, and perhaps inspired by their success, they are taking a similar approach with their current project. In total, the new development will entail 21 condo units plus 1:1 parking, accessed from Cambridge Street. The developers are calling the project Sixteen Twelve Condos, identifying the development with its Cambridge Street frontage instead of Poplar Street.

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Current view
2021.09.01 1609-1613 Poplar Rendering
Project rendering
View on Cambridge

Speaking of the 1600 block of Cambridge Street, let’s take a second to appreciate the fact that nobody would have ever wanted to associate a project with this block even half a dozen years ago. Back then, half of the north side of the street was home to Saint Joseph’s Hospital while the other half of the north side and the entire south side were covered with surface parking lots. As you can see in the photo above, the south side has been completely redeveloped aside from the building currently under construction, and contains a mix of duplexes and triplexes. The hospital was converted to apartments in the last couple years, and there are plans for a second building on the rest of the parking lot in the near future. So we can certainly appreciate why the developers would want to take advantage of the Cambridge Street address, as it makes far more sense today than it did quite recently.