In the early 1980s, the Philadelphia Housing Authority took over several blocks of Francisville via eminent domain, bulldozed over a hundred row homes, and constructed a collection of one-story homes which were offered for sale as workforce housing. Interestingly, despite the fact that the homes were rather small, they were located on sizable lots, with front yards big enough for parking and even bigger rear yards. By all accounts, this program was a success, as it provided affordable for-sale new construction homes during a time that such a thing was quite rare. Many of the original buyers lived in these homes for decades, some until quite recently.
As Francisville started going through a period of redevelopment and gentrification in the last decade, developers have taken significant interest in these homes. A combination of large lot size and multi-family zoning has made these properties extremely valuable, as they allow for by-right development of apartment buildings or condo buildings. Already, N. 19th Street has seen almost all of the small homes demoed and replaced by multi-family buildings, and the same thing is happening anywhere these homes are found. The corner of 19th & Brown is no exception.
Stamm Development purchased 1910 Brown St. and 750 N. 19th St. within the last couple years and have already completed a new five-unit building at the Brown Street address. From what we see on public record, one unit has sold in the mid-$500K range and another is under agreement at a $580K list price. They’re currently building a similar building next door, and we suspect pricing will be along the same lines if not a little higher, given the corner location.
While we’re here, let’s check in on a couple other projects nearby. First, there’s the apartment building at 808 N. 19th St. which is replacing an auto body shop. Construction is moving well, with foundations looking like they’re coming close to the finish line. A reminder, this building will have 48 units and 18 underground parking space, which sounds way better than an auto body shop.
In more disappointing news, the large vacant triangle at 19th & Wylie remains large and vacant. We last provided an update on this property almost three years ago, at which point we were optimistic that a new plan for 89 units divided between townhomes and apartments would finally start moving forward. Back in 2019, we wondered whether the apartment building at 808 N. 19th St. would be finished before the project broke ground at 19th & Wylie; at this rate, this is becoming an increasingly likely outcome.