Between the summer just passed and the last, there's been consistent building along Spring Garden Street in West Philly starting the minute you cross over the Spring Garden Bridge. Closer to the Drexel and Penn campuses, numerous large-scale institutional developments have generally ruled the roost. But deeper into Mantua, smaller residential developments are sprouting up everywhere.
Right now the 3600 block of Spring Garden Street has a few different projects to speak of. For many years, 3614 and 3616 Spring Garden St. were vacant lots. The eastern parcel is now well into construction on a six-unit apartment building. The other, which was owned by City agencies for half a decade, was sold to developers last year and recently got approvals for a quadplex. We have little doubt that these units will be offered as student housing.
The south side of this street is getting a couple of new construction properties whose architectural details don't compare to their neighbors. To drink in the way the standards have changed over time, we just need to look across the street.
Several of these properties, though they have amazing bones, are vacant and in a state of disrepair. Looking at the photo above, it looks as though there was a fire at 3623 Spring Garden St. at some point in the last couple of years which impacted the adjacent homes. On the positive side, permits have been filed for renovations to several of these buildings, we'd guess to accommodate even more student housing.
The trend toward students is even more pronounced as you head east on Spring Garden Street. In the last year, a 24-unit building has gone up on the 3200 block and a 21-unit place that oddly backs up to Spring Garden has appeared on the 3100 block. Combined with other developments on nearby blocks, we're seeing a ton of new students in areas they never lived before, which surely creates tension with non-student residents. Perhaps Drexel's new Dornsife Center, a renovation of three preexisting buildings at 35th & Spring Garden which opened this summer, can help bridge the gap between the transient student population and long term residents.