Formerly home to the Philadelphia Warehousing & Cold Storage Company dating back to the 1890s, the historically designated complex at 500 N. Columbus Blvd. is currently home to a self-storage facility, warehouse space, and electronic music venue The AVE. Despite the hulking mass of these brick-heavy buildings, there are two separate plans for residential additions here. One of them we’ve mentioned in the past, while the other is new, different, and likely to evolve as it moves forward.

The site plan for the complex shows 50 SG highlighted in organge

The souther portion of the property is perhaps best known for the massive mural, Our Flag Unfurled, which was completed in 2001 by artist Meg Saligman. While this section of the building has seemingly seen better days, we’re here to tell you that better days are ahead. Thanks to a recent zoning document, we know that a conversion to 96 residential units is on deck. We have to say, we aren’t exactly sure how they will fit all those units in here, as the facade features almost no windows. Unless this is targeted exclusively to vampires, we would anticipate that some window punch-outs will be necessary, potentially putting the mural at risk of alteration. However, any changes would need to be OK’ed by the Historical Commission before anything moves forward.

An aerial view of the complex

While this phase of the project remains a bit of a mystery, the plans for the northwest corner are much clearer. Originally the site of a low-rise, stucco building that has since been demolished, this trapezoidal property has been marketed for sale, with some sizeable plans. Let’s check out the property before we get to the details.

A look at the fenced off parcel and the giant brick wall

Though currently being marketed for sale at a cool $4 million as 50 SG (for Spring Garden St.), this property has already received zoning and construction permits for a 62-unit, seven-story building that would also include over 3000 sqft of ground-floor retail space. Plans here call for a contemporary design, which would also include plenty of balcony and rooftop space to show off those river views. These plans aren’t set in stone and could easily be updated once the property sells, but it gives us a good idea of what’s possible on this CMX-4 zoned lot. Let’s check things out, shall we?

A look at the 62-unit proposed addition to the site
Another rendering, looking SE from Front & Spring Garden

These projects would be yet another injection of residential vitality to the burgeoning Delaware River Waterfront. With hundreds and hundreds of units under construction within a few blocks of here, the momentum in the area gives us hope that we’ll see both of these projects move forward. Each and every day, this formerly forgotten stretch is getting closer and closer to reconnecting the city to its eastern waterfront.