North Broad Street has always had amazing bones, from when it was a thriving residential area in the Gilded Age to when it was known as Automobile Row back in the early 20th century. Investment in the area dried up in the middle to the late 20th century, but we’ve seen more and more projects appear over the last several years. One such spot was the Stable Lofts, which we last covered back in 2019. At the time, we mentioned that developers had just purchased the properties to the north at 639-53 N. Broad St., but we didn’t know their plans. Since then, the Meineke on the northern end of the site has closed down, while the drab building on the south side of the site has remained as beige as ever.

View of site from our last visit in 2019
View of Broad & Wallace in 1925 showing a busier streetscape
Africamericas Festival In 1987_ccexpress
Meineke in the background of the Africamericas Festival in 1987
View of the site today, with the Stable Lofts to the right
Former Meineke in need of some love
A closer look at 639-43
A hint at what was here in the past, looking south on Broad St.

Past plans here included a re-use of the 639-43 N. Broad St. building, marketed towards a commercial tenant. The full 639-53 N. Broad St. parcel was then marketed by the Stafford Group, which provided us with conceptual drawings from KCA Design Associates. But thanks to recently approved permits, we now have a clear picture of what’s actually in store for this property.

Brewery proposed for 649-43 in the past
Old conceptual rendering

SgRA has designed an 86-foot, six story mixed-use building, with 85 units, ground floor commercial, 20 car parking spots and 29 bicycle spots. Similar in scale to the conceptual drawing, the building will total over 92K sqft and contain almost 9,000 sqft of commercial space fronting Broad. While we don’t have specifics of the design details, expect a U-shaped building, with a second-floor courtyard facing Watts Street, in addition to multiple roof deck spaces on the top floor.

639-53 N Broad Elevation 01_ccexpress
New elevations show layout of current proposal
639-53 N Broad Site Plan 01_ccexpress
Site plan shows changes from current layout

Though the project won’t quite take full advantage of the site’s CMX-4 zoning, it’s still a huge win for North Broad Street. It’s just a block south from another proposal we recently covered near the Divine Lorraine, and joins some other plans in the works at Broad & Girard. Plus there are plenty of other projects on the horizon, collectively changing the vibe on this stretch in a dramatic way. With quick access to Temple University and the Broad Street Line, this should be an enticing location, though it may make grabbing a seat at Clementine’s Stable Cafe a bit more challenging. Sure beats getting your muffler changed, though.