Carpenter Square is a wonderful redevelopment of a blighted area

carpenter square rendering from cornerA major new development, designed by Johnston Stromberg Architecture, is being built at the intersection of 17th and Carpenter Streets by developer MR Scott  Development LLC.  Called Carpenter Square, it is redeveloping the last large empty lot (that isn’t on Broad Street or Washington Avenue) in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.  It is just a mile, or so, south of the two tallest buildings in the city, the Comcast Center and One Liberty Place, both on 17th Street north of the Rittenhouse neighborhood.  This new project is likely the first phase of development at this still blighted intersection.

Carpenter Square will consist of 11 townhouses on 17th Street, six condos in a corner building, and one retail space on the corner, with a plaza in front.  The townhouses will have 3 bedrooms, 2,500 square feet of living space, rooftop decks, and garages in the back with two spaces.  The condos will consist of 3 one-bedroom units and 3 two-bedroom units, with an elevator in the building.  The retail space will be 1,850 square feet and will likely be a restaurant, or cafe, with outdoor seating on the corner plaza in front.  The townhouses will be three storeys and the condo building will be four storeys.  Both the condo building and townhouses will be covered in gray, white and orange paneling; wood paneling; and gray brick for a very contemporary design.  The buildings will, also, have numerous sustainable features including Energy Star appliances, windows and fixtures; green rooves; and efficient HVAC systems.  Vehicle access to the garages will be on Carpenter Street, with a driveway behind the condo building and townhouses.

This is important for this stretch of 17th Street.  For years, community groups and developers alike have proposed to develop these conspicuous vacant lots, but have been unable to start their projects.  For those of us who like to explore neighborhoods and have walked around Graduate Hospital over the years, these lots were a reminder of the neighborhood’s more depressed past.  Once, when I was speaking to someone who takes the bus down 17th Street to go home from work, she remarked about how the neighborhood can go from nice to depressed as you go towards South Philadelphia, and I knew she was referring to these lots.  So, it is a great improvement to the Graduate Hospital neighborhood to replace this large remnant of blight and replace it with sleek, modern and upscale buildings, with some retail activity for a vibrant corner.  This is the kind of urban development that should be a model for such redevelopment in other neighborhoods.  The developers are considering buying the empty lots across 17th Street to build more townhouses, and the owner of the house in the middle of that block has expressed a willingness to sell.  There is, also, a lot on the northwest corner of 17th & Carpenter that MR Scott is considering buying for another condo building, with retail and a plaza, catercorner to the restaurant space and plaza that is currently under construction.  There are, also, buildings and lots on adjacent blocks that are available for development.  Carpenter Square will likely encourage more development on neighboring Washington Avenue and south into Point Breeze.  Washington Avenue has large sites that would have much potential for new, large-scale development.  There are already plans to build a four-storey apartment building, around the corner from Carpenter Square, at 18th & Washington.  Graduate Hospital, though, is experiencing much new development, including the renovation of an old YWCA building at 16th & Catharine Streets into apartments, the renovation of Julian Abele Park at 22nd & Carpenter Streets (a few blocks west from Carpenter Square), and the construction of Southstar Lofts across Broad Street from the neighborhood, that I wrote about last week.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in the booming Graduate Hospital area, contact me at gabriel.gottlieb@lnf.com or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, here, 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.  And, you can find out more about Carpenter Square from their website, here, and view renderings and my pictures of the site and the immediate neighborhood, below.

Rendering of Carpenter Square from the corner

Rendering of Carpenter Square from the corner

Rendering of Carpenter Square, along 17th Street

Rendering of Carpenter Square, along 17th Street

Rendering of Carpenter Square, facing 17th Street

Rendering of Carpenter Square, facing 17th Street

Rendering of Carpenter Square, from the rear

Rendering of Carpenter Square, from the rear

Rendering of the view from the rooftop deck

Rendering of the view from the rooftop deck

Aerial view of Carpenter Square site

Aerial view of Carpenter Square site

Aerial rendering of Carpenter Square shows where future development might occur

Aerial rendering of Carpenter Square shows where future development might occur

Carpenter Square site, showing corner that will have a plaza and a restaurant or cafe

Carpenter Square site, showing corner that will have a plaza and a restaurant or cafe

Sign announcing Carpenter Square

Sign announcing Carpenter Square

Construction workers building Carpenter Square

Construction workers building Carpenter Square

Carpenter Square construction site, along 17th Street

Carpenter Square construction site, along 17th Street

Carpenter Square construction site, from the south

Carpenter Square construction site, from the south

Empty lots, across 17th Street from Carpenter Square, could be developed with similar townhouses

Empty lots, across 17th Street from Carpenter Square, could be developed with similar townhouses

Street signs at 17th & Carpenter

Street signs at 17th & Carpenter

Empty lot, on the northwest corner of 17th & Carpenter Streets, could have another condo building and a plaza with a restaurant or cafe

Empty lot, on the northwest corner of 17th & Carpenter Streets, could have another condo building and a plaza with a restaurant or cafe

Looking north up 17th Street, from Carpenter Street, at Comcast Center and Liberty Place

Looking north up 17th Street, from Carpenter Street, at Comcast Center and Liberty Place

New development on the 1600 block of Carpenter Street

New development on the 1600 block of Carpenter Street

1700 block of Carpenter Street also has new development and more sites for more new development

1700 block of Carpenter Street also has new development and more sites for more new development

This building, at 18th & Washington, could be replaced by a four-storey apartment building with retail

This building, at 18th & Washington, could be replaced by a four-storey apartment building with retail

Southstar Lofts is under construction, a few blocks from Carpenter Square

Southstar Lofts is under construction, a few blocks from Carpenter Square

Julian Abele Park, at 22nd & Carpenter, west of Carpenter Square

Julian Abele Park, at 22nd & Carpenter, west of Carpenter Square

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About gabrielcgottlieb

I am a real estate agent at Long & Foster Real Estate Center City and someone who likes to write about development and urban planning in the City of Philadelphia. Contact me at Gabriel.gottlieb@LNF.com if you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in Philadelphia.
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