As we’ve said on more occasions than we can count, we are none too fond of surface parking lots. Of course, there are worse things out there than surface parking lots, like storage facilities, slaughterhouses, power plants, and coal yards. 1201 Callowhill St. then, is a rare case where a property’s existence as a surface parking lot is actually a step up from its historic use. In this case, the property was a coal yard dating back at least to the Civil War. We have to think that coal arrived here via train, using the Reading Railroad viaduct that sat vacant and blighted for many years, until its recent partial transformation into the Rail Park. It’s kind of tough to picture those days, looking at the property today.

IMG_9613 2
Current view

Looking forward instead of backward, cars won’t be parking at 1201 Callowhill St. for long, at least not at street level. The operator of the lot, Patriot Parking, is redeveloping a Tetris-shaped portion into a six-story apartment building. This building will have 42 parking spots in the basement, roughly 4,000 sqft of retail space on the first floor, and 65 apartments spread throughout the building. The building won’t be a typical apartment building, but will instead be operated by co-living company Quarters, offering a dorm-ish living situation to the post-college set. JKRP Architects did the design work for this project, which we can share due to the fact that it went to Civic Design Review earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2020-03-12 At 1.39.09 PM
Project rendering
Screen Shot 2020-03-12 At 1.39.17 PM
Looking east, toward Rail Park
Screen Shot 2020-03-12 At 1.39.14 PM
More views
Screen Shot 2020-03-12 At 1.39.04 PM
Overhead render

This won’t be the first Quarters location in Philadelphia. As we told you previously, Quarters will open its first location in a new construction 74-unit building in Northern Liberties, near Girard Avenue. Like the other location, “members” will occupy bedrooms, and share kitchens and bathrooms with other members, who are not necessarily friends or even acquaintances. Memberships are transferable to Quarters locations in other places, including, Chicago, New York, Amsterdam, and several other major cities around the world, so this is certainly a nice perk. We can’t quite decide whether this business model will continue to grow or if it’ll be more of a niche concept, but if this helps finance the construction of an apartment building at this corner, we’re all for it. Given that this development likely wouldn’t happen without the presence of the Rail Park half a block away, perhaps the Quarters folks can make a generous donation to help make Phase 2 of the park a reality?