With the closing of Saint Joseph's hospital back in March, we've seen North Philadelphia Health System try to improve their long standing budget problems by selling off property previously used by the hospital. For example, we told you about a former surface parking lot on the 1600 block of Cambridge Street which has been sliced and diced by different developers with plans for quadplexes, duplexes, and an apartment building. A similar situation is happening on the other side of Girard Avenue, where we discovered a growing hole in the ground at the southeast corner of 17th & Flora.
Developers bought this parcel in May and are now pursuing a plan to build an apartment building here, with 24 apartments and 8 parking spots. It stands to reason that these units will target Temple students, like so many new construction projects on this side of Girard Avenue. On the other hand, we've seen some other projects that sit close to Francisville, but just beyond the border, attract non-student tenants as well. Certainly, most folks that end up living here that doesn't make a beeline for Temple will head south, toward Francisville, or east, toward the Broad Street Line. There's certainly not much happening on 17th Street.
Incidentally, while looking at the permits for this project, we also noticed another former Saint Joseph's Hospital property has changed hands, this time on the 1600 block of W. Girard. We didn't take a photo when we were in the neighborhood, but thanks to the magic of Google Maps Streetview, we can show you 1629 W. Girard Ave. in all its glory.
The photo above actually shows two lots- the western lot was owned by the hospital and the larger parcel on the eastern side is owned by Saint Joe's Prep and seems unlikely to disappear any time soon. As for the western lot, it's owned by the same developer that owns the lot on Flora Street, so look for a similar apartment building to arrive on Girard. Unfortunately, this will mean the loss of the sweet mural in the photo above. On the plus side, so many new residents in these two buildings should mean very positive things for the slowly blossoming Ridge Avenue commercial corridor, just a couple blocks away.