As we made our way down Chestnut Street and through Spruce Hill after our recent West Philly excursion, even we couldn’t believe the incredible amount of construction taking place. It was less than a year ago that we checked in on several projects wrapping up along this stretch at the far western edge of University City, and boy oh boy, it’s almost unrecognizable even over that short amount of time. Today we need to focus on only four blocks – from 46th Street to 42nd Street along Chesnut – to provide a multitude of updates. Across eight projects, a total of 1,347 units are joining the neighborhood, and that’s just counting what’s already in motion. There are numerous other projects of various types taking place just outside these boundaries, so this is just a sample of what’s happening. Let’s check out an aerial of the area first before we get to the updates.

Highlighted area gives a rough idea of our focus today

We start on the western edge of this stretch, where 4519-45 Chestnut St. is well underway. This SITIO-designed project is the largest of the group, and this building will feature 327 apartments along with 93 car parking spaces. The site has long been cleared of the older buildings that once stood here, and the steel has risen to cover almost the entirety of this massive parcel that sits directly next to West Catholic Preparatory High School.

Highlighted area gives a rough idea of our focus today
4519-45 Chestnut in the past
The cleared site in the more recent past
A view of the current progress, looking across Chestnut

4415 Chestnut St. sits just one block to the east, where the Orens Brothers are planning 40 units in a mixed-use building. This Wulff Architects-designed project will feature one commercial space along with 24 car parking spaces for this project which also includes a sister building on Ludlow Street to the immediate north. Demo is now complete along Chestnut Street and foundations and heavy equipment could be seen on site, so expect this to make its presence felt in the very near future.

4415 Chestnut in the past
Current view shows completed demo and major work underway
A rendering of what will fill the current void

At 4301 Chestnut St., Alterra Property Group has plans for a block-long project. Alterra has perhaps had the biggest impact of any developer in the area, and these 275 units and 30K sqft of commercial space will certainly add to that impact. JKRP Architects led the design on this seven-story, gray-brick structure. Site prep is now well underway, so we’d expect to see some major progress between now and the end of the year.

The low-rise strip mall that once stood on site
Site currently cleared and ready to get digging
Rendering of what's to come

We hop to the south side of the street to 4240 Chestnut St., where an office-residential project is making moves. Intercultural Family Services once had office space and a parking lot on site, but things are now cleared and ready for this design from DAS Architects. Look for 128 apartments along with two floors of office space for the aforementioned non-profit organization in this seven-story building.

In the past, two older building stood next to a large surface parking lot
The cleared site as it looks today
Rendering of the mixed-use building at 4240 Chestnut

Jumping back to the north side of the block, 4233 Chestnut St. is the project that is furthest along out of the bunch. Formerly the Alterra-developed Next LVL, this now completed-building has recently changed hands and is now branded as Solo 4233. We will always lament the loss of the gorgeous church that once stood here, but these JKRP-designed 278 apartments and 8K sqft of retail space have quickly become something of an anchor for this commercial stretch. Oh, and the liquor store that was previously located on the 4300 block has relocated to this new building.

The church that once stood at the northeast corner of 43rd & Chestnut
View of the cleared site in the recent past
Current view of the now-complete 4233 Chestnut St.
Real version looks even better than the rendering

Moving a bit further east to 4211 Chestnut St., yet another project is taking the place of two recently demo’ed buildings. This mid-block project will add 100 units within a seven-story structure. No zoning permits have been issued as of yet, but we’ll be on the lookout for any design updates moving forward.

View of the two buildings that once stood on site
Current view, with some elevator cores rising from the ground

Directly next door to this at the northwest corner of 42nd & Chestnut, 26-40 S. 42nd St. also has plans in the works. We don’t yet have renderings for this CosciaMoos-designed project, but zoning documents (and something else we’ll get to shortly) give us a better idea of what to expect. No work has yet taken place at the current location of Kabobeesh, but plans here call for 63 units over ground floor retail space.

View of the corner in the recent past
26-40 S. 42nd St. looking much the same on the far right of the picture
Zoning documents show off the angular shape of the facade

For our last project at 4141 Chestnut St., we are slightly cheating by jumping over 42nd St., but for good reason. This project on the northeastern corner of 42nd & Chestnut is designed by CosciaMoos and just so happens to feature a design very reminiscent of what we just saw on the zoning documents for across the street. This seven-story tower will replace the buildings that are currently on site and will bring 136 apartments and three new commercial spots to the ground floor.

View from the past, includes building on corner and the half-building to the right
Current view of site, with some plywood over the windows
Rendering shows the future view from the corner

Whew, quite the ride, huh? As we said, this is just a small sample of everything happening in the area. Once all of these projects wrap, well over a thousand new residents will live on just these blocks – a wild and exciting thought for the area this far west of Penn and Drexel. Figure that as these projects come online, we’ll see additional projects continue to crop up, likely moving even farther north and west as developers continue to look farther afield for new opportunities.