The large empty lot at the northwest corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue is about to change dramatically. Lincoln Square is a new mixed use development which recently started construction at the site, a few months after being reviewed by the Planning Commission’s Civic Design Review board. It is being developed by MIS Capital LLC and Alterra Property Group. It will include apartments and retail and promises to have a big impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, where Center City and South Philadelphia come together.
Lincoln Square will be dominated by a large eight story apartment building on top of a two story shopping center. There will be 322 rental apartment units, with studios, one, two, and even three bedroom units. The ten story building will run all along Washington Avenue, to 15th Street, and around onto Broad Street. It will have two lobbies for the apartments, at 15th and Washington and on Broad Street. This section will be designed by BLT Architects. It will have large metal panels and large windows, with some articulated bay windows and balconies. Behind the apartment building will be a parking garage with 456 spaces, with an amenities deck on top that will have a green roof, a movie screening area, a running track, a dog run, a lounge deck, and a dining area. The garage will, also, have 144 bicycle parking spaces.
Another interesting feature of the project will be in a renovated train depot on 15th Street, which has been vacant for a long time. This part of the project is being designed by Kelly/Maiello Architects. The depot dates back to 1876 and its history relates directly to the property’s former use as a railyard and, ultimately, to the project’s name. When President Abraham Lincoln’s body was being transported to his home state of Illinois after his assassination, his coffin was unloaded from a train on the property to be carried in a solemn procession to Independence Hall for a memorial ceremony so that Philadelphians could pay their respects. The developers now want to renovate the depot with a supermarket. The market would have an extension in front and new windows along the side, where window openings are now bricked up. The depot building and the new construction will be divided by a plaza and walkway, known as Lincoln Walk, from Broad Street to 15th Street. The developers would like to have outdoor seating on the plaza.
The significance of Lincoln Square to this area of the city can’t be overstated. It would provide large amounts of retail to surrounding neighborhoods and would bring hundreds of new residents, but it would also remake a conspicuous blight at the edge of Center City and be a gateway to the Avenue of the Arts, the city’s premier live performance cultural district. Across Broad Street is an even larger vacant lot that may be developed by Bart Blatstein with a high rise apartment tower and another large shopping center and another midrise apartment building will begin construction soon on Broad Street, just to the south of Washington Avenue. So, Lincoln Square would add greatly to housing demand and property values in this area and would likely jump start further development along South Broad Street and Washington Avenue.
*Corrections:  Lincoln Square is being developed by MIS Capital LLC and Alterra Property Group.  The train station dates back to 1876.  President Lincoln’s coffin was unloaded from a train on the property to be carried in a solemn procession to Independence Hall for a memorial ceremony so that Philadelphians could pay their respects.
By, Gabriel Gottlieb