We featured the building at 1516 Green St. as our blight of the week in March of 2013, wondering how this wonderful building had fallen on such hard times. Doing some research, we quickly realized that it was under the careful watch of the Philadelphia Housing Authority that the building was allowed to fall into such horrendous disrepair.
Fortunately, PHA auctioned off hundreds of vacant properties a few years back, including 1516 Green St., and by 2013 it was in the hands of private developers looking to redevelop. They presented a plan to convert the building into six apartments, a project that would have entailed demolishing and rebuilding the rear of the building but maintaining its facade. Since the property sits in the Spring Garden Historic District, this plan had to go before the Historical Commission which unfortunately did not give its blessing. Within a year of our first story, the building was declared imminently dangerous and demolished. As you might expect, the property has been sitting vacant for the last couple of years. But hark, a reader told us the other day that construction has started here!
You can't quite see in the photos, but there's now a hole in the ground and foundation work has begun. Looking at the L&I Map, we see that the new plan for the property is the same as the old plan, calling for six apartments. And if we examine the minutes from a Historical Commission meeting from earlier this year, we see that the developers will attempt to recreate the facade of the demolished building to the extent possible. We don't know whether this will end up being less expensive than the original plan to preserve the building, but the question is pretty much moot at this point. Still, we are left to wonder what might have happened if the project got approvals back in 2013.
While we're here, it seems like a nice opportunity to check in on the new buildings at 1502 and 1504 Green St. which we last visited over the summer as they were getting framed out. The exteriors, at least, appear to be finished and we'll give kudos to the developers for doing a credible job of putting up buildings that fit in pretty well with their surroundings. Even so, it's evident that these are modern interpretations of historic architecture and they probably provide a preview of what we can expect with the new building just getting started down the block. Now, if only the buildings in between these two projects could get a little TLC.