A permit has been issued for the construction of a three-story, three-unit residential building at 667 North 52nd Street in Mill Creek, West Philadelphia. The building will rise from a 915-square-foot footprint and will contain 3,660 square feet of floor space, a cellar, and full sprinkling. Permits list IRA Development LLC as the owner, Maher Abdelaal as the design professional, and Kumas Homes LLC as the contractor.
The site sits on the east side of the block between Wyalusing Avenue and West Girard Avenue, near its northern end, a few properties away from the intersection with Girard. The location puts the property in the northwest corner of Mill Creek, near the junction of several neighborhoods – Cathedral Park to the northeast, Carroll Park to the northwest, and Haddington to the southwest. Since neighborhood boundaries are fluid, the property may be said to be located in either of these locales.
The building will take up a portion of a large grassy lot that spans the properties from 649 through 671 North 52nd Street. Prewar rowhouses, similar to those on either side and across the street, had likely once stood at the lot, though the land has sat vacant for at least a decade.
The structure will partially obscure sightlines for a nearby mural. Several dozen feet to the north, the blank lot wall at 673 North 52nd Street is adorned with a large and elaborate trompe l’oeil painting that promotes West Philadelphia’s communal spirit. The artwork will remain partially visible at an oblique angle through the two-rowhouse-wide gap between it and the future building.
Although it will be partially obstructed, it is still a more favorable fate that awaits the mural halfway down the block the south at 627 North 52nd Street, which will be entirely blocked from view by the pair of multi-family buildings proposed at 623 and 625 North 52nd Street, which YIMBY covered in March.
The blocking of lot-wall murals is an unfortunate, but frequently all but unavoidable, side effect of a very positive trend – the revival of long-neglected neighborhoods via new construction on vacant land. The projects at 625, 627, and 667 North 52nd Street will be the first buildings to be constructed on the block since the prewar era.
The proposals signify that development continues to extend far across West Philly, radiating outward from its nucleus at University City two miles to the southeast. Given the area’s remaining abundance of vacant land, adjacent transit access via the 15 trolley on Girard Avenue and the 52 bus on North 52nd Street, and 15-minute walking distance to Fairmount Park to the north, we expect to hear more announcements of new development in the neighborhood in the near future.