Since the summer, we’ve told you about more projects on Chestnut Street in West Philly than we can even remember, off the cuff. These new projects make all the sense in the world, as Penn remains one of the biggest job centers in town, ditto the hospital system nearby, and the University City Science Center continues to grow as the years roll along. Despite the explosion in new construction in the neighborhoods to the north, south, and west of Penn, Chestnut Street hasn’t seen as many projects as you might expect to date, given its tremendous location, its general underuse, and its development-friendly zoning. That started changing in the last couple years as Alterra has built a couple sizable buildings on the 4100 and 4200 blocks, and other developers are preparing to enter the fray, moving as far west as 47th Street.
Yesterday, we discovered a new zoning permit for the northwest corner of 42nd & Chestnut. This property has been home for years to Pakistani restaurant Kabobeesh, occupying what looks like a building that was originally built as a trolley car diner. The permit indicates the consolidation of two lots, demolition of the buildings on the site, and the construction of a new mixed-use building with retail on the first floor and 63 units upstairs. We will cross our fingers that Kabobeesh will be the commercial tenant in the new building, but we have a feeling that this won’t be the case.
The new building will join a cadre of new projects within a one block radius, all of which figure to break ground next year. Immediately next door, we told you a couple months ago to expect the demolition of all the buildings on the site and the construction of a new 100-unit building. On the south side of the 4200 block, a seven-story building will soon rise, with 128 apartments and office space for Intercultural Family Services. Down the line, the Intercultural building on the north side of the block will be redeveloped as well. Directly across the street, on the northeast corner of 42nd & Chestnut, a 136-unit mixed-use building is in the works. Here’s to hoping the project on the northwest corner looks as good as the plans for the northeast corner.
Just a couple years from now, this stretch will look totally different, with hundreds of new apartments adding a host of new residents, with a likely mix of students and young professionals. With so many of the larger Chestnut Street sites turning over, we see Market Street as the next logical step in the evolution of this part of town, and the recently announced 11-story building at 44th & Market would seem to confirm this theory. Figure there will be more projects coming down the pike on Market Street, with additional development on Chestnut remaining a strong possibility as well.