A Philadelphia Speaks thread tipped us off about a new project in the works at 34th and Haverford Sts., on the site of a former gas station. Here’s a look at what the corner used to look like, thanks to the magic of Google Maps Street View.

Old photo

After the property sat on the market for about six months, 528-40 N 34th St. LP purchased it for $345K in March of 2011. Digging a little deeper, we discovered that the developer behind this project is, in fact, Loonstyn Properties. These guys usually do their business in the Fairmount and Francisville neighborhoods, but they seem to be breaking out of the comfort zone for this baby.

Looking west

Looking south

That's a big hole, so far

They’ll be building five triplexes on this lot, which we can only imagine are planned as rentals. Could they be student housing for Drexel students who don’t mind walking an extra few blocks? Or simply apartments for people who are looking for inexpensive new construction apartment rentals? We’re guessing the former.

This is undoubtedly a big deal for Mantua, which hasn’t seen a whole lot of non-subsidized residential new construction this far north to this point. It seems that Drexel could be going the same route as Temple, where new student housing has been going up all over the neighborhood, as we’ve repeatedly told you about.

Come what may, we just hope that the beautiful buildings that already exist are preserved in the long run. The masonry looks pretty good and some of those cornices are simply glorious.

Kitty corner to the project. Awesome cornices, less awesome porches