After exciting updates on our development journey in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5, today brings us to the sixth and final stop on our magical mystery/construction tour. While you’re wiping your tears away reminiscing about our voyage, let’s take a gander at the map one last time to see the location for our focus today.

416-38 Spring Garden will sit right next to Yards Brewery

Some might refer to this area as SoNo for “Southern Northern Liberties”, but we are going with Lower Northern Liberties here, with a dash of Upper Old City to boot. Yes, we know these are all made up neighborhood areas, but as residential masses shift and development patterns alter commercial corridors, we may indeed see a true neighborhood emerge between Callowhill & Spring Garden St. sometime in the coming years. And as the video below shows, there is plenty happening that is changing the face of this section of the city.

After ending our last trip at the former Festival Pier site, we need to only skip a couple blocks west on Spring Garden St. to make our way to our next stop.

National Real Estate Development and the KRE Group kick things off today at 200 Spring Garden St., where 360 units are coming to us in a mixed-use tower. Formerly home to a low-rise building that housed a City Fitness, this Handel Architects-designed tower is the first phase to a multi-building project, and features a curved facade and some public space, along with the return of City Fitness as the anchor retail tenant. Steel has gone up since our visit this past December, so look for this project to really start taking shape on this prominent corner in the coming months.

At 416-38 Spring Garden St., another large mixed-use project is now under construction. A one-story building was being demoed in September during our last visit to make room for 329 units above 15K sqft of commercial space. Developers SLC brought on architects SCB to design a PCB (Pretty Cool Building) which will rise 12 stories next to Yards and bring some much-needed retail space to 5th St. on the west side of the project. The three elevator towers are nearly at their full height and the tower crane on-site leads us to believe we will start to see the steel frame rise before long.

On the opposite corner at 501 Spring Garden St., The Carson is looking nearly complete, which it needs to be for its May grand opening. Another 12-story tower that we recently visited, this one from BLTa features 382 units to go with ground-floor commercial space on the low-rise western podium. This commercial space was originally slated to be home to a new Amazon Fresh grocery store, but corporate had a change in heart and has since delayed the rollout, leaving a large portion of the site forlorn and vacant. If recent reader feedback is any indication, a Trader Joe’s here would generate a yearly profit of roughly $10 billion (hint hint), so we hope to see the space filled sooner rather than later.

Once home to a series of garden apartments built in the early 1970s, 650 Fairmount Ave. is taking a decidedly more contemporary look. Accurate Builders and Developers purchased the property recently and charged forward with the plans from ISA, which calls for 404 units and almost 20K sqft of commercial space across an assortment of buildings and unit types, including both rentals and for-sale units. Framing is underway here, which means we could see some units completed as soon as the end of the year.

Just north of the ever-adorable Federal Donuts right across Fairmount, 711-19 N. 7th St. is also busy digging, though not quite as big of a hole as its neighbor. We stopped by here back in October, when zoning permits were issued for a three-building, 21-unit project that would also include three commercial spaces. Things have progressed nicely since then, with shoring work and digging taking place for this smaller project, as compared to many others we’ve covered on this journey.

Linden Street Investments are the out-of-town developers for 417 Callowhill St., a 220-unit, purely residential project we checked out in December. Back then, demolition was in progress for the former adult daycare center, with a building from Bernardon set to take its place. Called The Keystone, digging and site work are in full force, with signs of concrete work also visible. While there will be no commercial component to this project, this handsome, contemporary building will help enliven what often feels like the end of the I-95 South off-ramp.

Sitting a few blocks to the southeast at the upper end of Old City, the Canno-designed project at 207-13 Vine St. is topped out and window installation is already underway. Greythorne Development is leading the charge here, with 51 units coming to the site of some forgettable older structures across an apartment building, a rehabbed historically-contributing triplex building, and a new stacked townhouse. Parking will be accessed along American St. to the west for this project that will feature only residential uses. Site prep just started when we visited here last spring, so we are excited to see construction progress as the facade and townhouse work moves forward.

The final stop on our excursion is at 214-20 Vine St., where a 29-unit building is nearly complete. Moto Designshop designed this building, which was adjusted from its black-toned brick in its original plans. The red-brick building looks to be almost ready for some new residents, save for some work on the ground-level of the building.

So there we are – all 5,758 units now present and accounted for. We mentioned before that this is just a sample of the development taking place across these neighborhoods and beyond, but can we expect this to last? After a glut of permitting at the end of 2021 as the tax abatement rules were about to change, at least some of the building happening today may be a lagging product of all of that permitting. Does this mean we will see a drop in construction after this cycle of development, as borrowing remains expensive and uncertainty looms over the construction industry after all sorts of issues over the last few years? Perhaps. But for now, let’s savor this boom for what it is, while also understanding that this sort of momentum is unlikely to be sustained forever.

Then again, we’ve been wrong before and we’ll be wrong again, and this is an instance where we sincerely hope we’re off base in our predicition. Either way, expect this quadrant of Greater Center City to be much, much livelier over the coming years as several thousand new neighbors move into some of the most sought-after locations in Philadelphia.