The area around Temple University has seen a surge in construction over the last decade plus, with hundreds of projects filling long vacant lots around the neighborhood. These projects range in size from single family homes to sizable apartment buildings, and have dramatically changed student life at Temple, expanding housing options and stretching out the footprint of university life. While North Broad Street has certainly seen some development over these years, it hasn’t seen as much as other streets, even though it’s objectively one of the main arteries at Temple. That being said, the 2200 block of N. Broad Street should soon see something new, and on a decent sized parcel.

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In the past
Deli is gone

2234 N. Broad St. was home to a one-story building for many years which was most recently occupied by a deli. Looking at an old drawing of the site, we were surprised to see that there was only a two-story building here historically, as we would have expected something taller and more impressive. After all, North Broad Street was, at one time, one of the most exclusive parts of the city, boasting numerous mansions. Perhaps that was the case at 2234 N. Broad St. before the Uptown Theater was built immediately next door in the 1920s? Anyway, the one story building was demolished at some point in 2020 and the site is now sitting vacant.

The developers that tore down the old deli had the wise idea to take the property through permitting, pulling a building permit earlier this year. This permit calls for a 5-story building with 29 units over commercial. Since the property currently has a building permit, this project will enjoy the full benefits of the tax abatement, and won’t have to deal with the diminishing abatement for projects permitted starting next year. The developers decided to sell the property rather than develop it themselves, and the property is currently under agreement at a $1.7M sale price. Figure that the project will move forward some time next year, after the sale closes. Expect the building to look something like this:

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Rendering from an old listing

While this building is set to start construction in 2022, the future of the Uptown Theater next door is much hazier.

There's the Uptown

In 2019, we told you that the Uptown had received a $500K grant from the state’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program and would soon be starting on early stages of a $7M renovation effort. This plan will eventually entail renovating the theater, creating office space, artist lofts, a technology center, and a restaurant. But COVID put the renovation plans on pause, and per Philly Mag, the unexpected passing of the community leader leading the charge on the Uptown’s renovation threw another wrench into the plans for the historic theater building. We suspect that the organization dedicated to the theater will eventually succeed in their mission, but it’ll probably take several years.

Project across the street

It’s unclear just how long it’ll take for the Uptown to reclaim its lost glory, but the block won’t remain frozen in the meantime. The project next door, like we said, is likely to move forward next year. Across the street, a small apartment building went up last year and another is under construction right now. A couple others have appeared on this block over the last few years, and we imagine we’ll see more in the years to come. Here’s to hoping that these projects are joined sooner, rather than later, but a revitalized Uptown Theater.