Driving in or out of University City via the Spring Garden Bridge can be a glimpse of development to come.

First, there’s the fenced-in vacant lot at 31st & Spring Garden that plays home to a black and white sign that’s apparently been there for years. We shared plans for that parcel to become a three-story building last December. Near eight months, later the state of the lot is the same. We’re wondering whether perhaps Drexel will buy it up and build something there.

Same as it was

So it’s positive to note there are plans for a 21 unit building just west of that site at 3104-14 Spring Garden St., at the site of a former warehouse that had verdant lichen lining it like a dress. University Realty acquired the building in September 2012 for $800K, according to public record. Their permits were modified in July.

The sale came on the heels of failed attempts by the previous owner to subdivide the lot.

In the past

Last August, we wrote about plans to demolish the warehouse that once served as home to the Spiral Q Puppet Theater, which has since relocated to 41st & Hamilton. Before that, over the course of the prior year, the previous owners of the property, Kalidave LP, had applied for a number of permits to separate lot lines, build a new structure on the vacant lot, and use the warehouse as both a storage space and an artist studio.

Current view, Spring Garden side

When we passed by the site in late July it was fenced in and the warehouse had been demolished. We do not know when the building was razed but progress here is seemingly underway. We won’t be surprised when additional Drexel related development spills across Spring Garden into Mantua where there is so much vacancy on numerous run down blocks. Also of note, is Drexel’s plans for a feasibility study of the Rail Yards. Perhaps one day, this may be the heart of Drexel instead of its northern edge.

–Lou Mancinelli