See It Here First: Thirteen-Story Tower Coming to 48th & Spruce

Raise your hand if you enjoy getting important emails on Friday afternoon. No, just us? We kid, but today, we actually received a bit of exciting news via Friday PM emails. We won’t beat around the bush, because the Garden Court Community Association (GCCA) informed us that a proposal at 4726-28 Spruce St. is on tap. If you’re not familiar with the area, this nook of Garden Court in West Philly has some fantastic architectural gems, including the West Philadelphia High School┬áthat we covered a decade ago (!), and which got converted to the West Lofts apartments. Let’s take a moment to get our bearings before we get to the details.

Aerial looking east towards Center City
Aerial shows building in context with its near neighbors

If you’re concerned that we will be losing an important piece of our architectural heritage, rest assured we should be OK. Unlike the Emmanuel Church in Philadelphia just across Spruce, the buildings to be replaced aren’t going to win any awards. Let’s see what currently sits at this corner.

Recent view of the corner of 48th & Spruce
Low-rise building next door will also get the ax
The stately Emmanuel Church in Philadelphia directly across Spruce St.

So what’s in store? A 13-story apartment tower with 170 units, parking for 28 cars and 76 bikes, and almost 40K sqft of commercial space. Per a summary of this by-right project, a $1.8M payment will be made into Housing Trust Fund, which will go toward affordable housing in the neighborhood.

Site plan shows underground parking and ample commercial space, targeted for community uses
Spruce St. elevation shows different materials and setbacks
Renderings show how the building will look from different angles
A close-up of the street level of the new proposal

We have to say, we were not expecting something this slick to rise on this corner. The dark brick and ample glass on the street level will give this project from PZS Architects some pop. This entire side of the city is exploding with development, but something of this scale this far south and west is certainly not something we typically see. What a wildly exciting project from our perspective, as no historic buildings will be lost and no neighbors will be displaced. If this moves along in tandem with the plans around the corner at the Garden Court Plaza garage addition we touched on in 2020, this will add 400 new residents and pedestrians t0 the area. Three cheers for density, affordable housing, good design, and zero displacement. Wins all around (we’re looking at you now, Sixers).