Woo boy, the only thing hotter than the Sixers and Tyrese Maxey might be the corner of 13th & Buttonwood in the Eraserhood/Loft District. Tucked away just off the major intersection of N. Broad & Spring Garden, this intersection is becoming a development hotbed in its own right. With additions, new construction, and serious potential, this corner of the neighborhood north and west of the Rail Park has something for every stage of the development lifecycle.
The most prominent change to the area (at least so far) is the transformation of the stables which were once the home to some equine residents. This dilapidated series of buildings thankfully shut down and the animals were relocated after the poor conditions were discovered. Things have been on the up and up since then, with a proposal for 23 dwelling units and ground floor retail space across the existing buildings and a new, modern addition. When we went to check on the progress of this Canno-designed project, we were happy to see things looking close to complete and pretty similar to the original rendering.
This project, now called Freedom Lofts, kept the original patina and ghost signs of the buildings despite the lack of historic protection. The new addition rises three floors above the original three-story building, with the black paneling punctuated by vertical fins and asymmetrical windows. The interiors are bright and modern, with some of the original details retained from the original structure. The new portion, however, won’t be mistaken for stables any time soon, with the double height ceilings and huge windows creating a flood of light and air, along with access to personal outdoor space.
We are thrilled to see more new residents for the area, and it’s a bonus that it comes with such a darn good design. The icing on the cake is the preservation of these non-protected facades, which helps retain the gritty character of the area. There’s even more happening just across the street, where a 20-unit apartment building is now at full height. This one comes to us from Parallel Design Studio and will also include seven parking spaces. Unfortunately, the gigantic parking lot for the charter school across 13th St. is still a parking lot, though this CMX-4 zoned property is brimming with transit-oriented potential.
While it’s unfortunate to see such a large parking lot so close to public transit, we are happy to see a former surface lot that has made a change. You may have seen in our recent TikTok video, but foundation work is in full swing for 1314 Spring Garden St., which will soon be home to a 149-unit, mixed-use project. This modular design from Volumetric Building Companies should rise quickly once the foundation and steel base are complete. Look for a ground floor restaurant joining the fold here in the future.
200-odd units coming to rundown stables and two empty lots? A thousand times yes, especially for an area that is so central and so accessible to transit. We are happy to see this area get a bit of an injection of life, as an increased pedestrian presence is sure to go a long way to make this area a more exciting place to roam.
Speaking of pedestrians, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to wish new Sixer Kelly Oubre a quick and speedy recovery after he was struck in a hit-and-run along Broad Street in Center City over the weekend. It is a stark reminder that for as walkable as Philadelphia is, it can still be treacherous for pedestrians. We strongly urge all of our civic leaders to stop with the half-baked excuses and to do more to make our streets safer for everyone. If someone 6’7″ can’t cross the main street in the entire city safely, think of the thousands of kids half that size dealing with dangerous drivers and road conditions. Let’s hope that this unfortunate crash can light a fire under our governmental leaders just like Mr. Oubre has added a spark to the local basketball squad.