It seems like every major commercial corridor in Philadelphia’s core neighborhoods has been seeing a major wave of development over the last decade. Take Girard Avenue. We’ve seen proposals and development happening all the way from the easternmost part of the avenue in Fishtown to the westernmost side of Brewerytown. We’ve said it before, but will mention it again. Eventually, most of the vacant lots and underutilized parcels on the stretch of Girard between 76 and 95 will be redeveloped. We even wouldn’t be surprised to see development pick up further west in Parkside either.
One section of Girard Avenue that has only recently begun to get redeveloped is the stretch between Broad Street and the elevated rail tracks at 9th Street. There’s a 120-unit building almost completed at 10th and Girard, a sister building planned next door, and several other recently completed or under construction projects just off the thoroughfare.
Another significant project on this stretch that we haven’t gotten around to covering yet is already well under construction. Developers are building a 4-story structure with 166 residential units, 51 automobile parking spaces, and 80 bicycle stalls on the 45,842 square foot RM-1 lot at 1201 W. Girard Avenue. The project is replacing a Rite Aid and a surface parking lot that formerly occupied the property.
The development team is utilizing the green roof bonus and the moderate income housing bonus for additional residential density and an additional 7 feet in buildable height. They will be contributing an estimated $916,840 to the housing trust fund in return for the 33 additional units they are able to build by using the moderate income housing bonus. This seems like a win win to us. 33 extra units are being added to the market in an area of Philadelphia experiencing rising rental rates due to lack of supply. The city will also get just under a million dollars to renovate existing affordable housing units and build new affordable homes across the city.
We would have loved to have seen ground floor commercial space included in this project, but it wasn’t allowed by-right due to the property’s RM-1 zoning. The development team would have had to go through the variance process to include commercial space in the building, which obviously takes time and money.
With all that is happening on this section of Girard Avenue and nearby, you would think that more projects would inevitably be announced in the coming months and years. However, the city recently imposed a 38 foot height limit on all new projects between 6th Street and Broad Street along Girard Avenue. We think this legislation will stifle development and prevent some of the blighted and under utilized properties on this stretch from being developed. With artificial barriers to entry being imposed on the market, we will likely see rents continue to rise in Yorktown due to a continued lack of supply while demand for apartments continues to increase.
How do you feel about the project that is under construction at 12th and Girard? Do you think the recently imposed height limit will stifle development and lead to higher rental prices?
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property