As opposed to many other parts of town, condos really aren’t a thing in West Philadelphia. And you can probably figure out why without thinking too hard on the subject. The most obvious reason is that student housing rentals are a very attractive and lucrative market, so the overwhelming majority of multi-family projects in West Philadelphia neighborhoods near Penn and Drexel are built with that approach in mind. There’s also a fairly robust market for single-family homes, with some of those homes purchased by people planning to live in said homes, and others purchased by landlords looking for larger student housing rental units. If we focus on the former group, there’s a distinct lack of inventory when it comes to smaller-sized, more affordable units which are either new construction or newly rehabbed. A project called Baltimore Crossing is looking to address that niche.
The project is so named because it literally crosses Baltimore Avenue, with one building currently under construction at 717 S. 51st St. and another still in the foundation stage at 732 S. 51st St., just on the other side of the neighborhood commercial corridor. The northern building will eventually contain three units while the southern building will have five, which we believe makes it a quint-plex. Or maybe a quintuplex? Either way, all eight units are available for sale, with prices ranging from $260K for an 850 sqft 2 bed/2 bath unit, to $335K for a 1,700 sqft unit with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.
Of course, you can certainly find properties for less money in Cedar Park, but these units should absolutely hit a sweet spot for people specifically looking for new construction properties in this part of town but aren’t interested in or able to break the bank. Further, there are countless huge homes in this neighborhood, but not so many for-sale properties on the smaller side, which is another selling point for some buyers. As such, we imagine the condos will sell fairly briskly, and if they do, we wonder whether we’ll see others pursue projects with a similar approach.
That’s not what’s happening across the street at 5050 Baltimore Ave., a project we last covered about a year ago. You may recall, a new mixed-use building was proposed over there, with 12 rental apartments, a mental health services office, and a Baby Word Play location. It wasn’t clear whether that project would get a variance when we last checked in, but the ongoing construction work on the site would indicate that it does indeed have the permit it needs, and yet another long vacant lot on Baltimore Avenue is getting filling in. Looking forward, it will be a great situation someday soon when future Baltimore Crossing residents will have the pleasure of bringing their kids to Baby Word Play, right across the street.