We were rather surprised, last month, when we learned about a plan for twelve units on 51st Street in Southwest Philadelphia, south of the Media/Elwyn tracks. At the time, we noted that it might be a tough sell to get students to live in a building in this location, as nobody really gets too excited about living “on the other side of the tracks.” At this time, it remains to be seen whether any students (or really, parents) will need any convincing, as the project hasn’t yet gotten a hearing at the ZBA.

Spurred by our story about this project, a reader reached out to us recently with information about a much more significant project in the works nearby. Just around the corner from the aforementioned property, at 5013 Springfield Ave., is a stout black building with several garage door openings which traces the path of the adjacent train tracks. The property includes a drive-aisle that leads to many more garages, some of which are currently available for rent at prices between $100/mo and $750/mo.

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View on Springfield
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Lots of garages

All of those leases will surely be of the month to month variety, as we expect the property will be redeveloped in the near future. Developers bought the 38K sqft parcel in the middle of 2017, paying $525K. By the summer, they had a permit in hand to demolish the existing building and replace it with a five story building with 65 apartments and retail space on the ground level. As far as we can tell, this project will proceed by right.

A few weeks ago, we told you about a new project under construction on the 5000 block of Warrington, where developers are constructing a 22 unit apartment building on a block that would be generously described as mostly crappy. Though that project is taking place on the “right” side of the tracks, we’d argue that the Springfield Avenue project will be much more desirable to students both because of its size and the condition of the other properties on the block. We have to think that if the owners of the Warrington project had enough of a comfort level to begin construction, it should ease the path for construction at the Springfield project. And if that building does indeed get built, we believe other developers will start considering properties south of the tracks a little more carefully.