Permits have been issued for the construction of a three-story, three-unit rowhouse at 4628 Wayne Avenue in Germantown, Northwest Philadelphia. The new structure will replace a vacant lot situated on the southern corner of Wayne Avenue and West Abbottsford Avenue. Designed by Designblendz (according to zoning blueprints; in turn, permits list KCA Design Associates as the designer), the project will span 3,700 square feet and will feature a basement and a front porch. Permits list My Philly Contractor LLC as the contractor and specify a construction cost of $450,000.
The proposed building will rise as a semi-detached structure, attached on one side to a dilapidated yet stately three-story Victorian rowhouse. Remarkably, the Designblendz design for the new structure not only finely imitates its neighbor’s historic features (brick exterior, a second-story bay window, mansard third floor, and a gambrel-roofed third-story dormer), but also repeats a similar yet novel treatment on the wide elevation facing Abbottsford Avenue. Even the balconies, a feature absent in the original structure and its dilapidated counterpart two doors down, are treated with metal guardrails and decorative curved support brackets in order to match the established aesthetic. Although the structure will rise just over 38 feet high, around the established height limit, its historicist treatment will ensure that it fits very well among its neighbors.
4628 Wayne Avenue will rise several short blocks to the northwest of the Wayne Junction regional rail station; route 2, 23, 53, and 35 buses also service the vicinity (the route 53 bus stops in front of the proposed development). The development appears particularly well-suited for families with children, as four green spaces (Fernhill Park, Kay Park, Loudoun Park, and Happy Hollow Playground) and several schools and day care centers are located within a several-block vicinity. The Colored Girls Museum is situated on the south side of the block, at 4613 Newhall Street.
At 4628 Wayne Avenue, the architects’ respect of traditional context and dedication to fine historicist detail is commendable. We wish to see a similar approach at more projects situated within predominantly prewar neighborhoods. However, while the design at 4628 Wayne Avenue is highly appropriate for the location, the area immediately surrounding Wayne Junction boasts a number of large undeveloped and underdeveloped lots, making it perfectly suited for large-scale, transit-accessible, mixed-use development, where ample space allows for integrated designs with mid-rise and even high-rise structures situated in a way as to avoid adversely affecting the surrounding rowhouse neighborhoods.