Callowhill Street provides a uniquely diverse range of experiences as you travel from Front to Broad Street. It starts as a two-lane, two-way street which provides access to both Delaware Ave. and Center City. Heading west, it takes you under a tangle of overpasses for I-95 and then turns into a five-lane highway, accessing 676 and the Ben Franklin Bridge while passing some ongoing and upcoming multi-family construction. Continuing westward, the road narrows to three and then two lanes, as the scenery transitions to light industrial and some parking lots, eventually traveling under the Reading viaduct and the Rail Park.

Finally, as it approaches Broad Street, the buildings start getting appropriately taller, befitting this central location and proximity to one of the city’s major arteries. This was not, however, the case for the south side of the 1300 block of Callowhill as recently as ten years ago. Instead, this block was occupied by a giant surface parking lot. It looked a little something like this:

Screenshot 2024-02-06 At 11.05.49 AM
View back in 2014 (also for decades before 2014)

But times have indeed changed. Within a couple years of the above photo, groundbreaking occurred for the Hanover North Broad, a pair of mixed-use buildings at the southeast and southwest corners of Broad & Callowhill, each of which brought hundreds of new residents, fresh commercial space, and appropriate scale for the location. While the Hanover project (now known as 322 on North Broad) transformed half of the block, the parking lot at 1306 Callowhill St. remained in place for several years. In 2021, ground broke for a new project, and we visited this 181-unit development for a quick hello the following year.

Looking west from 13th & Callowhill
An aerial view shows 1306 Callowhill St. amidst the varied collection of buildings

This Bernardon designed seven-story project was barely above ground the last time we were by, and now it’s getting very close to completion, integrating nicely with the apartments immediately to the west. This project has been dubbed the Hannah and will feature 3,000 sqft of commercial space along Callowhill, creating a newly activated stretch staring at the massive Terminal Commerce Building across the street. Parking for 55 cars is included, too – the bare minimum required per zoning. Let’s scope out the progress today and how it will look in the very near future.

Looking across Callowhill at the lobby of the Hannah
Rendering is very true to life
Looking east down Callowhill, flush with its western neighbor
A rendering with the approved signage
A rendering of the lobby space shows an understated approach
A look inside one of the units

For our money, this is a massive improvement over what had been a block’s worth of parking just a decade ago. And we appreciate how the scale and look of the building mimics what’s across the street, even if the hvac vents along the building’s facade don’t evoke quite the same sense of grandeur. The amount of parking seems appropriate given the proximity to both transit and walkable areas, as more and more people move into this area with a heavily industrial past.

And speaking of more people, there will be exactly that just across the street to the east. At 1201 Callowhill St., where parking was once the norm in the shadows of the Rail Park, there are some signs of progress since we told you about expanded plans for the parcel back in November.

Looking NW towards the Rail Park from 12th & Callowhill
The same view in the future
A closer look at the site work, with the Hannah saying hi in the back

After initial plans for a 65-unit co-living space called the Quarters were announced just about four years back, this JKRP-designed building now has some additional height and a much denser 144 units this time around, along with a new owner. We aren’t certain if this will remain a co-living concept or will pivot to apartments, but having 400 or so people living on these blocks in these buildings where no one lived before will certainly change the feel of the area. And as much as we personally love the nostalgia and weirdness of the Eraserhood of the past, we don’t mind seeing some transit-oriented development take the place of a parking lot or two in an extremely central location.