It seems whenever we go to check out a property, we are drawn in any number of directions as other signs of construction lure us in. After visiting a duo of projects in Old City, we made our way just a block north to Callowhill St., where the eastern side – for our purposes, roughly 2nd St. to 8th St. – remains much the same as it did several years ago. With 95 to the east, 676 to the south, this wide stretch of one-way road has seen far less development action than many of the adjacent streets, to absolutely no one’s surprise. And while there’s action at various stages on both ends of our made-up boundary, today brings us to 417 Callowhill St., where the Keystone is perhaps the first step towards a different future for the area.

An aerial view of the East Callowhill corridor, with the Keystone highlighted in the center

We’ve visited here several times, mostly recently back in the summer when vertical progress was just taking place. Since then, things have been flying along for this project developed by Linden Street Investments. A 220-unit, seven-story apartment building from Bernardon is going up, featuring 68 parking spaces and an assortment of residential amenities. While there’s no commercial space included on the site of a former one-story commercial building, the modern design and a couple hundred new residents will surely help activate this stretch, which can use every bit of help it can get (road diet when?). Making our way around the site, we were excited to see window and facade installation in full swing, with the architectural flair of the rooftop fins looking about ready to go up.

The NE corner of 5th & Vine, where the Keystone now stands
Rendering shows off the contemporary approach
Another view from 4th St. shows off the window and facade progress
Rendering from the same spot
The view from Willow St. shows off the C-shape more clearly
A rendering of the courtyard area within the C
Another view looking east across 5th St., a bit further behind

We wish there was at least a little retail space included here, but we’re not going to be too nit-picky about it at this very busy intersection. Callowhill St. here essential functions as an extension of the on- and off-ramps for the highways that slice through the area, giving little reason for people to walk here.

At least for now, as this area is changing fast. The Block at Sono sits nearby on N. 5th St., adding 49 units over commercial space. And looking north from the windy Willow St., one can see the 329-unit mixed-use apartments rising at 5th & Spring Garden. Perhaps these nearly 400 folks will be making their way along Callowhill sooner than we know it.

The Block at SoNo, completed a few years back
The backside of 416-38 Spring Garden St. peeking through from Willow St.

So, will we see any additional moves on Callowhill St. soon? We sure hope so, though we had an unfortunate fake-out about a month back thanks to a zoning permit. The huge parking lot at the SE corner of 8th & Callowhill received permits for a new structure…but it appears that it’s an attendant station for this lot owned by the Convention Center and not a spiffy new tower. Alas. But perhaps we’ll see more moves here or there along this corridor sometime in the near future, as development continues to shrink this hole in the proverbial development donut from all sides.