123 S. 12th St., despite its Sesame Street-sounding address, is growing up rapidly after we last stopped over back in August. But me oh my, the scene sure is different here just five months later. Formerly a parking garage, this project (now called Jessup House, thanks to the sliver of Jessup St. on the site’s eastern edge) from global developers Greystar and designed by STUDIOS Architecture and BLTa will rise 20 stories, adding to the skyline in the rapidly expanding Washington Square West/Market East neighborhood.

This 412-unit project will bring a contemporary addition to the area. After initial plans targeted a senior-living-in-the-city project, market rate apartments will instead fill the upper floors, while the Japanese-Peruvian culinary flair of Chotto Matte will unveil their fourth US location on the ground level, with a target opening sometime in the summer (fingers crossed). A light brick podium will contrast with the glass and orange paneling on the upper floors, creating a playful tower that stands out along the stretch of older buildings. The structure is nearly topped out, with the facade now halfway up and brick starting to go up along the southern face.

The view from 11th & Sansom today
Rendering of the lower levels
The current view of the ground level
Balconies are prominently featured on the western facade
A sneak peek at the brick and the paneling
A rendering of Jessup House from 11th & Sansom
Current look at the former Midtown II diner next door

While things are charging forward here, the immediate neighbors to the east at the former Midtown II diner are seemingly stuck in the mud. After receiving demolition permits back in 2019 (that have since expired), plans were in place to make way for the 14-story Blu Ivy Hotel. This proposal from restaurateurs the Estia Group was to include a two-story Mediterranean restaurant called Anthos on the lower levels of this DAS Architects-designed project. Despite receiving construction permits in September 2021, the future site of this 86-key throwback hotel is looking rough around the edges in its current state, so we hope to see things start moving soon.

A rendering of the proposed Blue Ivy hotel
The old Wendy's and its western neighbors have been demolished, with the site looking shockingly clean

Just down 11th St., the former Wendy’s at 11th & Walnut is gone, along with its western neighbors. When we were here last summer, demo was still on-going to make way for an the expanded design of the 198-unit tower. While things seemed to be full-steam ahead for these plans from JKRP Architects, the current state of the job site makes us a bit uneasy whether we’ll see movement here in the near term (cue flashbacks to another now-paused construction site).

The future ground floors at 11th & Walnut
Aerial rendering of the project

Along with the action close by along 12th St., this area is simply packed with excitement these days. Washington Square West can lose its charm as you move northwards towards Market Street, but these projects are keeping the vibrancy and residential presence strong as one transitions into Market East. We just love seeing these commercial corridors east of Broad getting needed upgrades and additional residents, befitting their prime locations. And we also love cookies, om num num num num num.