Ah, the southwest corner of 40th & Market. For years, there was a janky looking two-story stucco building at this corner, but in 2017 we learned that developers had purchased the building and intended to replace it with a 27-unit apartment building. That sounded great, and given the incredibly close proximity to Penn’s campus we figured the units would offer some of the more sought after student housing in the area. The building was eventually demoed, but the project never moved forward- though the vacant lot at the corner is objectively an improvement over the old building.

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Current view

A couple months ago, we learned that the developers were finally ready to get started on a project at this corner, but that the parameters had changed some. Doubling down on the corner, the developers purchased the two adjacent properties at 4002 and 4004 Market St., with an eye toward integrating those parcels into a more significant project at the corner. We showed you a rendering of a revised 7-story proposal with 42 apartments and ground floor retail. Hey, if 27 units is good, 42 units sounded even better. We noted that the project needed variances for height and lack of parking, and speculated that the final plan could change based on discussions with the community.

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Old rendering
New rendering

Wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened. Per a story in West Philly Local, the developers faced some pushback from the Spruce Hill Community Association over the project and ultimately made some significant changes to the facade to give it a less contemporary vibe. The developers also agreed to make two of the units affordable to individuals making 60% AMI in exchange for community support. Since most students have little to no income, we don’t know whether this will do anything other than result in two units that have lower rents than the rest of the building, but we still applaud the effort. As for the facade, we could have gone with either design, but we can appreciate why the people living nearby would want something a little more traditional.

The project goes to the ZBA in the next couple weeks. We imagine it will get the variances it seeks and we could see construction here sometime in 2020.