Don't look now, but the 4200 block of Chestnut Street is getting some new student housing. Okay, go ahead and look, it's happening no matter what you do.

New hole in the ground

4217 Chestnut St. was home for a number of years to Jack Kramers Catering, but the two-story building that housed the business has been demolished, leaving a large empty lot in its place. Developers bought the property back in 2013, and then flipped it to different developers last year. The company that now owns the property is a generic LLC, but its address tracks back to How Properties. These guys have done all kinds of projects over the years, including another student housing building on the 3200 block of Spring Garden Street. While that property primarily targets Drexel students, we'd have to imagine that the Chestnut Street property will attract Penn kids.

According to the posted permits, this project will entail a new five-story building with 28 apartments and ground-floor parking. The property goes back to Ranstead Street, so we can hope that the parking will be accessed from the rear rather than creating a curb cut on this busy stretch of Chestnut Street. Frankly, the use of the first floor for parking seems a little silly, since we're pretty sure that most undergrads around these parts go without a car, but what do we know. It's worth noting that this project is happening by right and the parking is surely included due to the required 3:10 parking ratio defined in this CMX-4 zoning district. By the way, the 4200 block of Chestnut is zoned CMX-4 for some reason.

Great buildings across the street

With such permissive zoning, we can see other developers tearing down some of the older properties on the block to build even more student housing. If developers are able to consolidate some properties, we could see a similar situation to the unfortunate demolitions we told you about on the 4000 block of Chestnut Street. We don't typically advocate for this kind of thing, but could some targeted downzoning make sense on some of these blocks?