2222 Market Street in the skyline from Spring Garden Street Bridge. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Philadelphia On Track for Record Construction Activity in 2022

This year, Philadelphia is about to say “Yes In My Back Yard” to new development on an unprecedented scale. Over the course of last year, the Department of Licenses and Inspections issued a slew of permit approvals that may result in the construction of approximately 10,000 new rental units, roughly triple the number of the average total per typical year. Moreover, during the same period, a total of 90 proposed developments went before the Civic Design Review (CDR) board, which makes non-binding suggestions for projects that meet certain criteria depending on size and location. The number roughly doubles the average yearly volume and has set a record for CDR submission history.

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The Blue Ivy Hotel. Rendering credit: DAS Architects

Demolition Pending at Site of Blue Ivy Hotel at 122 South 11th Street in Midtown Village, Center City

A few years ago, circa 2019, plans were announced for a 14-story, 86-room hotel to rise at 122 South 11th Street in Midtown Village, Center City. Since that time, progress on the project has been moving at a snail’s pace, which may be explained by economic uncertainty and a hospitality industry crisis that rolled in the following year. Still, development appears to be ongoing, both in terms of filing activity and on-site action, minimal as it may be. Our recent site visit revealed that the joined pair of low-rise buildings that stands at the site has not yet been demolished, though both appear shuttered, stripped down, and likely gutted.

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633 North 5th Street. Looking southeast. Credit: Google

Permits Issued for 16-Unit Building at 633 North 5th Street in Northern Liberties, Lower North Philadelphia

Permits have been issued for the construction of a four-story, 16-unit mixed-use building at 633 North 5th Street in Northern Liberties, Lower North Philadelphia. The development will apparently replace a pair of three-story prewar rowhouses situated at the southeast corner of North 5th Street and Fairmount Avenue. The new structure will span a footprint of 6,000 square feet and will hold 13,972 square feet of floor area, of which 423 square feet will be allocated for ground-floor commercial space and around 3,000 square feet for storage. The remaining square footage, totaling just over 10,000 square feet, will be residential, which translates to an average of just over 600 square feet per unit. The development will feature full sprinkling, a solar energy roof array, and indoor parking for five cars (including one accessible) and six bicycles. Permits list Volunteer for Internation. [sic] as the owner, Howard Steinberg as the design professional, and TBC LLC as the contractor. Construction costs are specified at $2.8 million.

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Arthaus and Center City towers from the I-95. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Toward the Blue Yonder: Comparing Views from the Tallest Skyscrapers on the Philadelphia Skyline

High-rise development offer numerous advantages, including efficient use of valuable urban real estate, environmental benefits through resource use economies of scale and conservation of land, and dense, transit-friendly and pedestrian-favorable environments that create thriving cities. Then, of course, there are the lofty views that are available to dwellers of sky-high aeries. Using the formula of D = 1.22459 x Sqrt (H + 5.58), where D equals distance and H stands for the height of the building’s highest floor and 5.58 represents 5′-7″, the height of the average US adult in feet, we can calculate the longest unobstructed view distances on a clear day from any building level. Today YIMBY offers a comparison of views and view distances from the highest floors of some of the tallest buildings on the Philadelphia skyline.

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3424 North 17th Street. Looking northwest. Credit: Google

Permits Issued for 23-Unit Building at 3424 North 17th Street in Nicetown-Tioga, North Philadelphia

Permits have been issued for the construction of a five-story, 23-unit mixed-use building at 3424 North 17th Street in Nicetown-Tioga, North Philadelphia. The development will rise on the west side of the block between Ontario and West Tioga streets. The structure will span a 7,798-square-foot footprint and will hold 23,964 square feet of floor space, which will include ground-floor commercial space. Residences will be located on floors two through five. The project will offer parking for six cars and seven bicycles. Permits list Scott Woodruff of Designblendz as the design professional and Backcourt Builders LLC as the contractor. Construction costs are specified at $3 million.

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