Fascinating Yet Probably Impossible Concept for a Lot at 13th and Buttonwood

There’s an empty lot on the southwest corner of 13th and Buttonwood Sts. that’s currently on the market. The property measures nearly 30K sqft, and the asking price is $10M. Yikes.

A lot of lot

According to the listing, the current owners applied for and received the necessary zoning variance to construct two residential towers with about 320K sqft of internal space and commercial use on the first floor. There is a rendering included with the listing that looks downright futuristic.

And it's low-res, too!

On its face, this may seem like a somewhat reasonable plan. The lot is surrounded by apartment and condo buildings, some of which are high-end, showing at least a decent residential market in this neighborhood. In addition, just a couple of blocks to the south at 12th and Callowhill Sts., a new loft conversion is in its early stages.

On the other hand, we can’t think of any ground-up construction in this neighborhood taller than three or four stories in decades. (Right?) And it doesn’t seem that developers can get financing to build a residential high-rise in Center City at this time, let alone in Eraserhood/Loft District. So upon further examination, this plan looks pie-in-the sky, to say the least.

Perhaps more realistic would be a development of single family homes, multi-family homes, or low-rise rentals. Of course, at a $10M price tag for just the land, it would be pretty much impossible to make any kind of money pursuing any of those options.

So we give up. Surely a parking lot isn’t the highest and best use for this parcel. Any idea what could work here? Or would a simple reduction in the asking price open up the necessary doors to make development possible?

No matter what ultimately ends up sprouting on this lot, we suspect that the folks at the Prohibition Tap Room across the street would be jazzed about it. Lots of new customers are never a bad thing…

Love the sign