The 1400 block of Callowhill is about to level up, just a few years after undergoing an initial and significant change. For decades, this block was dramatically underdeveloped, home to a mere three buildings and an ocean of surface parking. In 2016, Parkway Corporation and the Hanover Company partnered to build a pair of buildings at the intersection of Broad & Callowhill, bringing a combined 300+ units and some retail in a project called Hanover North Broad. The larger western building replaced a huge surface lot with a six story building, and while we might have quibbled for some more height and density, we can’t deny the dramatic improvement at this prominent location.
The change is incredibly impressive when you look at the different aerial views. It really puts the size of the new building into perspective in a way you can’t appreciate from looking at it on Broad Street.
You can probably figure out, just from looking at the aerial views, where we’re going with this story. While the Hanover North Broad project transformed a huge surface parking lot, there’s still a surface lot that remains on the block. And while the property at 1428 Callowhill St. pales in comparison to its huge neighbor, it’s still a sizable Center City lot, measuring over 11K sqft, which makes it a tremendous candidate for redevelopment.
At some point in the last year or so, a sign appeared on the site, indicating plans for a new Homewoods Suites hotel coming to the site. And to a large extent, this would be a sensible project at this location. The Convention Center is just a few blocks away to the south. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and its associated museums are an easy enough walk to the west. And the highway is literally right outside, so it’s straightforward access to this location for people coming in from out of town.
But… you can forget all about a hotel here, as it seems that plans have changed for the site. This week, developers are coming to Civic Design Review to present their plans, and instead of hearing about a hotel, the CDR board will see a plan for a by-right apartment building. The building will include 162 units over 12 stories, with underground parking and no retail. J2A Architects did the design work for the project, which looks like it will fit in nicely in terms of appearance and scale with other downtown projects.
You probably noticed, this building will wrap around the three-story building at the corner of 15th & Callowhill, where a bar has been operating, probably since well before you were born. In a more perfect development scenario, the developers would have been able to combine their project with this existing building, either with an overbuild or demolition and new construction. Obviously that’s not happening. That being said, it appears, based on information in the CDR packet for this project, that something will soon happen with this property. One of the site plans indicates that there are plans coming for a 44-unit building at this corner, which we confess we didn’t know about before. If that does indeed come to fruition, it might be last call at Westy’s sometime soon- so if it’s a favorite spot of yours, it might be best to get over there for a round or two sooner than later.