Mixed-use Building Coming on Ridge, But No Community Center Downstairs

In Francisville, Ridge Ave is slowly turning around. Let us say it again, that redevelopment along Ridge in Francisville is happening, consistently, it seems, but slowly. Near Broad Street, the JBJ Soul Homes development from Project H.O.M.E. represents the largest development on the corridor, but there are several smaller projects coming online deeper in the neighborhood. And more are on the way.

Perhaps now is the time for 1608 Ridge Ave. to transform from a vacant lot into a mixed-use building with commercial on the ground floor and 14 apartments above. We first told you about the plans, which included a community center on the ground floor, complete with a rendering from Harman Deutsch, about a year and half ago.

View of the lot. Faded old zoning notice still posted

Old rendering

Back then, the vision was for only 12 apartments, but the number of units has jumped up by two. When it went before the ZBA in the spring of 2013 the project was denied, and a revised project got approval this past winter. In 2013, the lot was acquired by the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation. That community center must have been seen as a possible new headquarters for FNCDC meetings and other activities. But, according to the new permit, it seems that idea has passed.

It would join some other projects that you could reach with a 200-hundred yard dash. A block up at 1724 Ridge Ave., a long vacant lot at the corner of Vineyard St. is currently being developed. That building will be mixed-use, four-stories, with three apartments. There is also 1623 Ridge Ave., purchased it seems, by developers at a 2013 sheriff's sale, a lot at Ogden & Ridge that sat vacant for years and is now home to a four-story building. And there's more coming soon.

So slowly, yes, but solidly, it seems too, development is coming on Ridge Avenue in Francisville. Just as we predicted! Sort of.