One of the most iconic buildings in Philadelphia is the blighted Willow Street Steam Plant in Callowhill. The structure, built in 1927, rises more than 160 feet tall and its rusted smokestacks make a dramatic impact on the city’s skyline. For years, Philadelphians have been wondering if anything would ever happen to the steam plant as the surrounding neighborhoods have continued to develop.
It looks like we now have some idea of what the owners have planned for the property. Zoning permits were issued today to adaptively reuse the building with 2 commercial spaces on the first floor and 69 residential units within the structure. The plans also include 20 automobile parking spaces and 35 bicycle stalls.
Here’s the exact text of the zoning permit: Change of use and new accessory parking for an existing building. CHANGE OF USE OF EXISTING BUILDING: BASEMENT: UTILITIES, ACCESSORY STORAGE & PORTION OF VACANT COMMERCIAL 1ST FLOOR: 2 VACANT COMMERCIAL SPACES & RESIDENTIAL ENTRANCE UPPER FLOORS: 69 DWELLING UNITS 20 PARKING SPACES (INCLUDING 1 ADA VAN SPACE) 35 CLASS 1A BICYCLE SPACES @1ST FLOOR GARAGE ALONG ACCESSIBLE ROUTE (We were told that we needed to submit an application for this project under “parking” rather than change of use”. Original application ZP-2021-002498)
No construction permits have been issued to date, but this zoning permit is a big step towards something finally happening with the property. We would really love to see this Philadelphia icon restored and think its transformation would be analogous to the changes that have been happening in the city over the last decades.
If this project does move forward, we can imagine a really cool commercial operator or two opening up in the building. What kind of business would you like to see open here?
Kyle is a Philadelphia real estate agent on the Agent PHL team at Compass, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients find homes, investment properties, and development opportunities.
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