Renovated Overbrook apartment complex to welcome first residents since 5-alarm fire

Odin Properties

It’s been nearly four years since a 5-alarm fire in Philadelphia’s Overbrook section destroyed a 69-unit apartment complex on the 900 block of N. 63rd Street in December 2018.

Founder and CEO of Odin Properties Philip Balderston stepped in with his team in 2020 to restore and revitalize the broken down space to create ‘Overbrook Lofts.’

Overbrook Lofts is a 5-story fully renovated building that brings contemporary one, two, and three-bedroom apartments with a lobby just off City Line Avenue with SEPTA nearby. The West Philly complex will also provide 24/7 maintenance, bike storage, and a courtyard with a dog park.

“The biggest piece bringing this building back to life from a physical standpoint was due to the fire. The roof and superstructure were completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt,” said Balderston, a University of Pennsylvania graduate. “That included the masonry walls on the roof and the steel that supported the roof. We had to get all that work done before we could even start on the interior of the building. That’s why it took two years.”

Justin Kaplan, director of development at Odin Properties, said, “Once we got the building cleaned out and the roof rebuilt, it fell right in line with a lot of the other rehabs that we do.”

Based in Philadelphia, Odin Properties’ mission is to impact communities by transforming undervalued assets.

The company, which started operations in 2009, manages commercial properties in 15 states, including New Jersey and Delaware.

Odin Properties

Balderston, a Center City native, says outside of the traditional commercial and warehouse buildings he manages, he only focuses on conducting historic conversion projects that exist in Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is a special place because it has old buildings that have a lot of characteristics that can be repurposed, demand for those buildings, and housing that can be rented at a reasonable value,” said Balderston. “That’s really a big part of our mission, that no matter what we do, we’re providing the best value to renters and providing a product that can be rented by the local workforce.”

When it comes to affordability, Balderston and his team have not lost sight of the pre-existing residents that lived there before the devastating fire.

“If you look at our rates for new units here, even tracking back to what they were previously versus what they are today, inflation-adjusted, you’re probably close to the same price point, which is really unbelievable,” he said.

Balderston adds that the preservation of the building’s pre-existing foundation also helped maintain affordable value.

Odin Properties

“You won’t see rooftop pools on our buildings that no one will use. This building, when folks move back in, it’s going to be very unique. It’s not going to be like any new units that are built from the ground up because of how historic the existing building is,” said Balderston. “West Philadelphia is a great place to do that. There’s a real community there.”

The Odin Properties team also states they’ve made a strong effort to conduct outreach in the community.

“This is an equal housing development. We welcome any forms of payment. Whether it be Section 8 housing, a city voucher, or whatever it may be,” said Balderston.

Overbrook Lofts welcomes its first official residents Saturday, Oct. 1.