West Poplar: Developer Builds Homes Close to Center City

Lawrence Rust sat in sample house to discuss the goals of Spring Arts Point.
Developer Lawrence Rust sat inside a sample house to discuss the goals of Spring Arts Point.

Vacant lots are being transformed into contemporary townhouses as developer Lawrence Rust completes his plans for Spring Arts Point. Since coming up with the idea nine years ago, Rust used his background in construction to build homes closer to Center City for residents.

“My underlying purpose has been to do a new development that is proximate to downtown,” Rust said. “My objective with doing the development is not to be a developer who comes, changes everything and leaves.”

The projects consist of a mix of town houses and six other buildings. The bottom floors of these buildings are now being used for commercial purposes, and the levels above will be made into multi-family condominiums.

He chose three different building locations based on the proximity to public transportation. Just two to three blocks away from the subway, and with bus stops close by, Rust said he hopes to encourage people to drive less. “I’ve always been a believer in the north side of the city. I grew up downtown. I’m a Philadelphian,” Rust said.

The locations of Spring Arts Point are on Mt. Vernon Street between 8th and 11th streets.
The locations of Spring Arts Point are on Mount Vernon Street between 8th and 11th streets.

“I’m trying to create homes that are more urban flavored; not do front load parking, to make them livable through better design,” Rust said. “This neighborhood had a lot of open space, and that is why I focused from Northern Liberties to here.”

Rust’s son, Sean, has been helping out as an interim worker before going to law school. “I think that we’re building really great quality homes in a very interesting and diverse area which I really like because I grew up down the street for the past ten years,” he said.

Rust does hope to expand upon his project in the future but is aware of the risks. “A lot of my peers are out of business, or lost their properties to bank auctions and foreclosures. I want to make sure that our feet are solid on the ground, and we’re going well,” he said.

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