If you’re traveling through or near Callowhill, there’s a new building under construction that’s quite eye catching. Sure, any construction in any part of town makes our radar bleep, but this particular project would draw the attention of even the most oblivious phone gazer due to one very specific characteristic- its sheathing. Most wood-framed new construction gets covered in either plywood or green zip system panels, but the project at 1001 Buttonwood St. is sheathed in something much shinier.

View from the south
From the other direction

In case you can’t quite make out the labels on the building, these are LP Techshield radiant barriers. This sheathing is essentially plywood with a thin coating of aluminum which also has “vapor vents” to help the boards dry more quickly. The idea behind using this kind of sheathing is that it’s very efficient in blocking radiant heat, and according to the manufacturer this sheathing is meant for roof coverings, to keep attics cooler. It makes sense that it would do the same as a wall covering, and this gives us the impression that the developers of the project are going for something more energy efficient than standard new construction.

The project itself is a five-story building with retail on the first floor and seven apartments spread over the rest of the building. This is a great upgrade over what’s been a surface parking lot for as many years as we can remember. But this immediate area is no stranger to significant upgrades, which makes us optimistic for the fortunes of this project.

Back of Union Transfer, across the street
Back of 990 Spring Garden, across the street
448 S. 10th St., to the south

The rear of concert venue Union Transfer is located right across the street. This building was previously a Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant, and now it’s hosting some of the most exciting musical acts in Philadelphia. To the east is 990 Spring Garden, a formerly buttoned up office building which was converted into “creative class commercial lofts,” AKA not-so-buttoned-up office space. Plus there are some restaurants on the first floor. Progress! It’s a similar story to the south, at 448 S. 10th St., where a former industrial building is now a creative workspace that’s leasable in small chunks. And it looks like there’s a liquor license application in the window, so look for more dining options here in the near future.

The latter two buildings are owned by Arts + Crafts Holdings, a developer that’s bought up huge chunks of real estate in Callowhill and on the south side of West Poplar. Given their track record in the last couple years, and the presence of the excellent Rail Park, we expect additional projects in this neck of the woods in the near future. To wit, this developer owns the surface lot immediately next door to the next building at 1001 Buttonwood St. – and we can’t imagine it’ll remain undeveloped for long.