From 15th St. to Corinthian Ave., you can see rebuilding and renovating up and down Fairmount Ave. As we mentioned awhile ago, a three-story 25,000 sqft. structure with three new ground-floor commercial spaces and 25 apartments at Uber St. is going up. That prime corner spot just may become home to another Philly restaurant of a well-known name around town, according to developer Bill Loonstyn, Jr. of Loonstyn Properties. But he wouldn’t risk saying anything more this early on in negotiations. Aw, come on now Bill, do you want us to speculate? Or maybe this? Ha, this is fun.
Rendering of the big new building at Fairmount Ave. and Uber St.
With several recently opened and/or expanding restaurants and numerous new and rehabbed homes approaching Broad Street, this side of Fairmount Ave. is starting to establish a unique character, separate from the mainstream rotary-society bars and cafés closer to the Art Museum. Builders from Wallace Street Construction broke ground at 1921-1929 Fairmount Ave. three months ago. The foundation is poured and the building is being framed. The larger two of the three commercial spaces (about 800, 1400, and 1733 sqft. respectively) might be combined into one space, depending on the tenant. A small store or office could fill the third space. The apartments will be one or two bedroom apartments ranging from $950 to $1800 a month. Higher end features like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and bamboo floors will contribute to the aesthetic. Residents will be able to glimpse of the skyline on the community roof deck among plants, flowers, and other greenery. While the project, designed by architects at YCH, is not LEED certified, it contains green aspects like aluminum windows and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. What we’re not sure about is how an additional 19 one bedroom and 6 two bedroom apartments will impact the already infuriating Fairmount parking experience, despite the ground-level 16-car parking garage, and a potential PhillyCarShare. Not to sound like a NIMBY or anything.
“We welcomed the project at Uber and Fairmount,” said Joe McLaughlin, a member of the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation Zoning Committee. “The Loonstyn’s are a great partner and have allowed the committee to make modifications to their original proposal. We have ended up with a project that both the community and the Loonstyn’s will be proud of.”
“You name it, we got it,” says project manager Bill Loonstyn Sr., about the company he runs with his son and grandson. They’ve built and renovated properties throughout the neighborhood. In January, they purchased the site that used to serve as Fairmount Hardware’s stock warehouse with the vision to enhance the neighborhood. “The past five years, there’s been a lot of development [in Fairmount],” says Loonstyn Jr., who was born and raised here. He says his company takes pride in transforming underperforming buildings into places that benefit the community. His family has called Fairmount home for more than one-hundred years. Not bad. And until the space gets leased, we’ll keep playing Guess Who. Hm, how ’bout a burger joint with gals on roller skates bringing shakes to the tables? Only time will tell. –Lou Mancinelli