At first glance, the property at 2501 Washington Ave. doesn’t really present itself as a top notch development opportunity. Its shape is weird, with frontage on 25th Street, Washington Avenue, and Grays Ferry Avenue. It’s directly adjacent to the elevated CSX train tracks which turn into the 25th Street viaduct on the other side of Washington Avenue. The Grays Ferry side isn’t much better, with some infrastructure related to the Veolia plant, the nature of which we couldn’t possibly fathom, located across the street.

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Overhead view of the property

And yet, this property has been getting developed for the last two years. Remember, we told you to expect this back in the beginning of 2016, with High Top Development planning a mix of town homes and apartment buildings. The plans evolved over time, and by the time the project broke ground in late 2017, it called for a pair of duplexes on Grays Ferry Avenue, 17 homes along a private street in the middle of the site, and a mixed-use building with 10K sqft of commercial space and 76 units on the upper floors at the corner of 25th & Washington. Over the last couple years, the duplexes and the homes have been completed, with the homes selling in the high $600K to the low $700K range.

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View of Graduate Square from Grays Ferry Avenue

New town homes with parking are certainly a sight for sore eyes in Graduate Hospital, as there’s far more demand for homes of this kind than there are available homes of this kind. But from where we sit, the mixed-use building was a far more exciting possibility, a bookend for Washington Avenue West to match with Lincoln Square at Broad Street. We seem to remember a brief pause in construction after the homes wrapped up, but we’re pleased to report that construction is now very much progressing at 25th & Washington. Already, the steel is in place for the first floor and the elevator tower block work has moved along nicely.

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Steel decking and elevator towers at 25th & Washington

In looking at the developer’s website, we see that the exterior plan for the building has changed a bit since it went through permitting. The color scheme is now more muted and the balconies have shrunk, but the form of the building looks the same, otherwise.

Old rendering
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Current rendering

With Lincoln Square finished and the mixed-use building pictured above under construction, Washington Avenue West will soon have its bookend projects. Then it’ll just be a matter of filling the corridor with “books.” Already, we know about upcoming projects on the 2100 block, the 2200 block, and the 2400 block, all on the north side of the street. It’s great that all these projects are on the horizon, but there’s still so much room on Washington Avenue for additional development. Not to sound like a broken record, but is it too much to ask for a remapping effort to help speed things along?