The 400 block of N. 40th St. in University City has experienced a dramatic change in the last several years. As recently as 2009, the western side of the block was dominated by a collection of vacant lots, until a couple of apartments buildings went up a couple of years ago. Still, a huge vacant lot loomed immediately to the north. That lot is now in the process of filling in on both 40th and Wiota Streets. 

Back in 2009

When we visited this block a few days ago, there was new construction happening all the way up the northern half of the block, until the corner parcel, where there stands a church. A couple of years ago, the huge lot we mentioned above was subdivided into seven lots with four fronting 40th Street and three fronting Wiota Street. Currently, three of the four lots on 40th St. are under construction and two of the Wiota lots are getting built. It will be quadplexes on 40th St. and triplexes on Wiota. At first we thought that the vacant middle parcels might be parking access, but it seems that's not the case.

Quadplexes on 40th St.

Triplexes on Wiota St., blocked by a tree

It's interesting to think about the changing tide of N. 40th Street when you consider that, across the street closer to Baring, where 403-25 N. 40th is currently being developed into, you guessed it, student housing. This redevelopment becomes even more meaningful when you consider the complete transformation of the 4000 and 4100 block of Baring St. that occurred over the last two years, and built a block full of student housing in the place of a string of vacant lots. It reasons that this spur in building new student housing has come on the heels of consistent building by Drexel, Penn and the Science Center. Ongoing projects from those schools will bring more than 1,500 new beds to University City. This sort of development is a look at how larger institutional building, can impact the work of smaller developers.