It’s been a shockingly long time since the southwest corner of 44th & Market was used for anything resembling its highest and best use. Currently, a Conoco gas station operates at this corner, and it was a BP gas station before that. From what we can tell, the property has been used in this fashion dating back to the early 1960s, though there was also an auto repair shop aspect to the business which is no longer the case. Going back to the 1950s, there was a gas station off the corner and the area at the corner was used as accessory parking to the service station.
In recent years, Chestnut Street in this part of town has seen a huge burst of development activity, with multiple developers constructing or planning somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple thousand new units across different projects. As the supply of underused and available lots start to dry up on Chestnut, it was only a matter of time before Market Street started experiencing a similar trend. While we’ve reported on a couple potential projects on Market Street in recent years, none have materialized just yet. Perhaps the first one will be here, at the corner of 44th & Market, where we’ve learned about plans a new mixed-use building which will rise… wait, this can’t be right… eleven stories???
Indeed, the zoning permit for this project indicates that the new building will be eleven stories tall, including 100 apartments, ground-floor retail, and 30 underground parking spots. This project will proceed as a matter of right, and interestingly enough, it won’t even include all of the property in question. About 40% of the property is zoned for lower height and density, so the developers are slicing off that section of the parcel and only developing the corner at this time. Figure a 3-4 story building will be proposed next door down the line, unless the developers opt to chase a zoning variance.
This project should dovetail nicely with a pair of projects in the immediate vicinity. Orens Brothers has just wrapped up a five-story building on the 4400 block of Ludlow, pretty much due south of the proposed building at 44th & Market. The last time we checked in on that project was a little over a year ago, when it was just a steel deck at the first floor. A little farther to the south, 4415 Chestnut St. has a demolition notice on its facade, indicating it should come down in the near future. You may recall, a few years back, the developers were working on a combined plan for the aforementioned Ludlow Street property and 4415 Chestnut St. which called for a total of 165 units. That plan was pared down to 30 units on Ludlow and 40 units on Chestnut Street. With the Ludlow building now done, it looks like the Chestnut project is next on the docket. And now we know, much to our surprise, that these projects will have an eleven-story neighbor right around the corner.