Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a term that refers to the concept of building high-density development near public transportation. TOD is meant to encourage use of the nearest public transportation nodes by making homes, offices, retail, and schools within a reasonable walking distance of public transportation access points. TOD is designed with limited parking and little automobile access points in favor of pedestrian-friendly buildings and retail. Very soon, the Temple University regional rail station in Eastern North Philadelphia will have one of the city’s most innovative TOD buildings (and one of the largest outside of downtown).
Eastern North Philadelphia is experiencing quite a bit of new development and community revitalization. The Temple University train station is located in the Ludlow neighborhood, on the eastern side of Temple’s large North Philadelphia campus, and is one of the busiest train stations in the SEPTA regional rail system. Ludlow has seen some of the most rebuilding of any neighborhood in the city, as is detailed in my previous article about the neighborhood. In that article, I write extensively about the efforts of Asociacion de Puertorriqenos en Marcha (APM), the largest community group in the area. APM has taken the lead in building La Pradera, a development of twin homes between 6th Street and 9th Street, and the modernist Sheridan Street townhomes on tiny Sheridan Street. Now, APM and New York-based Jonathan Rose Companies are finishing up the TOD building next to the Temple University train station, at 9th & Berks Streets.
The new building is called Paseo Verde, Spanish for “green way”, and it will be a mix of residential, community and commercial office, and retail space on a block-long, 1.9 acre site that used to be a parking lot for Philadelphia Gas Works. It will be five storeys, with a green roof on top of portions of the first level. The first floor will have commercial retail space and an office for APM, the second floor will have more community and commercial office space, including space for a medical center, and the top three floors will have 164 apartments, 44 of which will be subsidized to be affordable. At the northern side of the building, at 9th & Norris Streets, will be several large townhouses.
The design of the building, by Wallace, Roberts, and Todd, is very modern with large windows and colorful panels. The first floor will cover the entirety of the site up to the townhouses at the northern end, with the upper floors divided into four sections, two of them four storeys and two of them five storeys (including the first floor below each section). The green rooves, over the first level, will act as courtyards between the four upper floor sections. APM would like to achieve LEED certification for Paseo Verde. The whole development will cost a total of $48 million, coming from government grants and private foundations, and will be completed early next year after more than a year of construction.
This development is a milestone for Ludlow, which hasn’t seen this much retail development for decades except for one shopping center at 5th Street & Montgomery Avenue, that was also built by APM. However, it is hardly the only major development, with retail, in this area. Around the corner on Norris Street from Paseo Verde, and on the other side of the SEPTA tracks, is Diamond Green, a five storey apartment building which will have several retail spaces. Also, a block west of Paseo Verde is a new parking garage with a retail space on Berks Street and at 11th Street & Montgomery Avenue a large new apartment building is being built with several retail spaces on the site of the old Wanamaker Public School. These developments (except the garage, of course), and several other apartment developments such as the Kardon Building apartment conversion; the Atlantic warehouse apartment conversion; the University Village Apartments; and the PHA’s new Norris Apartments, are concentrating housing within walking distance of the Temple rail station to achieve the TOD goal.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in this rapidly revitalizing area of the city, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, or my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE. You can, also, learn more about our Long & Foster Philly Center City Office, here. You can, also, check out APM’s website for more info or updates about the project and view renderings and my pictures of the building and neighborhood, below.