Fishtown

And they're gonna be delicious

Two years ago, we wondered what a little building the size of a ticket stand on a vacant Frankford Ave. corner was doing. Back then we thought 1431-35 Frankford Ave. would be a solid location for redevelopment. Such a vision has recently come to life as the Fishtown Neighbors Association recently supported plans for a take-out taco shack at this location. It will purportedly be run by the owners of Modo Mio, according to a thread on Fishtown.us.

Makes sense considering the direction of the corridor

In the riverwards, East Girard Avenue is in the midst of continued redevelopment. From the almost finished Joe's Steaks at Frankford in the old Acropolis location across the street from Johnny Brenda's, to Marlborough where a former rose garden was developed into mixed-use, East Girard continues to see improvement.

Looking up East Girard

Where the roses once bloomed on the corner of Marlborough St. is now Girard, a french brasserie on the ground floor, with apartments above. Across the street, an old auto supply store sold a couple years back and has been wonderfully restored, pointing to even more reinvestment along East Girard. Now there are plans for more mixed-use, this time at 1142 Crease St., a property that looks like it was once a small gas station. That's two small half-size blocks, from Shackamaxon, where another mixed-use project brought the Palm Tree Market with five units above.

Positive change for a once-neglected corner

Last April, we brought the corner of Sepviva & E. Firth to your attention, noting the early stages of a six-home development. Previously at this corner, there was a City-owned basketball court that was in poor condition, and according to commenters it was rarely used for play and occasionally used for drug dealing. So no loss there.

In the past

We passed by this corner the other day and it seems that the project is done.

Current view
Five homes on Sepviva St.

We can only find the sales of some of the homes on public record, but from the looks of it, most if not all of the homes have found buyers. Architecturally, the row of new homes certainly stands out from the older homes in the neighborhood, and for us they evoke a bit of a Lego feel. Still, those front balconies will surely be a treat once the warmer weather rolls around.

How 'bout five instead?

Development in Fishtown is shuffling towards its borders as parcels near Aramingo Ave. have been getting attention in recent months. But developers with plans to build six townhomes at 2631-35 E Norris St. will have to amend their project if they want community support.

The long empty lot

At a community meeting last month, neighbors thought six homes on three lots was too many, according to Matt Karp, Fishtown Neighbors Association zoning chair. Currently, the parcel is a large fenced-in vacant lot with some big trees. The size of said trees suggests that the lot has been this way for many years. Gator Properties acquired the parcel for $350K in 2004 along with the home next door, used as a rental property ever since. Clearly, the developers have been biding their time with this lot.

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.

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