We are seeing auto-oriented businesses and garages eliminated in pedestrian-focused neighborhoods across the city to make way for residential units and mixed-use projects. We recently brought you a development opportunity at Berks and Frankford at the site of an auto garage, a car wash that will be demolished soon in Fishtown, a 141 unit building replacing a Wash n Lube in West Philly, and a 31 unit mixed-use project replacing an auto body shop in Norris Square. Developers are buying up under-utilized parcels in Philadelphia and pursuing more appropriate developments in residential neighborhoods that bring higher rates of return.
Today, we bring you a project at 808-818 N. 19th St. in Francisville. In 2016 and 2017, a developer was able to acquire 3 contiguous single family houses and a large garage that has been the home to Girard Auto Body. The lots were all zoned Residential Single Family Attached-5 (RSA-5) and totaled 12,400 square feet. Because of the zoning classification, only single family homes could have been built on the lot without a zoning variance. Earlier this year, the developer was granted a variance by the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) to combine the lots and build a multi-family dwelling. On May 23rd, permits were issued for the demolition of all structures on the lot and for the construction of a 48 unit residential structure with 18 car parking spots, 15 bike spaces, a roof deck, and a green roof.
The auto body shop was still doing business when we walked by the site today. So, we are not sure when demolition will actually proceed. At nearly 47 feet high, this will definitely be one of the tallest buildings in the surrounding area as the block is mostly occupied by single family homes.
Across the street from the project, you may recognize the huge triangular lot. The 65,639 square foot RM-1/RMX-3 lot has seen multiple proposals for it over the years. Most recently, 66 condos were planned for the lot. However, we haven’t heard anything about this project since 2017. We’d like to see a development that is more dense than 66 units on such a big parcel.
Francisville, Fairmount, and Brewerytown all have a ton of development action going on right now. Be on the lookout for more construction updates from us on this side of Broad St. in the near future.