Down the road from the hub of Francisville development at 19th & Poplar that we’ve covered the past month, a three-story property is under construction just north of Fairmount Avenue, next to the City’s Employee Medical Services Building.

Some neighbors raised concerns about the size and façade of the building at 712 N. 19th St., a duplex being constructed by owner Tom McTaggart, who will live in one unit and rent the other, according to Barbara Kelley of the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation (FNDC). But the owner has obtained all necessary permits, and the project was allowed by right, according to Kelley.

Framed out

The building will be the only structure on the west side of the block larger than one-story, and when purchased, this September for $165K, was itself a one-story structure similar to the rest that line this side of the block. The old building was torn down in short order, after closing.

The site, looking south

According to Kelley, two neighbors on the block are enticing a third, who have together near harassed builders. She said she didn’t understand why neighbors are “upset he got approved because most of them said yes.”

Like the Adobe homes on Green Street that we once told you about, these homes were built by PHA as affordable homeownership properties over twenty years ago. The architecture of this strip of homes on 19th Street, from Fairmount to Brown Streets, has clearly not withstood the test of time. These one-story homes are unappealing, as boring as a fifth viewing of a Seinfield episode, and impractical in an urban environment, with 1,000 sqft of living space on lots that exceed 2,200 sqft.

Similar houses to the north. Image from Google.

McTaggart, whose lived on an Uber Street lot directly behind this one for the past 10 years, said the group of three neighbors have called L&I, who have inspected the property eight times and found no violations, the local OSHA office, NBC and Fox news, Darrell Clarke’s office and the FNDC.

This immediate area has seen plenty of development, with last year’s Loonstyn development at Fairmount and Uber Streets around the corner from this construction site, a project that brought Mugshots to its new location, making way for the OCF Coffeehouse in its old spot. And it will be seeing more in the near future, with the planned mixed-use development coming to the corner of 19th & Fairmount.

Four story building coming to a vacant lot pretty much across the street

With all of this action in the area, it seems likely that as soon as any of these one-story homes come on the market, they’ll be swooped up like fish by some hawking developer. As such, maybe development will run right on down 19t Street from Girard to Fairmount.

–Lou Mancinelli