Last week, we directed your attention to the northwest corner of Broad & Jefferson, noting that the Burk Mansion, vacant for about twenty years, was getting a little work done. Just to the north of this beautiful building, we spied some demolition activity that seemed like it could mean more development coming to North Broad Street.
As you can see, a former appliance store and book shop on the 1500 block of N. Broad St. have come down. Zavelle, in case you didn't know (we didn't), had a presence at Temple since before World War II. When we came upon this demolition, our first thought was that a private developer had purchased the properties with plans to build some new student housing. But no, it's actually Temple University that owns the properties. According to a Temple News story from last year, the school also owns the other buildings you see in the photos above and will be demolishing them as well, in short order. Originally, the Zavelle building wasn't part of the demolition plan but when Temple was able to acquire the parcel earlier this year for a staggering $950K, they decided to take that building down as well.
So what's the plan for this parcel? Glad you asked. Currently, Temple intends to… plant grass on the site. And determine further plans at a later date, according to a more recent Temple News story. It's actually similar to the situation with the Burk Mansion, where the school has prettied up a property they have no immediate use for in an effort to make their campus look a little better. The properties surely won't stay vacant forever, and we'd guess the school will eventually combine the lots and build a larger building of some kind on the site. Until then, and probably for at least the next couple of years, look for a fenced-in grassy lot.