Old City and Northern Liberties are both great places to live. The former has seen an explosion in high-price-point development, with dozens of mansions springing up on former surface parking lots. And let's not forget the long awaited and finally happening Bridge on Race Street project. The latter, meanwhile, had the "up and coming" label for years but we'd tell you that the neighborhood arrived quite some time ago. We've seen countless residential projects in Northern Liberties, along with steady improvement to the 2nd Street commercial corridor. These neighborhoods are adjacent to one another but it's rather unpleasant to walk between them because of the combination of the Vine Street Expressway overpass and the desolate stretch between Callowhill and Spring Garden Streets. A new project at 4th & Callowhill will seek to better knit these neighborhoods together.
According to Philly.com, developer Mark Rubin intends to redevelop almost the entire block bounded by 3rd, 4th, Callowhill, and Willow Streets. Right now, this block includes a bunch of parking lots, an office building that houses, among other things, a local unemployment office, and a dialysis center at the corner of 3rd & Callowhill. The dialysis center will remain but everything else will disappear. In their place, the project calls for two residential towers of 24 and 27 stories which will sit on a three story parking deck. The building will include 454 apartments and 233 parking spaces. On the 4th floor, above the parking deck, will be a floor with amenities for residents including a swimming pool with highway views. On the ground floor, there will be two retail spaces on 4th Street and to the north of the building will be a large green space that has a major storm water management component.
Check out these drawings from the project's CDR presentation, with design work from Cecil Baker + Partners and Studio Bryan Hanes.
When this project moves forward, it won't do anything about the unpleasantness of passing under the highway but it will fill in a decent sized chunk of this neighborhood between neighborhoods. We'd hope that it will inspire other developers to consider projects in this area which is full of potential because of its currently uninspiring condition. And don't forget, the upcoming relocation of the Yards Brewery to 5th & Spring Garden will also be a great step in the right direction for the area. We expect we'll be covering some more big projects in the vicinity in the near future.