After closing the Abigail Vare School at 1619 E. Moyamensing Ave. in 2013, the Philadelphia School District put the property up for sale in 2014, ultimately selecting the Concordia Group as the buyer. If the name of this developers sounds familiar, it’s because they’re involved in another project in Pennsport, the Southwark on Reed project that’s bringing almost a hundred new homes to the former Mount Sinai Hospital site at 4th & Reed. By 2015, Concordia had a plan in place for the former school, to convert the building into 45 apartments and build six townhomes next door on Mountain Street. It seems the project had to go through some small changes to appease the community, as the ZBA approved a project with 41 apartments and five townhomes next door.
If we quickly glance at the calendar, we see that it’s 2017 and almost two years have passed since the ZBA blessed the project. We’ve been patiently waiting for the project to start moving forward, but it’s been crickets at the site. This is probably due to the fact that the sale of the property has been jammed up in the legal system for almost two years, but the case finally got resolved back in May. So it should come as no surprise that the project now seems to be proceeding, as we spied a dumpster in front of the building when we passed by earlier this week.
Since Concordia has only officially owned the building for a month and a half, it follows that the construction work is only in its early, interior demolition phase. Soon enough, the work will begin in earnest, and a permit indicates that 256 windows will be replaced during the renovation. We should mention that the apartments will will have parking for 32 cars and each of the homes on Mountain Street will have two parking spaces as well. The homes will provide a very different look than neighbors have experienced to date, as they’ll be rising on the former schoolyard. We aren’t sure whether the new homes will incorporate the existing wall around the schoolyard or whether the developers will tear it down- if possible it would certainly be cool if they can keep the wall around.
We have a feeling that these apartments and homes are going to be a hot ticket for renters and buyers. Assuming the developers are able to maintain some of the original details from the school, these will be some of the most unique apartments in the neighborhood. And new construction homes with two-car parking tend to get snatched up pretty quickly in any neighborhood. And let’s agree, being right across the street from Dickinson Square Park is a pretty nice selling point as well.
Especially since the park was renovated a few years back, it’s stood out as one of our favorite green spaces in town. Who wouldn’t want to live across the street from here?