It was during our college days (back when the year began with a one and a nine) that we first started wondering about the dueling vacancies on the northeast and northwest corners of Broad & Washington. As the years have rolled off the calendar, various developers have come forward with different plans for the two properties and now it seems like a safe bet that developer Bart Blatstein will redevelop the northeast corner, assuming he gets zoning later this month. But what of the northwest corner? When we last visited this property a little less than a year ago, we had just come upon a Loopnet posting that showed some possible renderings for a mixed-use project.

NW corner of Broad & Washington

Plan that came around last year

The listing described a project that would reuse the the historic Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Freight Shed and include 310 apartments and over 70K sqft of retail space. At the time, we'd heard that Toll Brothers had some interest in the property but we were far from certain as to who would be redeveloping one of Center City's famous white elephants. The minutes from a PAID meeting a couple months ago, however, provide some serious clarity. At that meeting, the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development approved a resolution to sell this property to a joint venture between the Alterra Group and MIS Capital LLC. Alterra, you may recall, recently built the Shirt Corner Apartments in Old City.

We're honestly not sure whether the project pictured above is anything like the project Alterra has planned for the site. We've heard though, that Alterra has already had one meeting with near neighbors and that the project will definitely include residential, retail, and parking. We'd expect another meeting soon, perhaps with the community at large. Once we get some more info on this project, we'll be sure to share, and if anyone out there attended that preliminary meeting, please feel free to share additional info in the comments section.

Most recent rendering for the proposal across the street

Meanwhile, across the street, Mr. Blatstein is facing some pushback from the community and the CDR committee on his plan, especially for his fourth floor "retail village." We'd wager that this project will see some additional tweaks but will ultimately get built in some form, finally filling in a huge gap in our urban fabric. And if things go well, perhaps Alterra will follow close behind to fill in the long vacant lot on the northwest corner of Broad & Washington. Hey, anything would be a huge step up from a giant pile of snow.

Update: Per a story from the Inquirer, the project will be called Lincoln Square and will include 356 apartments and about 74K sqft of retail. A supermarket tenant could take a large retail space, with negotiations ongoing. BLT Architects is doing the design work, and the rendering looks like a pretty nice starting point.

Project rendering of Lincoln Square from