Saint Joseph’s Hospital used the north side of the 1600 block of Cambridge Street as a surface parking lot for a long time, and it was no big deal. The hospital needed the parking and Francisville wasn’t exactly a development hotbed. Times have changed though, on both accounts. With parent company NPHS dealing with financial issues that ultimately resulted in bankruptcy, the hospital closed its doors last year, thus making the surface lots rather superfluous. And we don’t need to tell you that Francisville has experienced a major resurgence over the last few years, creating a situation in which surface parking was no longer the highest and best use of the for these properties.

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Overhead view, in the past

About a year ago, we visited this block and told you that NPHS had sold off the parking lot in pieces, to different developers, and to expect construction on several of these parcels in the near future. Checking back today, we see one project is seemingly complete, with another one moving along nicely. At 1614 Cambridge St., a duplex appears to be done. We don’t see any listings for the property, so perhaps it’s a rental. Next door, at 1616 Cambridge St., developers are building a 16 unit building which will almost certainly be for rent. That project still have several months of work to go before it’s done.

Relatively new duplex
16 unit building under construction

But that’s not all! You’ll notice, there’s a zoning notice at the end of the block, at the corner of 17th & Cambridge. Last month, developers went to the ZBA with a plan to subdivide this property and build half a dozen triplexes which we assume will have frontage on Cambridge Street. The project got approved, so look for another 18 units to rise on this block in the coming months.

Zoning notices at the corner of 17th & Cambridge

Of course, all of these projects are just a warmup for the main event, the residential conversion of the former hospital, on the north side of the street.

Construction at former hospital

MM Partners is working on this, fresh off their Pyramid Lofts project in Brewerytown, also an adaptive reuse. Given the impressive finished product over there and the developer’s strong track record, we have no doubt that the Saint Joseph’s conversion will be a great success. Just think of all those new customers for the businesses on Ridge Avenue…