The last few years have brought an incredible amount of construction activity to the neighborhoods surrounding Temple University, largely in the form of private developers building student housing. Though much of this effort is concentrated on the blocks closest to campus, we've seen some examples of far flung development, like a triplex on the 700 block of Master Street or apartments on the 2300 block of North Park Street. Today, we look at a new project that just started construction that's actually kind of close to campus, but you wouldn't think so from looking around.
Earlier this year, developers bought and consolidated 1315 and 1317 N. 16th St., which have been vacant for a long time. The lots are on the small side, only 700 sqft each, so combining them makes all kinds of sense. Soon, we'll see a three story building rise here with a commercial space on the first floor and two apartments above. If we had to guess, we'd assume that the developers are building the commercial space with no expectation of finding a business to take it over, but will instead convert it to residential use once the building goes up. We've seen this before on Cecil B, and would have to imagine we'll see it again here. Let's agree, this doesn't exactly look like a viable location for a business at the moment.
Though the area looks really desolate today, it should be seeing some more construction activity in the very near future with the start of the Ingersoll Commons project we told you about almost two years ago. This ten-home affordable housing project will also include a park and should make the area feel considerably less like the surface of the moon.
So maybe the student housing developers know exactly what they're doing here. Today the area looks rough. But by the time the project is ready to start leasing, the lot across the street will be under construction and a park will be on the way. As for the veritable forest directly to the south, we don't know if and when that's going anywhere. See, when land is owned by the City of Philadelphia, it could turn over tomorrow. Or it could remain in its current state for another decade. Unfortunately, there's just no way to know for sure.