A reader reached out to us the other day, wondering about some new construction activity at the corner of 2nd & Mountain in Pennsport. This address, 1632 S. 2nd St., was previously the home of the Pennsport School of Dance, which operated for several years out of this rather unfortunate stucco-covered building. Once upon a time there was a theater at this address, and we wonder whether the building was a remnant of that old theater or a blah building built in its place. If it was indeed a leftover section of the old theater, we can’t see any evidence of that prior use, unfortunately.

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In the past

Or perhaps we should say it’s fortunate that no trace was evident of the old theater, as the building was demolished in the last few months. Developers purchased the property for $825K back in January, and pursued a variance to redevelop the property for residential purposes. The ZBA granted the variance, and now there are four foundations at the site.

Current view

The plan calls four a quartet of three-story homes, and each home will include 2-car parking. One car parking, let alone two spots, is an unusual perk in this part of town, where people still reminisce about a time when they could generally park on the street in front of their home. That won’t be needed for any of these homes, clearly.

Because the homes will only go up three stories and the first floors will be almost all parking, the architects are opting for a bit of an unusual layout for these homes. In each home, the kitchen, living room, and dining room will be on the 2nd floor, 2 bedrooms will be on the 3rd floor, and a 3rd bedroom will be located in the basement. This is in contrast to most new construction, where living spaces tend to be on the first floor, with 2 bedrooms on the 2nd floor and a master suite on the 3rd floor. HETA Designs did the architecture work, and we can provide a rendering of what’s to come:

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Project rendering

Like we said, these homes will feature unusual layouts but will also have the benefit of parking, so it’ll be fascinating to see just how much they sell for, when they’re all done. Clearly, the developers are wagering that buyers will be willing to sacrifice the traditional layout in favor of 2-car parking, and will even pay a premium because it’s so rare. We’ll be watching to see if this hypothesis is borne out, probably sometime next year, when the homes hit the market. If it is, perhaps we’ll see more projects of this ilk pop up, both in Pennsport, and in other neighborhoods on the edges of Center City.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the dance school is still around, they just relocated to a new location at the corner of 3rd & Snyder. This new space is on the very edge of Pennsport, and would technically be in Whitman if it was on the other side of Snyder Avenue. And it’s a good thing too – the Whitman School of Dance doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.