Back in the spring we shared news how a decade-long vacant corner lot at 46th & Sansom had finally changed hands from the Redevelopment Authority to new owners, a process that took almost ten years, and work on six buildings, each with four two-bedroom apartments, was underway. But when we passed by recently, that lot was not a project in progress, but a big lump of bulldozed earth.
Meanwhile, just across the street, workers were busy commanding cranes, demolishing a strip of old long-blighted homes also owned by the Redevelopment Authority. In their history, 125-129 S. 46th St. have compiled a nice rap sheet of L&I violations. The PRA also owns 133-35 S. 46th St. to round up this fist of sorry old buildings. At the least, the demolition of these buildings will eliminate blight in the neighborhood. Hopefully, it means the parcels will soon turn over and new construction will rise here.
We're wondering what the story is here, as we didn't find any permits for new construction, and, far as we can tell, the parcels have not sold. Perhaps a developer has indeed purchased this run of lots. Given the context of nearby development, it's a bit of a western stretch for student housing, though it wouldn't shock us to see the market continue to stretch. Penn and Drexel are close by, and both schools have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars in redevelopment, building towers and new buildings over the past few years. Plus, there's private investment like the 25-story mixed-use tower from Radnor Property Group that two historic brownstones at 38th & Chestnut were razed to make room for (the compromise was the church would stay). Or 3737 Market, an 11-story tower from the Science Center. Closer by, the Police are sprucing up the former Provident building at 46th & Market, making it their new home, and across the street from that The Enterprise Center plans to build the $75M Enterprise Heights, a four-or-five story office building with ground-floor retail. But that's another project near a decade in the making.
So, whatever the plans at the southeast corner of 46th & Sansom, where the strip of homes was being demolished last month, it's an improvement to see the blight go, though we hope, not at the expense of taxpayers. We'll see in a few months if this lot will share the same fate as the one across the street where the beginning of a project looks like it was only a false start.