Thursday, August 15, 2013

Let's Trade: Multiple City-Owned Vacant Lots and Houses - FOR - 31 New / Mixed-Use / Eco-Friendly Homes

These roof decks should have awesome views!

I would say that's a good deal.

All kidding aside, it wasn't an actual trade but a purchase by a private developer for city-owned real estate. Nonetheless, it will be a nice change for an already-on-fire neighborhood. Postgreen's Folsom Powerhouse project promises a few things to its future customers: Convenient Mixed-Use Development, Energy Efficient Design, and Affordable Units for Varying Income Levels. Based on Postgreen's past development history, I'd say it's doable.

Francisville is going through a building boom right now, due to its highly-accessible location (right next to Fairmount and Center City) and an abundance of vacant lots. Well, there used to be an abundance of them. Most have either been bought by developers, or are being developed as we speak.

If you've never heard of Francisville before, you're not alone. Most residents of this area refer to the entire 19130 zip code as either Fairmount or the Art Museum Area. It's the locals who have lived there for a long time (sometimes for generations), that know the difference between Fairmount and Francisville.

The unofficial borders of Francisville are Girard Ave (North), Broad St (East), Fairmount Ave (South), and Corinthian Ave (West). These are the borders typically listed online, and they are also the ones that real estate agents use most often. Again, since I'm not a Francisville local, I apologize for any errors with defining your neighborhood.

So, why is Francisville being reinvented?

There are a few reasons why (IMHO):

1) Its Location: Francisville is super-conveniently located just east of Fairmount (which has been going through positive neighborhood changes for a few decades now), and just north of Center City (which allows those who work downtown to either walk, bike, or hop on the subway during their daily commute).

2) Its Changing Demographic: The new residents seeking shelter in Francisville are typically young professionals, families, and empty nesters. The same type of people who are currently buying in Center City. They want access to Center City (and its surrounding area/amenities), but do not want to pay Center City prices (per sq/ft). Hot real estate, for less money, equals high demand.

3) Its Housing Stock: Due to the large proliferation of vacant lots in Francisville, it has allowed developers to get in fairly easily, build what they want, and still make a good profit (probably better than most Philadelphia neighborhoods). New construction townhomes/condos, with upgraded amenities and roof decks, is the most common theme. All for less than what you would pay for similar real estate in Center City (most of the time). On top of that, there are many different new construction homes to choose from due to all of the new development; so buyers can be a little picky, even though the current trend is slowly changing to a seller's market. In a neighborhood like Rittenhouse Square, new construction is hard to find due to its denser, and more established, layout.

There are more reasons why Philadelphians are flocking to this small section of the city, but I'll let you do a little Google'ing on your own to learn more about why Francisville is one of Philadelphia's 10 hottest neighborhoods for real estate.

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