We were zipping around Francisville, snapping photos of all the development in the neighborhood, and were surprised to see a newly framed home at 1743 Cambridge St.

From a distance

Closer look

Doing a little research, we discovered that Concord Business Management LLC is building a duplex here, with a parking space in the rear. It’s unclear whether these units will be condos or rentals, but there’s no question that this building is an important addition to this block. The reason it’s so important? There’s basically nothing else here.

Looking east from the new home

Four homes can be found on the eastern end of this block, and then there are twelve (!) vacant lots in a row before you get to this new construction. We always figured that this block was owned mostly by City agencies, but it turns out we were way off. Most of the lots are owned by different individuals and developers, with some having ownership stakes that date back several decades. So why has nobody done anything with all these lots? It’s simple, they’re all too narrow.

The duplex under construction is 24′ wide. The homes at the end of the block are each 15′ wide. All of the lots, however, are a mere 12′ wide. And while a handful of homes out there make it work at that width, you simply don’t find any new construction homes going up with those dimensions.

The only way that a builder can make it work on this block is to combine two lots to build an extra wide property, like the one currently under construction. Looking at Trend, it seems that a developer will soon be doing that with two properties on the eastern end of the block, next to the existing homes. As for all the other lots, it could be a long time before we see them look any different than they do today. Kind of a shame, if you ask us.