The East Poplar neighborhood is one that has started to see its share of projects, with most sitting around the southern or western edges. However, right smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood, there’s a project on an empty lot that looks like it’ll be starting any day now, next door to another that recently wrapped up at a local landmark. Let’s fly our way over the neighborhood and get a better view of the property at 900-18 N. 8th St. to get started.

First, let’s quickly discuss The Poplar, the 350-unit reimagining of the former Quaker building we first covered way back in 2015, brought to us by Post Brothers. We first told you about the building’s sale back in 2017, when the property was sitting as a dilapidated warehouse. Now, the developers have turned it into a gorgeous new landmark for the neighborhood, adding vibrancy, windows, and a notable royal blue paint job. The less that’s said about the wild ride through the zoning process that got us to this point, the better. As you can see below, things are just a little bit different for the structure since a previous visit back in 2019.

Rendering of the buildings as viewed from the regional rail line
The former warehouse looking pretty terrible back in 2019
The same view today

Along with this monumental glow-up, more news is afoot for those empty lots in the foreground of the photos above. We last discussed these properties in January 2020 when there were plans for The Darien, two 11-story buildings, featuring 112 and 276 units for a grand total of 388 new apartments. Unfortunately for our skyline-expanding desires, these grand plans from Hightop Development and CosciaMoos Architecture have since been scaled down, with two five-story buildings now planned instead. Zoning documents were issued this week giving the go-ahead to move forward on this now 212-unit plan.

Old plans showed what might have been
A closer look at the facade, abutting the SEPTA tracks to the east
View of the site today, looking northwest from 8th & Poplar
View of the new five-story plans
Two-building site plan highlights that building which received zoning approval
Current view looking north along tracks
Parting (from additional density) is such sweet sorrow
Signs of action at the northern end of the western property

In addition to these new units, 69 car parking spaces, 71 bike parking spaces, and two retail spaces will be part of the mix, helping to further activate this once quiet spot. Combined with the project next door, we’ll soon see about 550 units here, with hundreds of folks increasing the local population, which was until quite recently… zero. We hope to see this get out of the ground soon, as it will be a huge boost of life for this pocket of the neighborhood.