Temple University has a long history as an anchor institution along North Broad Street, serving as a job center for many years and more recently spurring considerable residential development in the surrounding neighborhoods. The history of the school’s relationship with the surrounding neighborhood hasn’t always been so rosy, with a proposed football stadium being a recent example of the university and the neighborhood not being aligned. That, however, hasn’t stopped the influx of housing that has been required for the increasingly popular and rapidly growing school. And there are now two new and huge proposals that could add to that residential mass, which happen to sit on adjacent blocks at the far SW corner of Temple’s borders.
We start along N. Broad St., where the Philadelphia Business Journal recently reported that Temple is leasing the properties at 1518-26 N. Broad St. to a private developer. While details are still scant, this will be a 900-bed project from an unknown developer, slated to be wrapped up by Fall 2026. The site today is a collection grassy lots just to the north of the glorious-but-vacant Burk Mansion, which is also owned by Temple, and an empty surface lot. These would be market rate apartments and not technically affiliated with the university. It’s also worth noting that there was a collection of one to four story buildings located here until about a decade ago, when they all met the wrecking ball. Needless to say, this project will represent a big step up in terms of density and utilization of well located real estate.
In equally exciting news, there is yet another proposal just a block to the north at 1406 Cecil B. Moore Ave., wedged in between the Shops at Avenue North to the east and The Edge student apartments to the west. This one is also a bit of a mystery, as the long, skinny property owned by Bart Blatstein is going to the ZBA this Wednesday, with plans to unify the property. If that doesn’t sound too exciting, this might: this would result in a 245-unit apartment with ground floor parking for 62 total spaces across the combined properties. Assuming even a paltry two beds per unit (Temple’s Morgan Hall across the street approaches four beds/unit, for context), this would add another 500 or so new residents to the middle of Temple’s campus.
So, how about over a thousand new residents for these blocks of Broad? It is absolutely amazing how much has changed and how much is still in the works in the area. In fact, we’d be remiss if we didn’t check in with the stately (and historically protected) Ellis House at 1430 N. Broad St., which recently changed hands at auction. While we didn’t get to make it inside before the sale, we couldn’t resist stopping by to check out yet another piece of North Broad’s illustrious architectural history. Let’s hope that these new additions will add even a fraction of the character that the Ellis House brings to this area. And while we’re at it, let’s hope that the new owners of the Ellis House preserve and restore its amazingly intact interiors for the enjoyment of future generations.
UPDATE (7/19/2023): We previously reported that the parcel at 1406 Cecil B. Moore Ave. was owned by Temple, but it is owned by Bart Blatstein. This has been corrected.