Inside LVL, the city’s tallest modular building coming to West Philly

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by Anna Merriman

Philly’s tallest modular building is opening its doors in West Philly this month, with 141 units geared toward graduate students and “young professionals.”

The structure, called The LVL 4125, is opening after a year of construction and assembly at the corner of 42nd and Chestnut streets in West Philly. It’s a six-story building with studios up to two-bedroom apartments that range from 415 to 832 square feet. In terms of amenities, LVL will have a roof deck, game room, underground parking, and study spaces.

At 74-feet-tall the LVL is also the largest modular building in Philadelphia. The units were designed and pre-fabricated by Philly-based modular builder Vaughan Buckley.

The modular building process has allowed developers certain benefits that they wouldn’t get with traditional construction, says Leo Addimando, managing partner at Alterra Property Group, who’s behind the project. He cites aspects like quality of materials, thicker walls between units, and a more predictable building timeframe as some of the reasons the group decided to use pre-fab units, which aren’t altogether common in Philly buildings.

As for the location, Addimando says the group wanted to tap into a previously untapped market.

“We liked the area near West Philly,” he said, explaining that this location in particular sits on a prime spot between the traditional West Philly neighborhood and the student-heavy University City. It’s an area, Addimando argues, that needs a mid-range price point option. “We believe there is a fertile market in the $1,300 to $1,700 (price) range.”

This building, which mostly features one-bedrooms—there are 100 one-beds compared to 36 studios and only five two-beds—is meant to appeal to graduate students and young professionals, Addimando says. He calls the price range for the units, which starts at $1,358 per month and reaches $2,550 per month, more affordable than some of the other options in the city.

People in that demographic are largely, “willing to sacrifice physical space in return for meeting their rent budget,” he said.

The layout and design of the units is meant to appeal to that demographic as well, with in-unit laundry, smart appliances, and built-in storage.

“It’s meant to be very plug-and-play,” Addimando said, adding that one trip to a chain furniture store like Ikea is all renters need to complete their apartment. “It speaks to the mentality of this current younger renter generation.”

The LVL isn’t the only building Alterra is working on: there’s another, 7-story modular building planned for the site of a partly-demolished West Philly church just a few blocks away.

It will be called “Next LVL” and will be about two times the size of this project, Addimando said. Details on that project weren’t yet available last week.