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4224 Baltimore Avenue site still a pit, 4 years later

What’s going on with this project?

This is what the site at 4224 Baltimore Avenue currently looks like.
Photo by Melissa Romero

On a normal day, the four-way intersection at 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue is a hub of activity, with Clarkville restaurant and Green Life Cafe on the two north corners and Clark Park to the south. Meanwhile, the fourth corner at 4224 Baltimore Avenue, stands in stark contrast to the others as an overgrown dirt pit.

Construction on a 132-unit residential building—a mix of rentals and condos—with ground-floor commercial space should have been well underway by now at this site. The 4224 Baltimore project was first proposed four years ago in 2013, though the design soon underwent some significant changes until it was met with good reviews from the community and Civic Design Review. With zoning permits in hand and the support of the community, the construction timeline called for a summer 2016 groundbreaking.

Yet there has been so signs of activity at the site for months. What gives?

Spruce Hill Community Association’s zoning chair Barry Grossbach told Curbed Philly in an e-mail, “Our understanding in Spruce Hill is that the project is still on the drawing board and that the property owner is in the process of completing engineering studies and construction drawings.”

Rendering by Cecil Baker + Partners

That was the last update Grossbach received from the owner, New York-based Clarkmore LLC, at the end of 2016. “We are awaiting further word,” Grossbach said.

That’s more or less the same answer that’s been floating around since West Philly Local last questioned the project’s status in October. Around the same time that article was published, there was talk that the project was no longer in play.

Clarkmore LLC bought the site in 2008 for $3.5 million and subsequently tore down a historic building that previously served as a school and women’s shelter, according to Naked Philly. Although the owner could have built a project here by-right, the developer decided to collaborate with local organization U3 Ventures, which worked with the community to come up with the design proposal over months of meetings.

The project’s website has remained quiet, too, after years of regularly posting updates.

Clarkmore and U3 Ventures did not respond to requests for comment. We will update this article if and when we learn more.