A clunky building held down the corner of 17th & Wood for many years, functioning as office space and sitting across the street from a couple of giant surface parking lots. Just a half a block from the Vine Street Expressway, the building didn’t call much attention to itself and probably never showed up on most people’s radar. So it was with some excitement, back in 2012, that we shared the news that developers had purchased the property and had plans to build an addition on the building. Those plans called for parking and common space on the first floor, office space on floors 2 and 3, and apartments on floors 4 and 5. We didn’t love the design, but appreciated that it represented a serious upgrade over the status quo.

View in the past
Proposed a few years ago

For whatever reason, the project never happened. Five years after our initial story, we checked in on the property again, having learned of a totally different project planned for the site. This time, the development arm of Atrium Design Group had the property under agreement, and they were planning to tear down the building and replace it with 10 mansions, with prices starting at $2.5M. And wouldn’t you know it, that project is indeed moving forward. We were in the area just the other day, and discovered that the first phase is pretty far along in the construction process. As we would have expected with a project from this developer (and at this price point), the homes are going to have some unique architectural details.

Current view
Rear view of phase one

The name of the project is Novo Philly, and as we told you before, the homes will range in size from just over 5,000 sqft to just under 6,000 sqft for the corners. Each home will rise four stories and include three-car parking, 5 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms, roof decks, and copious amounts of living space. The corner homes will have 6 bedrooms, while the interior homes will have (a mere) 5 bedrooms each. Impressively, all of the homes in the first phase are already under agreement, with the lowest priced home listed at $2.65M. The corner is under contract at a staggering list price of $3.65M. We suspect these prices will tick up for the next phase of homes.

Novo Render 1
Project rendering
Novo Floor Plan
Standard floor plan

As we mentioned when we first covered this property, it was sitting across the street from huge surface parking lots on the edge of the Vine Street Expressway. Since then, the LDS temple has appeared on the 1700 block of Vine and an apartment building developed by the LDS church has risen on the 1600 block. So the immediate area is significantly different today, and far more conducive to high end homes. Further, back in 2012, there was still a question as to whether Philadelphia’s second casino would open in the former Inquirer building, just two blocks away. We have to think that such a project would have negatively impacted these sale prices, and probably precluded the Novo project from happening in the first place. The same could probably be said about several other projects in the area, though.