Forgive the obviousness of the following statement, but the vast majority of Philadelphia’s housing stock was built in a radically different era than the one we find ourselves living in today. Even for simple row homes, architect often designed elaborate facades, and the individuals building those homes were willing to pay the extra money for those details. So yeah, that was great. On the other side of the coin, many homes were built close to buildings engaging in heavy industrial use, and this surely had a negative impact on quality of life. This was especially true in neighborhoods like Kensington, home to countless factories, and Brewerytown, home to countless Breweries.
Fast forwarding to the present day, many blocks have retained their original industrial buildings, even though the demand for industry has pretty much cratered over the last several decades. As such, we’re seeing many of those old industrial buildings get renovated into residential use, or more often, demoed in favor of homes or apartments. A few months back, we noted a few examples of the latter on the 1300 block of N. Marston St. in Brewerytown, where developers had torn down several buildings, with plans for apartments. At the time, there was already a foundation for a quadplex at the corner of Marston & Kershaw. After just a few months, that building has come along nicely and work is starting on another one next door.
Just a little to the south are the remains of a former milk depot. About a year ago, we told you that developers were planning to build an addition on this building and create 17 residential units. Back in October though, we were saddened to see that the building was getting torn down instead. It’s a shame, it had some great bones. When we visited recently, we noticed that part of the building is still standing, raising our hopes that what’d left could be integrated into a new building. But we’re not holding our breath.
Across the street, at 1342 N. Marston St., we spied a new project that we didn’t know about previously. Developers have gutted a garage and are planning to build another story above the existing building, with plans for a total of six units. Certainly, this could end up as one of the more interesting buildings on the block, incorporating old details with the new addition.
As recently as a couple years ago, this block featured a few homes on one side of the street and a bunch of vacant, former industrial buildings on the other side. Today, it’s in a period of major transition toward being fully residential. We’ll keep an eye on things, and expect the change will be complete in the very near future.