Sorry, we’re not talking about the embarrassingly vacant lot on the 1900 block. Wish we were, to be honest.

Not here

Instead, we recently heard about plans to build some new homes on the 2100 block of Walnut Street, at the corner of Van Pelt. Conservatory Group USA recently acquired the large parcel on this corner which seems to have been on the market forever. You’ve probably noticed the furniture store here in passing.

The store. Sold sign.

Rest of the lot

Looking at the minutes from July’s Historical Commission meeting, we learned of plans to demolish the furniture store and build nine new homes here, all fronting Van Pelt Street. Though this is a historic district, the new homes will have a contemporary look. This is generally our preference, as new construction homes that are built with the intent of looking like historic homes almost always look totally ridiculous.

You can’t quite tell from the photo above, but the lots in question stretch all the way to Sansom Street.

Looking down Van Pelt from Sansom

These buildings also came with the Walnut Street lots

Somewhat creatively, the plan is for parking in the rear of the homes, with access through an existing garage on Sansom Street. Pedestrians on Walnut or Van Pelt will never know that people are parking behind the new four story homes.

At the Historical Commission meeting, the project was generally met with support. It received quite a bit of feedback on how the southernmost house will interact with Walnut Street, with Commission members throwing out suggestions about the location of the entrance of the home, changes to the proposed windows, and different materials. The developers agreed to continue to refine their design, and suggested that they were only seeking approval of their concept, and would return for final architectural approval.

This satisfied the Commission, which unanimously supported the project in concept. Once the design aspects are finalized, we’ll do our best to bring you some renderings of these homes, which will certainly be an upgrade over what we see at Van Pelt & Walnut today. Our only thought thus far is that we would have perhaps gone with a mixed-use building on the corner instead of a ninth home.

But hey, it’s not our money on the line here.