The 65,639 square foot, vacant, triangular lot at 19th St. and Wylie St. in Francisville has a ton of history. A paint factory once stood on the property. The property went through foreclosure and was assumed by the City of Philadelphia. There have been multiple development proposals for the site and attempts to rezone the parcel from industrial use to mixed-use. We won’t go into all of the details in this article as that information is out there on the interwebs. However, the land continues to sit vacant as the rest of the neighborhood has developed around it. Right across 19th St. from the lot, we told you about a project that will replace a garage and 3 houses with a 48-unit building.
The vacant lot is actually two legal parcels. There is 821 N. 19th St., the larger plot on the northern part of the property, and 801 N. 19th St., the parcel on the corner of 19th and Wylie. On Monday (August 19th), zoning / use permits were pulled to construct a 50-foot-high, 4-story building with 61 residential units and ground floor retail at 801 N. 19th St. The building would also have a roof deck, 21 car parking spots, and 21 bicycle spaces.
The last iteration of this project that we heard about was in 2017 and included 61 units, ground floor retail, and 19 parking spots at 801 N. 19th St. That project also included 28 single-family houses with green space in the middle of the development.
We imagine that the current developers will pursue a similar proposal for 821 N. 19th St., but we will cross our fingers that it ends up being more dense. There are not many vacant parcels this large remaining in Philadelphia’s core. We need to capitalize on opportunities like this and build dense projects. If we do not, home prices and rents will continue to skyrocket and people will be pushed farther and farther out of the urban core of the city. We need to build as much housing as we can in places that are quick commutes to the city’s job centers. We cannot keep missing opportunities and building single family houses where larger buildings are more appropriate.