A recent Philly YIMBY site visit has confirmed that construction has been completed at a three-story, three-unit residential structure at 1854 North 17th Street in the Cecil B. Moore neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Alfa Engineering Inc. is the listed design professional and Patel Pankaj is the listed owner of the property, which is located a few blocks west of Temple University. The construction permit specifies Cesar Sanchez of Norwood, PA as the contractor.
The building replaces a three-story rowhouse was built in the prewar era, as part of an ensemble that stretches across at least two blocks. The original design, evident in the building next door at number 1852 and throughout the area, featured classic elements of the local vernacular such as a tall porch, a red brick façade, ornamental horizontal courses, corbelled piers on the upper floors, white stone sills and lintels at the windows, and an ornate bracketed cornice.
Since that time, the exterior was reclad with a rusticated light beige stone veneer and the cornice was covered in siding, stripping the building of any remaining historic value.
Ten years ago, around half of the properties on the block sat vacant. Since then, a real estate boom driven by an ever-growing housing demand for Temple University students prompted the construction of multiple three-story apartment structures in their place, densifying the area and leaving few gaps in the streetscape.
The property also sits within a block of the George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, the Wagner Free Institute of Science, and the Philadelphia Police station for the 22nd and 23rd precincts.