If you want to live in Philadelphia but downtown’s not your thing, the northwestern neighborhoods have long been an interesting and often lower cost alternative. The nice thing about East Falls, Manayunk, Roxborough, etc., is that they’re close to I-76 so you can easily drive to work in the burbs- but they also sit on regional rail lines, so it’s really easy to get to Center City without worrying about parking. Throw in the commercial corridors like Main Street and Midvale Avenue, and if you so desire, you can spend your leisure dollars in your own neighborhood rather than going into town. Our favorite feature of this area, however, is the green space afforded by proximity to Fairmount Park, the Wissahickon, and the Schuylkill River.

It’s a little surprising that some areas next to the river haven’t been built up completely, like the area between Calumet Street and the onramps to I-76. The Falls Bridge Lofts appeared a few years back, converting an old school into a small apartment building. At 4442 Ridge Ave., we saw 13 homes appear more recently, but those homes are sort of on an island, with large lots on both sides.

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Phase 1 homes
Phase 2 space

Those homes are about to get some company, however, as we predicted back in 2018. If we may turn the clock back even farther, in 2016, How Properties first came up with a plan to develop 4442 Ridge Ave., going to CDR with a 136-unit apartment building and a whole lot of parking. That project never moved forward, as the developers ended up building the aforementioned (and aforepictured) homes on a portion of the property. Now it seems they’re ready to proceed with something that resembles their original plan. They again went to CDR last month, with a revised phase 2 for this project. As was the case before, Harman Deutsch Ohler did the design work.

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Site plan
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Project rendering
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Rendering from Kelly Drive

From what we can tell, the revised Overlook apartment building shares several features with the original plan. Like the previous iteration, this one will also have 136 units and some commercial space. But it will have a significantly smaller footprint, since the homes were built over a portion of what was previously going to be the apartment building. We’re pretty sure the newest version of the project will have a similar number of parking spots though, since there will be a full floor of basement parking.

We’re pretty pleased to see this project finally moving forward, and extra excited that the addition of a dozen plus homes hasn’t impacted the proposed density at all. Given the excellent location and anticipated views of the river, we suspect the units will rent quickly, adding a bunch of new residents to an area that can certainly handle the density. Now, perhaps it means that the long planned Ridge Flats, at the corner of Ridge & Calumet, isn’t far behind. Ah, what a sight it would be to see both of these large parcels activated in the near future.