We've been ringing the bell for Baltimore Avenue for years, regularly telling you about new businesses opening up farther and farther west on the corridor. Most recently, we told you about event space Petite Fete on the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue, a business that opened in a long-vacant building whose neighbors are still in a blighted state. While Baltimore Avenue has continued to improve, the blocks to the north have seen increased interest from developers, and we've told you about a few projects on Catharine Street and Cedar Avenue over the years. We've not, however, seen a ton of development to the south of Baltimore Avenue past 49th Street.
Recently, a reader called our attention to 900 S. 51st St., the corner of 51st Street & Florence Avenue, a solid two blocks south of Baltimore Avenue. For many years, this property was a vacant lot.
Today though, there's a new three story building here. Looking at the permits, it'll be a triplex when it's finished.
Developers bought this parcel just a couple of years ago for under $10K. We have to imagine that, even though the location is almost a mile from University of the Sciences and ever farther from Penn, the developers will market the apartments to students. Perhaps they won't be able to get the same rental numbers that they could get for a closer location, but we'd be willing to bet that kids will still rent these units. And if you consider the price of the land, we'd imagine that the developers will still do quite well on the deal, even with slightly less rent.
Assuming these developers are successful, could this signal a new wave of student housing development in Southwest Philly close to Baltimore Avenue? It certainly seems like a possibility.