Art Museum Neighborhood Facts
The Art Museum neighborhood is a large and diverse area, which has grown increasingly larger over the past several decades as the city has undergone a housing renaissance. The area now actually consists of several smaller neighborhoods including Franklintown, Spring Garden, Fairmount, Brewerytown, and Francisville, stretching from The Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the south, to just above Girard Avenue on the North, and from Broad Street on the east to the Schuykill River on the west.
With a large population of both renters and homeowners, the area has wide variety of housing available. Newly constructed $700,000 townhouses can sit across the street from $800.00 per month apartments. The locals residents include many long time home owners who have lived here and worked for decades to nurture the development of the area, as well as a large population of students from Temple, Penn, Drexel, and Moore College of Art, and a great many medical, law and dental students. The area is also home to a large and ever increasing number of young working professionals who live here because they were attracted to city living, in a neighborhood where they could buy or rent for a reasonable price, and not feel overwhelmed by the density of downtown hi-rise office buildings, traffic and noise.
The Art Museum Area is the only area in the city where one can walk to center city, Fairmount Park, the river, the museums, and a wealth of local restaurants ranging from comfortable corner pubs to fine dining. Development has also brought Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Hollywood Video, and numerous corner delis, flower shops, dry cleaners, dentists, doctors, veterinarians and many other neighborhood services. Very well served by public transportation and minutes from all downtown expressways without the hassle of center city parking, this is truly a unique area.
The southernmost neighborhood in the Art Museum Area, it borders generally from Vine Street on the south, to Spring Garden on the north, and from Broad Street on the east, to the Parkway on the west and is home to Philadelphia Community College, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Board of Education. The housing consists mainly of several newer and older mid-rise apartment buildings, a development of townhouses (mostly owner occupied), and several towers of recently converted condominiums.
The original heart of the neighborhood, it runs from Spring Garden Street on the south, to Fairmount Avenue on the north, and from Broad Street on the east to the river on the west. Originally home to the city’s neuvou riche of the 1890’s, the area has any number of beautiful and elaborate Brownstone mansions including the Baldwin Mansion of the Baldwin Locomotive works, The Bergdall Mansion, The Gimble mansion, and numerous others. The 2000 Block of Spring Garden Street was designated “Millionaires Row” at a time when being a millionaire really meant something. These have all since been renovated and subdivided into newer condominiums and apartments. The housing mainly consists of larger homes now reconfigured into apartments and condominiums. You can view rental prices by looking under “rentals”. Sale prices vary. As of 2005, a one-bedroom condo on the 1700 block of Green Street should be between $150,000 to $200,000. Newly constructed condos on the 1900 block of Green Street recently sold for $375,000, and newly built townhouses built between 16th & 17th streets are going in the $700,000 range.
Just north of the Spring Garden neighborhood, Fairmount borders Fairmount Avenue on the south, Poplar Street on the north, Fairmount Park on the west, and 19th Street on the east. Predominantly brick row homes and stone porch front homes built from the turn on the century though the 1930’s, additional development over the past several decades have added several newer townhouse developments and condominium conversions of former larger factories and even stables. The typical neighborhood street consists of small, well-maintained houses on quiet streets, within blocks of the park and river. Most of the buildings are 2 to 3 stories high, single-family homes, but there are also many of these properties, which have been converted to apartments over the years. Both houses and apartments can be found.
North of the Fairmount neighborhood, and extending above Girard Avenue on the north, Poplar Street on the south, Fairmount Park on the west and 19th Street on the east, this is probably the fastest developing area near the Art Museum. Anchored on the north by several new large-scale developments, the expansion of the area continues. Currently 500 –600 new market value townhouses being built by Westrum Development. Phase one is scheduled for completion and occupancy beginning the summer/fall of 2005. A second large-scale development adjacent to the Westrum townhouses is the conversion of a 600,000 square foot former commercial property into 93 luxury apartments, with new retail space on the 1st floor. As these projects take shape, a large number of small individual investors and developers are quickly buying up, and renovating the surrounding areas.
Bordered by Fairmount Avenue on the south, Girard Avenue on the north, Broad Street on the east, and 19th Street on the west, this is another quickly developing neighborhood. Spurned on by the growth of center city, from the south, along Broad Street, and Temple University from the north, and aided by proximity to the subway, making this a very quick ride to center city and Temple we are beginning to see renovated rental properties emerging in this area. The housing costs in this area are inexpensive, relative to the areas immediately surrounding it in Fairmount and Spring Garden.