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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (7) Chestnut Hill vs. (10) Francisville

Which neighborhood should advance to the second round?

Chestnut Hill

Until recently, this picturesque neighborhood up Germantown Avenue in Northwest Philadelphia managed to steer clear of new development, all while maintaining a bustling retail corridor and old-world charm. But today, it’s home to its first mixed-use development in two decades, One West, and a brand new chain grocery store just below it. Despite its location right on Germantown Avenue, One West manages to fit in with the mom-and-pop shops and historic structures that surround it, some which date back to the late 1700s. It’s an architecturally significant neighborhood, too, home to works by the Venturi’s and Louis Kahn. And despite being outside of Center City, Chestnut Hill prides itself as being an extremely walkable place—and green. There’s a reason the historic district has earned the moniker Philadelphia’s Garden District.


This smaller neighborhood tends to get looked over, sandwiched between Fairmount and North Broad. But it’s held its own over the years, somewhat quietly evolving into a more affordable version of its more established neighbors. The base price for a home at Folsom Powerhouse by Postgreen Homes, for example, started at $180,000. Says one commenter, “It’s quiet, beautiful, historic, and has great amenities.” The Francisville Recreation Center, for example, was home to the city’s very first pop-up pool. It’s close to public transit on North Broad and Indego bikeshare stations—and businesses have noticed. “A few years ago, no one would have thought about locating their business along Fairmount Avenue east of 20th or along Ridge Ave, and today you have places like Tela’s Market, Valley Green Bank, Bar Hygge, Yoga Habit, Zuzu’s Kitchen, Vineyard Cafe, and so much more.”