Francisville is an interesting neighborhood. It is the oldest neighborhood in North Philadelphia, and so its thin streets correspond to diagonal Ridge Avenue. When Philadelphia’s street grid was extended north of Center City, it created many confusing intersections and many wedge-shaped blocks in Francisville. This created a unique looking neighborhood, albeit one that is a bit hard to find your way in. As the neighborhood declined economically and lost population, some of its wedge-shaped blocks had large vacant lots, and one block at 19th & Wylie Streets was left completely vacant for many years. Development had been talked about and planned at this conspicuous site for several years and now it appears that a plan to develop the site is finally in place. This development is being built by Constellar and designed by NORR Architects and Engineers. This new development is called Cameron Square, since the site used to be the Cameron Vineyard long ago.
The south side of the site will have a five-story apartment building, with 115 rental units. The units will range in size from studios to three-bedroom units. The exterior of the apartment building will be very modern, with red brick and gray and copper toned metal panels. A courtyard will be in the middle of the development and a mural will be on the exterior of the apartment building on Cameron Street and the interior courtyard. The lobby and some amenities for residents will be located at 19th & Wylie Streets. Many units will have recessed balconies and the top floor units will have terraces. There will, also, be 25 townhomes along 19th, Vineyard, and Cameron Streets. The apartment building will have 52 underground parking spaces and bicycle parking.
Francisville has seen an explosion of development in recent years, including new development and retail along the previously largely-vacant Ridge Avenue corridor. Residential development has been popular in the neighborhood, with its proximity to Center City and public transit options, including the Broad Street subway and Girard Avenue trolley. The redevelopment of this well-known vacant lot helps complete the revitalization of Francisville.
By Gabriel Gottlieb