New apartment building, at 1601 Washington Avenue, may be the beginning of change on Washington Avenue

future site of 1601 washington ave. apartments and retailWashington Avenue, west of Broad Street, is a historically industrial street.  For decades it was lined with active factories and warehouses, the largest industrial corridor in South Philadelphia not adjacent to the waterfront.  As time went by, most of the factories closed down and the industrial buildings were converted almost entirely into home building and decorating supply warehouses, some with pedestrian-accessible showrooms.  As the city’s housing market has boomed, these businesses have grown and sometimes have been renovated.  However, many people believe that with housing development in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood reaching a limit of available space and the outdated layout of these warehouse buildings, that Washington Avenue should see redevelopment.  Several small apartment developments are planned for Washington Avenue, one at 20th Street and Washington, another at 18th Street and Washington, and the largest at 16th Street and Washington Avenue.

The development at 1601 Washington Avenue, designed by RHC Design LLC, will be five storeys tall and have 35 apartment units.  The exterior will have modern panels and traditional looking windows, with Juliet balconies and a rooftop deck.  There will be retail on both Washington Avenue and 16th Street, and a parking entrance on Washington Avenue leading to 20 ground level parking spaces behind the building.  The property is currently part of a parking lot for a grocery store set back from Washington Avenue.  1601 Washington Avenue will be built on a diamond-shaped parcel of land that is separate from the grocery store and the rest of its parking lot.  This juxtaposition to the existing grocery store caused concern in the neighborhood, but after much testimony at Planning Commission and Zoning Board hearings, both the Planning Commission and Zoning Board voted to approve the project, agreeing with some neighbors who believe that industrial and warehouse uses, as well as, suburban-style strip malls, were not the best use for Washington Avenue properties nowadays.

This new development, like I said, could start a new trend of new residential and commercial development on this stretch of Washington Avenue.  When I was in the neighborhood the other day, I found out that one of the buildings near 19th Street was for sale, then I found out that the building directly across the street was also for sale.  Besides the developments planned at 18th and 20th Streets, there are plans to convert the large former Frankford Chocolate Factory, at 22nd Street and Washington Avenue, into apartments and there is a large new townhouse and condo project being built at 17th & Carpenter Streets, called Carpenter Square, and a site across the street that will be redeveloped by a developer that was chosen last week by the Redevelopment Authority.  On the northwestern corner of 17th & Carpenter, an empty lot is about to be converted into a neighborhood park called Carpenter Green, which is probably one reason why this apartment building at 1601 Washington Avenue is being built at this time.  Washington Avenue could, also, attract artists and creative companies in existing and newly constructed buildings.  NextFab Studios, which provides work spaces, machinery, and tools for artists and creative companies has recently opened up a few blocks west of 1601 Washington.  Also, an old warehouse just south of Washington Avenue, at 25 & Ellsworth Streets, is being renovated into loft-style apartments.  As if all this isn’t enough, the University of Pennsylvania is starting to redevelop the former Dupont Labs site on the Schuylkill River, just off of Gray’s Ferry Avenue near the western end of Washington Avenue, with a mix of research facilities and office and lab space for private high-tech companies.

At Broad and Washington, developer Bart Blatstein is planning a huge shopping center development, which hopefully will include some residential towers as well, and South Broad Street is experiencing several new developments, such as the Southstar Lofts apartment building, at Broad and South Streets, and the SLS International Hotel and Condominiums, at Broad and Spruce Streets.  The redevelopment of Washington Avenue seems almost inevitable with this huge amount of housing development happening nearby.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home or investment property in the Graduate Hospital or Point Breeze neighborhoods, or any other neighborhood in the city, please contact me at gabriel.gottlieb@lnf.com or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, here, or learn more about our Long & Foster Center City office, here.  You can, also, check out my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, or follow my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE.  And, you can look at the ZBA approval, here, and view renderings and my pictures of the site and neighborhood, below.

