Three Apartment Buildings Coming at 16th & Girard

Last month, we told you about a demolition notice at 1522-24 W. Girard Ave., a building which was previously used as a day care and medical office. We mentioned that the property changed hands earlier this year, as did the adjacent surface parking lot. With about 33K sqft of combined space on the northern edge of Francisville, we had an inkling that development would be forthcoming for this location, but we didn't know what to expect. We were just hopeful that the project would include some density.

Passing by over the weekend, we discovered that the developers have demolished the building and now the corner of 16th & Girard is a large vacant lot.

Current view

Last week, the developers went to the ZBA with plans for three apartment buildings, designed by KCA Design Associates. From our reading of the somewhat confusing permits, the developers are planning three apartment buildings at this location, each rising four stories. We're not totally sure, but it appears that the plan calls for forty units in each building, twelve car parking spots, and twenty bike parking spots. The ZBA held the case, pending a community meeting tonight.

Overhead view shows three buildings

Project rendering

Assuming our math is correct, this would mean a total of 120 new apartments here, just a stone's throw from Ridge Avenue and a few blocks from Temple. Considering we were concerned that the developers would be building three story triplexes, we're quite relieved that they're going with something that has some height and density. At this location, we expect a mix of students and young professionals, with maybe half of the residents heading north for school and the other half heading south for work. And a project like this can only be good for Ridge Avenue, adding a couple hundred new residents that will ostensibly be looking for amenities nearby.

This project reminds us of the building that's coming soon to 401 Race Street, a project which you may recall didn't really do it for us. We criticized that project because we wanted a taller building, some retail, and perhaps a grander use given the location next to Independence Mall. While the project at 16th & Girard is quite similar, the fact that it's located on the fringe of Francisville rather than the heart of our tourist district dramatically impacts our impression of the project. Here, we're excited to see a four-story apartment building, and we're actually glad there's no retail element. It just goes to show you that the old adage about location in real estate continues to hold true.