We've visited the area around 42nd & Chester a disproportionate number of times over the years, mostly because of a building collapse a few years ago and the construction of a new building near Clark Park that does a remarkable job fitting in with the older homes in the neighborhood. The same cannot be said about the pair of six-unit buildings at 4128 and 4130 Chester Ave. which were constructed back in 2014.
The last time we were here, a little over a year ago, we commented that the corner property at 4134 Chester Ave., the former site of the collapsed deli, was sitting vacant despite the construction next door. We noted that University of the Sciences had purchased the building in 2012 for unknown reasons, as such a small parcel wouldn't seem to offer much to a school. They sold the building last year at a loss, and when we passed by the other day we noticed that there's a new hole in the ground. Developers are building a by-right project here, with retail space on the first floor and two apartments above. We'd have perhaps gone to the ZBA for additional density, but what do we know.
We don't know what this building will look like, but we're hopeful that it will have more personality than the newer buildings next door. Just down the block on 42nd Street, we spied some amazing older buildings that helped remind us of the excellence of West Philly architecture.
We don't need the new project to look like these buildings, but something that at least gives some kind of nod to the surrounding architecture doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it?