Lancaster Mews, which occupies the entire south side of the 3600 block of Lancaster Avenue in Powelton Village, is to be renovated and expanded into an upscale apartment complex with a row of stores. This particular block was built in the late 19th century and had been renovated in the recent past, but was starting to deteriorate again because of deferred maintenance. It was recently purchased by AP Development, who originally intended to rebuild the whole block, except the building facades, and replace it with an apartment building that would fill in the former storefronts along Lancaster Avenue with more apartments. After much neighborhood opposition to that plan, the developers came up with another plan.
Lancaster Mews is mostly a series of three-story apartment buildings with storefronts on the first floor and noteworthy bay windows on the building at the corner of 36th and Lancaster. Many of these storefront spaces are occupied with stores or restaurants, and a couple spaces are occupied by offices. The block usually is not that busy in the evening and on weekends. At the corner of 36th and Lancaster is a restaurant called Aloosh, which includes an outdoor deck. On 36th Street is a small parking lot. The developers’ new plan, designed by JKRP Architects, will save the front portion of all the buildings and add a four story expansion in the back. The parking lot on 36th Street will have a five story apartment building that will be attached to the Lancaster Avenue wing, and will have parking and the apartment building’s entrance and lobby. The apartment building will have 155 units. The fourth floor of the Lancaster side expansion will be set back from the street. All the retail storefronts will remain as retail spaces, with the largest at the corners of 36th and 37th Streets and Lancaster Avenue. The largest retail space will be 6,000 square feet on the corner of 37th and Lancaster. The new building along 36th Street will have a green roof on top. The new 36th Street building, and the expansion along Warren Street, will have brick and stone and bay windows in the back with metal panels. The developers will have planters along 36th Street, where the sidewalk has an inclined grade of about eight feet.
This is only one development along this stretch of Lancaster Avenue. Next door to Lancaster Mews, between 37th and 38th Streets, another midrise apartment building, with retail spaces, will soon break ground and down the street at 34th Street is a large new dorm called The Summit at Lancaster Square. That development has a bunch of new stores and a large food court. Down 36th Street from Lancaster Mews is the new 3601 Market Street apartment high rise and south of Warren Street, where the University City High School used to be, will eventually be new office and apartment buildings and a new K-8 public school, supported by Drexel University. Lancaster Mews is one part of the rapid improvement of Powelton Village.
By, Gabriel Gottlieb