Spruce Street and Pine Street condos in downtown Philadelphia

Along (what I have dubbed) the Spruce/Pine corridor here in Center City Philadelphia, there are a variety of low rise/Brownstone styled condominiums that have seemed to perform reliably well over the past decade. From studios to three bedroom units, these condominiums resell fairly well, and have a tendency to NOT sit on the market for long periods of time, regardless of the condition of the Philadelphia real estate market.

Due to the perceived desirability of the location of Spruce St. and Pine St, and the mix of unit availability, along with ease of parking (be it rental or on-site), along with the feeling of being “in the mix” of being able to commute around town on foot, I do find that this segment of the market has fared pretty well in the past number of years.

Brownstone condo developments have gained in popularity and acceptance over the past decade, and are unique in their design, features, amenities, and “flair”, as very few are identical. Each building (converted from what was once a very large single family dwelling) is unique in its style and design. For instance, The lowrise brownstone known as Roberts Quay on the corner of 11th and Spruce offers units that are earmarked with high ceilings, original detail, unique floor plans, and holds stunning curb appeal for those looking in the area. Also, since many of these buildings lack a doorman, or an elevator, we will find that condo fees for such units to be fairly minimal. The general absence of a swimming pool, and excessive common areas (grounds, parking lots, etc) also help keeps the monthly condo fees minimal.

In addition, the inability to add inventory to the area (generally speaking) helps maintain value amongst this set of existing condominium inventory. Though a developer may convert a five or six unit apartment building to condominiums, the ability of a developer to demolish an entire city block, and add a massive amount of new condos in the area is nonexistent. This helps hold the inventory levels stable, and prevents this particular Philadelphia Center City condo segment from becoming saturated. The historic preservation of older brownstone styled buildings is formidable, and any attempt to alter blocks along Spruce and Pine Streets is often met with a laugh, and a frown. I would suggest that any developer has a better chance of seeing God, than they do of getting permission to demolish anything on these blocks.

Lastly, the proximity to University of Pennsylvania, as well as Jefferson Medical College provides a “built-in” resale market for these condominiums. As most units along the Spruce/Pine corridor average 1000 sq ft or less, they do seem to be popular with the above mentioned buying set. Though the boundaries of the Spruce/Pine corridor do extend to streets such as Locust, Lombard, and South, and the numbered streets that run between this corridor, the popularity and familiarity of such areas make Spruce and Pine Streets condominiums a fairly sound investment in the minds of many Philadelphia condo buyers.

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