It was not even a week ago that we shared news about a new 100-unit building in the works for the 4200 block of Chestnut Street, adding to the rapidly growing list of new apartment buildings on Chestnut Street near Penn. While a hundred new units is no small project, it pales in comparison to the nearly completed Next LVL building nearby at 43rd & Chestnut, which includes 281 units over its seven stories. Offhand, we believe it’s the densest residential project west of 38th Street in recent memory. Feel free to tell us we’re wrong in the comments.
Assuming Next LVL is sitting in the top spot in terms of unit count, it appears it’s going to be knocked off its perch very soon. Yesterday, we learned about yet another Chestnut Street project in the pipeline, just a couple blocks to the west. Please allow us to draw your attention to 4519-45 Chestnut St., a property that’s currently in use by West Catholic Preparatory High School. The school uses this property mostly as a parking lot but there are also a couple of small buildings on the property which we expect would be demolished as part of an upcoming development.
The project in question would entail the construction of a new building with 327 apartments and 92 parking spots. According to the zoning permit, the plan still needs to go to Civic Design Review before it can get final approval, but we could have told you that. And… that’s pretty much all we know at this point. The property is still showing as being owned by the Archdiocese, so we don’t know who will be developing the site. We also don’t know what the building will look like. If we had to guess, we’d wager that Alterra is the developer and that the new building will look quite similar to their project at 43rd & Chestnut, but that’s 100% speculation on our part.
We can say with a high degree of confidence that the new building will look nothing like its historic neighbor to the east. This school was constructed as West Philadelphia Catholic Girls High School in 1927, merging with West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys in 1989. From what we can tell, the operations of the school will not be impacted by the sale of the adjacent parking lot, but we do have to wonder where everyone is going to park with the elimination of the obviously well used lot. Perhaps some of the spaces in the new building will be reserved for the school? Or maybe a section of the property will remain empty and the school will maintain a small surface parking lot?
At this point there are still many unanswered questions here – but we can say with great certainty that developers are going to continue to look for every possible opportunity in Walnut Hill, Spruce Hill, and other neighborhoods near the universities in West Philly. The upcoming project at 46th & Chestnut will certainly be among the largest we’ve seen around here, but other properties large and small will continue to turn over and we suspect that sizable projects like this one will crop up farther north and west, moving forward.