We were traveling through Callowhill the other day, heading up 13th Street on our way to North Philadelphia, and some construction activity near Spring Garden Street caught our attention. We’ve covered the block of 13th Street between Hamilton and Buttonwood a few times previously, and we were pleased to see something new on this block. From what we can tell, 439 N. 13th St. was originally built as a two-story industrial building and was used as such as recently as a half dozen years ago. Developers bought the building in 2012, building a two-story addition atop the existing building and creating 12 apartments inside while using the vacant land next door as a small surface parking lot.

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 At 11.58.13 AM
Half a dozen years ago

As we’ve said who knows how many times before, surface parking lots are the worst. To their credit, the owners of this property are of the same mind, and they’re eliminating the surface lot, in a manner of speaking. That’s the construction that we noticed the other day, a structure that’s currently framed up to four stories. The building is technically an addition to the existing twelve-unit building, and it will include six more apartments. The parking is sticking around on the ground floor, and we’re not sure that whether this will be interior parking or the parking area will remain open to the elements.

Some ongoing construction
Closer look at the building

The addition will blend in seamlessly with the rest of the building, as the existing board and batten siding will just continue onto the new structure. We don’t mind the way the board and batten mixes with the older brick building, though it might be a little severe once the addition is complete. As we’ve said before, we’re quite fond of the industrial-looking condo building immediately next door, and it would have been cool to see the new addition take some architectural cues from its neighbor. Alas.

Empty lot to the north

To the north of all these buildings is a triple-wide vacant lot which developers purchased maybe half a dozen years ago. There are old plans for a mixed-use building here, but nothing ever came to pass. We see that the owners consolidated three properties into one property in 2017, but we don’t see any more recent permits for the lot at this time. It seems like a sure thing that something will eventually happen here, it’s just a question of when.