Last summer I wrote about the Pennsport neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Pennsport is south of Washington Avenue and just east of Columbus Boulevard, and it includes Jefferson Square and Dickinson Square Parks. While the neighborhood is solidly middle-class and has little vacancy, it has been burdened by the hulking remains of the Mt. Sinai Hospital between Fourth and Fifth Streets and Reed and Dickinson Streets, just a few blocks north of the newly renovated Dickinson Square Park. All but one building, in the complex, has been vacant for about seventeen years, and the vacant buildings are large enough to be seen from a distance. The vacant hospital had been built in two phases, a six-storey brown-brick building, that was built in 1927 on Fifth Street, and a very modern extension on Fourth Street, also made of brown brick with large, modern plate-glass windows. The red-brick former nurse’s home, on the corner of Fifth and Reed, has long since been renovated into senior housing. A few years ago, a developer planned to renovate the existing vacant hospital (and add some floors) and create condos, but that plan fell through in the recession and real estate market crash of a few years ago. Now, another developer would like to renovate the existing building into apartments and add some townhouses and a commercial space.
The renovation, being developed by Greenpointe Construction and designed by Barton Partners, will have 175 apartments and 37 townhouses. The apartments will consist of 128 one-bedroom units, approximately 600 to 900 square feet, and 47 two-bedroom units, approximately 750 to 1,280 square feet. The townhouses will be built on former surface parking lots at Fourth & Reed and on Fifth and Dickinson Streets. The homes on Dickinson and Fifth Streets will have very traditional looking designs, but the homes at Fourth & Reed will have a very modern design, with modern panels and large picture windows and terraces. The former ambulance drop off zone on Fourth Street will be filled in and used for a retail space of about 2,500 square feet, preferably a large restaurant, and there will be additional amenities inside for residents and some green space on the grounds. There will be 157 parking spaces, mostly in a three storey parking structure on Fourth Street, and 79 bike parking spaces, and all the parking for the townhouses will be internal, so no garages facing the street. The developers hope to have the original hospital building historically certified, so as to access historic tax credits. Greenpointe received approval last week, on March 5, from the Zoning Board of Adjustment after a marathon hearing, so they can seek financing and tax credits and start construction of the first phase of townhomes in a timely manner.
The renovated Mt. Sinai Hospital would be a wonderful addition to the improved Pennsport/Jefferson Square/Dickinson Square West neighborhood. Across Reed Street, the Jefferson Square Community Development Corporation rebuilt a blighted section of the neighborhood with expansive, family-style rowhomes about a decade ago. The community groups have also been renovating Jefferson Square Park and the former Southwark housing project on Washington Avenue, in Queen Village, was also rebuilt over a decade ago. Washington Avenue, Fifth Street, and Fourth Street have been experiencing quite a bit of new development in recent years, as have the busy nearby shopping districts on South Street (north of Pennsport), the Ninth Street (Italian) Market, and Passyunk Avenue (west of Pennsport).
If you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in South Philadelphia, or any other neighborhood in the city, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, here, or check out our Long & Foster Center City office, here. You can, also, view my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, or my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE. You can view the ZBA decision, here, and check out renderings and my pictures of the site and neighborhood, below.