Site diagram of 1601 Washington Avenue apartments shows retail and parking on the ground level

Site diagram of 1601 Washington Avenue apartments shows retail and parking on the ground level

Elevation rendering of 1601 Washington Avenue, showing Washington Avenue side and retail

Elevation rendering of 1601 Washington Avenue, showing Washington Avenue side and retail

1601 Washington Avenue, and shopping center, from across Washington Avenue

1601 Washington Avenue, and shopping center, from across Washington Avenue

Elevation rendering of 1601 Washington Avenue showing the 16th Street side and more retail space

Elevation rendering of 1601 Washington Avenue showing the 16th Street side and more retail space

Future site of 1601 Washington Avenue apartments, at the corner

Future site of 1601 Washington Avenue apartments, at the corner

Supermarket behind 1601 Washington Avenue

Supermarket behind 1601 Washington Avenue

Warehouse and store across Washington Avenue

Warehouse and store across Washington Avenue

Street signs at 16th Street and Washington Avenue

Street signs at 16th Street and Washington Avenue

Looking west down Washington Avenue, from 16th Street

Looking west down Washington Avenue, from 16th Street

Looking east down Washington Avenue, from 16th Street

Looking east down Washington Avenue, from 16th Street

Looking north up 16th Street, towards Center City, from 1601 Washington Avenue

Looking north up 16th Street, towards Center City, from 1601 Washington Avenue

Carpenter Square, under construction on 17th Street, around the corner from 1601 Washington Avenue site

Carpenter Square, under construction on 17th Street, around the corner from 1601 Washington Avenue site

Looking up 17th Street, and at the future development site across from Carpenter Square

Looking up 17th Street, and at the future development site across from Carpenter Square

This site on 17th Street, across from Carpenter Square and around the corner from 1601 Washington Avenue, has just been sold to a developer by the Redevelopment Authority

This site on 17th Street, across from Carpenter Square and around the corner from 1601 Washington Avenue, has just been sold to a developer by the Redevelopment Authority

This lot, on the northwest corner of 17th and Carpenter Streets, is the future site of Carpenter Green

This lot, on the northwest corner of 17th and Carpenter Streets, is the future site of Carpenter Green

Sign announcing Carpenter Green

Sign announcing Carpenter Green

Corner of 18th Street and Washington Avenue may, also, have a new apartment building soon

Corner of 18th Street and Washington Avenue may, also, have a new apartment building soon

Corner of 20th Street and Washington Avenue may have a new apartment building

Corner of 20th Street and Washington Avenue may have a new apartment building

New apartment building on 20th Street, just north of Washington Avenue

New apartment building on 20th Street, just north of Washington Avenue

NextFab Studios is down the street from 1601 Washington Avenue

NextFab Studios is down the street from 1601 Washington Avenue

The former Frankford Chocolate Factory, at 22nd Street and Washington Avenue, may be converted into apartments soon

The former Frankford Chocolate Factory, at 22nd Street and Washington Avenue, may be converted into apartments soon

This vacant warehouse, at 25th and Ellsworth Streets, is to be converted into apartments soon

This vacant warehouse, at 25th and Ellsworth Streets, is to be converted into apartments soon

Northwest corner of Broad and Washington, two blocks from 1601 Washington Avenue, is a prime spot for future development

Northwest corner of Broad and Washington, two blocks from 1601 Washington Avenue, is a prime spot for future development

Huge lot, at northeast corner of Broad and Washington, is about to be redeveloped by Bart Blatstein

Huge lot, at northeast corner of Broad and Washington, is about to be redeveloped by Bart Blatstein

Sign announcing new retail space at northeast corner of Broad and Washington

Sign announcing new retail space at northeast corner of Broad and Washington

777 South Broad Street apartments, at Broad and Fitzwater Streets

777 South Broad Street apartments, at Broad and Fitzwater Streets

Southstar Lofts apartments, at Broad and South Streets

Southstar Lofts apartments, at Broad and South Streets

Symphony House Condominiums and Suzanne Roberts Theatre, at Broad and Pine Streets

Symphony House Condominiums and Suzanne Roberts Theatre, at Broad and Pine Streets

Future site of SLS Hotel and Condominiums, at Broad and Spruce Streets

Future site of SLS Hotel and Condominiums, at Broad and Spruce Streets

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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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One Response to New apartment building, at 1601 Washington Avenue, may be the beginning of change on Washington Avenue

  1. pete hart says:

    the best part of Washington ave are theVietnamese malls

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