The stretch of Spring Garden Street between 5th and 9th Streets is a bit of a no man’s land. It’s home to a number of places you’ve heard of, like Traffic Court, the Edgar Allen Poe Historic Site, and a Red Cross building, but it lacks any sort of retail street presence and it feels incredibly unwelcoming for pedestrians. Incidentally, we could have once said the same about the blocks of Spring Garden Street just to the west, but those blocks have changed quite a bit in recent years. A big part of the change was the opening of Union Transfer on the 1000 block a few years back, but we’ve also seen several small businesses open as new homes and apartments have appeared to the north and south, in the West Poplar and Callowhill neighborhoods. And the fact is, these blocks were always ahead of the game because they include an inventory of existing mixed-use buildings and not just a collection of huge commercial or industrial buildings.

Perhaps due in part to the changes west of 9th Street, we’re starting to see some changes to the east. Indoor sports complex Phield House opened at 9th & Spring Garden a couple years back. There are plans (theoretically) moving forward to replace the terrible shopping center at 5th & Spring Garden with a mix of retail and apartments. And we’re pleased to say, the surface parking lot at the northeast corner of 8th & Spring Garden is also seemingly on the outs.

Current view

This parcel has been used as a surface lot for decades, and while it probably got good parking rates during concerts in the area (when that was a thing), a daily $6 rate is a pretty good indication that people weren’t exactly knocking down the chainlink fence trying to park here. Arts + Crafts Holdings bought the property last year and now they’re looking to replace the parking lot with a seven-story mixed-use building which would be constructed by right. This project would include retail on Spring Garden Street, 146 apartments, and 29 parking spots on the northern portion of the first floor. Here are some renderings, cribbed from their Civic Design Review packet, with credit to JKRP Architects for the design work.

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Aerial view
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Project rendering
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Rendering from Green Street

This is a pretty obvious upgrade for this property and will bring some much needed density and walkability to this area. Assuming the proposed project moves forward at 5th & Spring Garden, these two buildings will serve as bookends to this small stretch of Spring Garden and could inspire other development in between, pushing out large scale commercial buildings in the process. And with this developer already owning a few properties nearby (along with numerous others on the other side of 9th Street), we’d say it’s pretty much a guarantee that things will continue to change around here and we should see proposals for more buildings like this in the coming years.