A pre-fab, 6-story apartment building to replace car wash on 4100 block of Chestnut

Posted on 08 September 2017

Rendering of one version of the proposed building at 4125 Chestnut Street.

A 130-unit, pre-fab modular building is coming to the 4100 block of Chestnut Street.

The planned building was presented to the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee on Thursday and will replace the Wash ‘n Lube at 4125 Chestnut St. The presentation was mostly a heads up for the community as the project can be built “by right,” meaning it requires very little oversight and no community approval.

The committee considered a proposal earlier in the summer for a 17-story building on the site, but those plans were quickly scuttled, and the property was sold to another developer within the last few weeks. 

Building contractor Vaughan Buckley provided a sneak peak at the two possible building types. Both are wood frame, modular buildings and would feature mostly “junior one bedroom” apartments (think studio with an extra, windowless room) in six stories.

Buckley’s company erected the buildings on the 4600 block of Sansom and nearby on 46th Street.

The project still must go through the city’s civic design review process, which is advisory. The recommendations from that process are not binding.

The property will be managed by a Texas-based company.

Another version of the proposed building.

13 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Foley Says:

    I will let one or more top architects comment on the proposed edifices.
    But where pray tell will a motorist be able to secure a wash and lube?

  2. leroy Says:

    horrifying. we are again building the kind of housing that destroyed the city 60 years ago. cheap, mean, expedient. this is a huge step back.

  3. antelope Says:

    I repeat, “by right” must be ended by public demand. Can someone who knows edify us on what steps must be taken? It sounds like a city issue, not state or federal. So where would such an effort best focus its energies?

  4. Eric Says:

    Ever hear of mantua hall?

  5. Kate Says:

    Hi, Antelope. Check with’s resources on zoning and the Zoning Board of Adjustment as a starting point.

  6. Leonard Eisenstein Says:

    blame +he neighborhood NIMBYS for crushing wha+ could have been an exci+ing building.

  7. TopArchitecht Says:

    Absolutely stunning – and this stretch of University City is just screaming for this type of sheer elegance. Can we say Bauhaus meets Pei on Chestnut Street. I HAVE seen exclusive mock ups. Gorgeous.

  8. mxg Says:

    I seem to recall that this developer has ties to Councilwoman Blackwell, which must explain why they are able to use a building method that avoids the trade unions. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  9. Meredith Says:

    Of course – much like Post Brothers, no union workers

  10. craig Says:

    Leonard, what are you talking about? I know of no NIMBY’s crushing the previous plans for that site. My understanding is they were withdrawn voluntarily by the owner.

  11. goldenmonkey Says:

    Everyone needs a scapegoat. This is simple economics…dumpy building that will be torn down in 25 years.

    Glad they’re not using Union Labor though. Maybe they’ll threaten the developer’s wife and children while studding the site with boards filled with nails and we’ll get a real show.

  12. Austen Cho Says:

    It’s an ugly lookiny building, and besides, I really like that Wash N’ Lube. I’ll be really sad to see it go, but there’s not really anything we can do about it.

  13. Sue C Says:

    If they are like 46th and Sansom, it’s a quick and cheap build to make back their nut as fast as possible. Cheap materials. No Greenery. They have yards of dumped rocks. Cookie cutter. Probably overpriced rents too.

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