Apartment Profile: The Hub at 31 Brewerytown
Westrum Development's ultimate Brewerytown project brings the company's trademark affordable-luxury rental concept to North Philadelphia.
With all the new construction and renewal taking place in Brewerytown these days, it might be hard for some to remember that someone had to put that first shovel in the ground back when nobody wanted to build here.
That someone was John Westrum, founder, chairman and CEO of the development company bearing his name. And that first shovel dug the foundation for Brewerytown Square, the 144-unit townhouse development Westrum built in 2004-06.
That project turned out very well for Westrum — so much so that after the real estate market recovered from the bursting of the bubble in 2008, the company returned to the neighborhood big-time.
“The whole 31st Street corridor from Girard to Oxford, we bought everything you see along it,” he says. “We were instrumental in getting the Aldi [originally a Bottom Dollar Food] and the liquor store put in — that was property we owned.”
Westrum even bought the former Red Bell (nee F.A. Poth) brewery but later sold it because the company preferred to focus on new construction. (Local developer MM Partners picked up that property and is converting it to apartments now.)
But when it came back, Westrum shifted its construction focus from houses for sale to apartments for rent. Its three projects along 31st Street — The Pointe, The Flats and The Hub — together comprise 31 Brewerytown, a 509-unit combination offering something for just about everyone.
The Hub is the newest of the three; in fact, it’s not completely finished yet — the third of its three buildings is still under construction. But it’s the largest and most amenity-rich of the three complexes and the only one conceived from the start as a live/work/play development.
The “work” part is provided by 1776, which has a co-working facility on Building 1’s street floor. Neighborhood and building residents alike can become members here; 31 Brewerytown residents get a 10 percent break on the membership fee.
Like its suburban sibling in Norristown, Luxor, The Hub offers loads of stylish, luxurious amenity space: 20,000 square feet in all, indoors and out. The bar and club room, game room, indoor TV lounges, fitness center, outdoor lounges and fire pit, and pool and cabana all display a mix of glitz and funkiness that makes them more colorful than what one finds at similar complexes elsewhere.
The apartments themselves are spiffy as well. What they aren’t is pricey: rents here run below what similarly outfitted new apartments elsewhere cost.
What makes this possible is modular construction. “We’ve perfected our modular construction,” says Westrum. “It’s a very predictable building process when you get good at it.”
There is one other prized amenity included with every apartment at The Hub: A parking space. Because of this, Westrum says, The Hub “looks somewhat suburbanesque, but that was because of our arrangement with Councilmember Darrell Clarke, who wanted a 1:1 parking ratio there.”
While Westrum says he “might have done this differently” were it not for that requirement, it’s turned out to be a major selling point for potential tenants. “People with cars come to our community,” he continues. “And you see some pretty high-end vehicles in the lot. A secure parking space is something you don’t find in a lot of new construction in the city.”
The parking is also valuable, he adds, because of all the new housing his firm and others have built: “If you went to Brewerytown 10 years ago, you could park everywhere. Now you can’t park anywhere.”
There’s also an amenity for the neighbors as well: The Plaza @ 31 Brewerytown, located between Buildings 1 and 2. This pocket park, which opened Oct. 21st, features a dynamic lit mural and space for gatherings and events. Westrum plans to program the park with activities and events, including farmers’ markets, concerts, flea markets and community festivals.
The end result of all this is a livelier Brewerytown for residents to enjoy.”What Brewerytown needed was people,” says Westrum. “It needed new residents.”
And The Hub, along with Westrum’s earlier projects and the new houses and apartments the other developers who have followed in its wake have created, has provided those in spades.
The Hub at 31 Brewerytown by the Numbers
Address: 1410 N. 31st St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19121
Number of units: 162 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, in two buildings, ranging in size from 416 to 1,050 square feet. Studio apartments range in size from 416 to 420 square feet; one-bedrooms, 605 to 759 square feet; two-bedrooms, 765 to 1,080 square feet. A third building will add another 39 units to the total.
Number of parking spaces: 201, in a secure surface lot and an in-building garage
Pet policy: Pets welcome, up to two per unit, non-aggressive breeds. $300 non-refundable fee and $35 per month rent apply per pet. Contact leasing office for full details.
Rents: Studio apartments, $1,324 and up per month; one-bedrooms, $1,588 to $1,854 and up per month; two-bedrooms, $2,140 to $2,181 per month and up.
Other stuff: Tenants at The Pointe, located across 31st Street from this complex, also enjoy access to the amenities at The Hub.
Leasing information: Leasing office in building; 267-245-6883; The Hub at 31 Brewerytown website