Last week, we told you about a student housing project that should soon get started on the 1000 block of S. 51st St., and we made a big deal out of the fact that developers believed that tenants would be willing to cross the Media/Elwyn rail tracks to get home at night. This was an indication to us that developers are looking further and further outside the box in search of property to build that they can then market to students at Penn and University of the Sciences. When we were in the area, we spied another example of the same phenomenon about a block away on the 5000 block of Warrington.
If this block has anything going for it, it’s that it’s located on the side of the tracks that’s closer to Baltimore Avenue. And… that’s about it. The aforementioned tracks are at the same grade as the street on its western end, and if you’d like to cross them you need to climb up and down a metal overpass. The block is dominated by old warehouses and has a particularly atrocious overgrown vacant lot on its south side. We just can’t imagine a sophomore in college visiting a building on this block with their parents and getting a thumbs up.
And yet… developers purchased 5015 Warrington Ave. last year and promptly demoed a large warehouse on the property. If you visit today, it looks like construction is getting started on a new development.
That new development will be a three story building with 22 apartments. Even though the property is zoned CMX-2, the developers are somehow doing the project by right, avoiding any commercial aspect. And we’d say that’s probably for the best, as we don’t see how any business could survive at this location. And with a pretty good commercial corridor just a few blocks away, we don’t see why a retail business would be needed here.
In the coming years, we will keep an eye on this project and on the block in general, to see whether other developers are inspired to build additional units on this block. It does potential, ugly as it is today, in the sense that there are large properties that could accommodate many units if they were to turn over. The success of the first project on the block will probably determine whether that eventually happens or not.