The five-story building at 909 Corinthian Ave. dates back to 1911, and was originally constructed as housing for nurses. Those nurses worked across the street, at Lankenau Hospital, at least until the hospital moved to the Main Line in 1953. Unrelated to the building, it’s remarkable to consider that two hospitals once operated in this immediate area, with Lankenau (and later Landis State Hospital) and Saint Joseph’s at 16th & Girard, and now both are now gone. Some time after Lankenau left, the building on Corinthian shifted to an apartment building that wasn’t specifically for hospital workers, and it has remained as such for decades.

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From the north
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In the past

As Francisville has rapidly gentrified over the last several years, this building because an attractive prospect as a value-add asset. And so, in 2018, MM Partners purchased the building and renovated the place into 22 one and two bedroom units. Those units have been on the market over the last year or so, renting at prices between $1275 and $1450 per unit. Easy peasy, right?

Not so fast. The apartment building was certainly part of the equation for the developers in purchasing the property, but there’s more to the story. Perhaps just as significant is the surface parking lot next door. You can’t quite see the parking lot in the image above, since it’s sitting behind a less than beautiful cinderblock wall. Looking below, you can see that Joshua has blown his proverbial horn, and the walls have come tumbling down.

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Current view

Certainly, the walls weren’t taken down with the intention of maintaining the surface parking lot. Instead, the developers are eliminating the parking lot and have already started working on a new building which will rise on the 6,000+ sqft site. This building will include 14 units and will be totally separate from the adjacent apartment building, and will even contain an elevator, as the already constructed elevator tower suggests.

We wonder whether this will be a rental building, like its neighbor, or whether condos could alternately make sense. As this property sits on the western edge of Francisville (and therefore the eastern edge of Fairmount), we could definitely envision a scenario where the per square foot sale price would make sense. Alternately, we already know that rentals work here. Also still to be determined is how the new building will interact architecturally with the old one it wraps around. Stay tuned, as we should soon get answers to all our questions as construction activity begins ramping up again.