We’d posit that the northeast corner of 26th & Pine is one of the most attractive locations in the city. It’s in adorable Fitler Square, it’s steps away from Schuylkill River Park, and so very close to the trail. Plus Jezabel’s Cafe is right across the street and everyone loves empanadas. Oddly though, this corner has been in a state of development limbo for the last couple years. But with new ownership, it looks like things should finally be moving forward.
Turn back the clock a few years, and there were homes on this corner. These homes looked like they were built in the 1970s and certainly didn’t provide a whole lot of architectural value. Like many homes built in this area in that era, they had garage fronts.
Somehow, a developer was able to buy all of the homes on this row, between Pine and Panama Streets. By 2015, they had demolished some of their buildings and had plans to build three new homes, but the plans weren’t embraced by near neighbors. At the time, the developers indicated that they would try to find a way to move forward with a by-right development. But if you check in on this location today, you’ll see that only one home was constructed and the rest of the property is sitting vacant. That home eventually did go to zoning, to legalize the curb cut to access its garage.
But the zoning notice in the image above gives an indication that construction could soon be happening here. New developers stepped in at the end of last year, buying the parcel for a whopping $2.9M. Now they’re looking to move forward with a plan for four new homes, with the project coming before CCRA last month. According to the application, each home with have 3 (!) car parking and will, like the home that’s already been built, rise four stories. We don’t know how the community responded to the proposal, but four more homes seems entirely reasonable on this parcel. And wow, that’s a whole lot of parking provided, so how could anyone complain?
Oh yeah, we’re talking about a community meeting, so it’s quite likely that someone found something to complain about. Still, we’re optimistic that this project, or some reasonable facsimile, will proceed here in the near future. It’s a shame this amazing corner has been sitting vacant for so long, and with the dollars that have already been invested it will be impossible for the status quo to continue.