Clark Park is great. Over its nine plus acres, it boasts lush grass, some gnarly old trees, a couple playgrounds, a rad statue of Charles Dickens, an old pond bed, and one of our favorite farmers markets. It’s a great spot for a game of catch, a frisbee toss, some volleyball, or perhaps some LARPing, if that’s your thing. Over the last two decades, the park has become dramatically revitalized, and the surrounding neighborhood has appreciated considerably. If we were to move to West Philly, we’d be very interested in the homes on the 4300 block of Baltimore Avenue, which look out onto the park from the north, though the homes on the southern end of the park on 45th Street are pretty good too.
It’s a bit of a shock that there’s a huge property at 4224 Baltimore Ave., right across the street from Clark Park, which has been sitting vacant for a long time. We’ve covered this site many times over the years, incidentally. We first wondered about the property back in the spring of 2012, and a year later, we learned about a by-right plan for 92 apartments, though details were lacking at the time. After another year, we covered an impressive community outreach process from developers the Clarkmore Group with help from U3 Advisors, which resulted in a host of changes to the project. The revised plans called for 132 condos and rental apartments, retail, and roughly 1:2 parking. Finally, in 2015, the project received approval from the ZBA. That was… uh… <checks notes> six years ago. And the property is still sitting vacant, folks!
Here’s a look at what was proposed previously, with credit to Cecil Baker and Partners for the design work:
Now, after more than half a decade, it appears that this project is finally moving forward, per a note from the local community group. The developers pulled building permits in 2019, and we suspect that things were then jammed up some due to the 100-year global pandemic we’ve all been dealing with. Somewhere along the line, it appears they made a change to their design team, pivoting to Barton Partners. Here’s a look at the new rendering for the project:
Due to the fact that the project is happening due to a zoning variance, it appears that the density and parking and retail components are remaining the same, despite the dramatic change to the building’s appearance. The original plan called for a mix of condos and rentals, and we confess we don’t know whether that’s still in play or not. But honestly, we don’t much care- we’re just delighted that this project looks like it’s finally going to happen, and we look forward to seeing this vacant lot get filled. Once this thing does get built, the adjacent Clark Park will represent one of the more unbeatable amenities in town for the residents of the building.