We stumbled onto a row of new construction recently at the intersection of 9th & Noble and had a funny feeling we’d written about the project before. As is usually the case when we have these feelings, we have indeed covered this project before, back in 2016, when the property was an overgrown, fenced-in vacant lot. Back then, we told you that developers were planning six triplexes and a duplex for a total of 17 units, but the project was still awaiting ZBA approval so it wasn’t a guarantee that it would be happening. As you can see, they got their variance and construction has finally progressed over the course of this year.
This project makes sense on a few different levels. As we’ve seen in recent years, the Callowhill neighborhood is on the rise, with old industrial buildings getting renovated and numerous new construction projects popping up on different blocks. In addition, the Rail Park is just a couple blocks away from here, and a viaduct that should eventually integrate into an extension of the existing park is less than a block away. And let’s not forget the terrific Trestle Inn, located just three blocks away.
The immediate area, however, is a little more lacking. The buildings back up to Percy Street, which is narrow and highly industrial. So the rear views are pretty rough.
To the east, it’s a big surface parking lot. And to the south, it’s this:
If you’re unfamiliar, this is the Willow Street Steam Generation Plant, a building that was constructed in 1927 but has been out of service for the last several decades. It’s been sitting blighted and vacant because it seems nobody can figure out what to do with it. It has significant quantities of asbestos which would need to be remediated for reuse or demolition. It also lacks internal floors, which would complicate reuse. So it continues to sit, awaiting some kind of redevelopment.
Developer John Wei purchased the property roughly 3 years ago, paying $1.1M. Wei, who also owns the Church of the Assumption nearby on Spring Garden Street, has been involved with some other sizable parcels over the years. Wei has shown a willingness to be patient with properties in the past and could be working through a plan to redevelop the property. Or he could just be holding onto it, waiting until someone else comes forward that’s willing to buy it at a sizable markup. Meanwhile, it’ll continue to sit as it has for years, only now it’ll junk up the views of a few more near neighbors.