Open since 1998, the Alexander Inn is a lovely staple of the Philadelphia hotel scene. This 48-room spot sits in the heart of the Gayborhood/Washington Square West, with its classic design and premier location absolutely oozing with charm. But as this area has seen more development, it was almost inevitable that there would be other changes afoot. Let’s scope out the current view at 301 S. 12th St. before we get to what’s ahead.

Looking SW towards the Alexander Inn as it looks today

Thanks to a recent meeting of the Washington Square West Civic Association, we know there are plans ahead to switch up the concept of the Inn. While we weren’t able to attend the meeting, there were plans presented for Ash Hotels to take over the management of the hotel, while also expanding the footprint of the space. Ash takes a design-forward approach to their luxurious boutique spaces, and this building certainly fits the bill. The gorgeous exterior details certainly stand out in this regard, and the scale and massing of the building create a perfect slice of urbanist heaven in the supremely walkable area.

Another look at the 12th St. facade
They bays and fire escape balconies give a wonderful throwback feel
The terracotta and stained-glass details make this a standout building

To our surprise, this building is not individually listed on the local Historic Register, so we hope that we don’t see any major changes to the original details, which appear to be in tip-top shape. We are hopeful that this adaptive reuse will maintain the look and feel of the building, while perhaps raising the standards (and prices) for the rooms themselves.

There’s also plenty of other action happening just up the street, as the view of the rising apartment tower on 12th Street is quite striking from this standpoint. This mixed-use design will add 378 apartment units, along with ground floor commercial, to this increasingly busy area of the neighborhood. Progress is cruising along for this project brought to us by Midwood and designed by RSHP and BLTa.

Looking north towards the progress at 204 S. 12th St.
A rendering of the 378-unit tower

We love seeing this type of action in such a central location, even if it does mean that change is part of the equation. We’ve waxed philosophical on this topic before, but the inevitability of shifts in the look, function, and feel of an area is part of what makes a city so darn exciting. And having more people around thanks to the increased density creates exactly the type of buzzing, living neighborhood that makes Philly the coolest place on the planet in our book.