Naked Philly

But the community isn't into it

In Fishtown, neighbors recently voted in opposition to a project that would nearly double the density allowed by right at 1019-23 E Columbia Ave., and it wasn't even close. At a Fishtown Neighbors Association zoning meeting earlier this month, neighbors voted 2-39 not to support plans to convert a parcel under the heels of I-95 into nine new homes and three new duplexes—a total of 15 units 

Zoning notice at the parcel

Designed by KJO Architecture, original plans called for the demolition of a warehouse set back near fifty feet Columbia's intersection with Salmon St. just before the I-95 overpass. As it were, the plans envisioned a Salmon Street fronting, which would have allowed developers to fit twelve new structures on an area that, according to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair, is by right, suited for six or seven houses. Karp estimates that number by taking the total square footage of the lot—about 9700 sqft if you add up the size according to OPA numbers—and dividing it by the size allotted by the zoning code designation that applies to the property—1440 sqft—and you get seven (if you round up). The increased density waved a red flag among neighbors.

“The community didn't understand why they're doubling the amount of density that's allowed,” Karp said. He added that it was a large site, that could nicely accommodate six houses.

Well maybe not yet, but perhaps someday

In Philadelphia, most of the new construction we see these days consists of framed wood atop cement foundations. With taller buildings, we see steel and concrete. And every now and then, we see the occasional modular construction project, with sections of the building constructed beforehand and assembled onsite.

We can't speak for the typical construction methods in China- it's very much out of our realm of expertise. But we do know of a couple of buildings recently built by Winsun that used methods we've never seen before. According to an article from Cnet, this company has developed a proprietary technology to fabricate building materials using a 3D printer. Recently, they constructed an apartment building as well as a villa using this method, and those buildings are currently on display.

Project comes before community, gets support

The next big thing on Washington Avenue took a step forward last night, as developers presented plans for 2401 Washington Ave. to the SOSNA Zoning Committee. You may recall, last month we told you about their "information only" presentation to the group for a five-story project with 113 apartments in a building designed by Harman Deutsch. If you remember that story, you also surely know that the property is currently a vacant lot. Hopefully, it won't remain so for long.

Current view

At last night's meeting, representatives from the developer presented slightly revised plans and showed some renderings with additional details. The notable change to the project is the extension of the commercial space to the west at the expense of some of the project's parking spaces. A good trade-off in our estimation, though we'd have liked to see the commercial space anchor the corner instead of the middle of the block.

Wood siding is the way to go in East Kensington

Coral Street continues to do its thing in East Kensington. Last week, we passed by a construction site at 2400 Coral St., a property we had actually noticed a couple of times previously but never deigned to cover. Our attention was again drawn to the building as the work has continued, with new wood paneling on the side of the building. We'd say it looks better than it once did.

In the past
Corner of Coral Street now

Back in September, this project came before EKNA and got support. The plan for the property is a coffee shop called Franny Lou's Porch, from the same people who once owned Leotah's Place. Several months ago, they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $12K to get the business off the ground. Not only will the shop serve tasty coffee to the neighborhood, but it will also focus on community activism and offer folks a "place of rest." We look forward to seeing it open its doors in the coming months.

Meanwhile, a few doors down, we spotted a few foundations. 2025-29 E. York St. all turned over about a year ago, and soon those vacant lots will see three homes rise. The lots are each 17' wide and 100' deep, so the homes should be spacious and have a ton of yard space.

After years and years of fabric stores

When we last checked in on the corner of 4th & Fitzwater, new construction at the southwest corner was approaching completion. Remember, the building that once stood here burned in the spring of 2013, leading to its demolition. While its replacement was under construction, Jack B. Fabrics moved to the 743 S. 4th St., on the southeast corner. In the months since our last visit, the construction finished up and the fabric store moved back to its original location, leaving the space across the street vacant. But it appears as though plans are in the works to fill that space.

Former and present home of Jack B. Fabrics
LCB notice in the window across the street

The names on the LCB application are Scott Schroeder and Patrick O'Malley. Schroeder, according to Philly Voice, is the chef at SPTR and American Sardine Bar. O'Malley is a pastry chef. As of last week, there were no additional details on the project.