The 400 block of Moyer Street sits half a block away from East Girard, but since it dead-ends at E. Columbia Ave., it's fairly easy to miss. That being said, the quantity of construction on this little block is wildly disproportionate to its relatively low profile. We've actually visited this block on several occasions in the past, laying the groundwork for a number of projects. But when we passed by last week (hope everyone had a nice holiday by the way), we spied plenty of progress on multiple fronts.
Awesometown, first phase
The first phase of Awesometown has arrived at 425-39 Moyer St., which was for many years a vacant lot. This project was in the works for a long time, with the New Kensington Community Development Corporation ultimately teaming up with Postgreen Homes to get this fourteen unit development off the ground. The first phase includes eight homes, of which seven are sold. A second phase will mean four homes on Thompson Street and a pair of homes on an interior courtyard. When we last checked in on the project at the beginning of this year, foundations were just getting poured, so it's nice to see such progress as the year approaches its end.
To make a long story short, many people objected to the density of the project and wanted the developers to build only three homes on the three lots. Density, it turns out, wasn't what brought the project to the ZBA. Instead, the developers had to go before the community and the ZBA because the property is zoned for commercial use, and because the homes the proposed didn't have enough open space. By right, they could have built a single home and two buildings with first floor commercial and four apartments above each. To us, six homes seemed like a far more appropriate plan for the parcel and it seems the ZBA agreed, since it granted the variances back in February. Passing by the lot last week, we spotted a sign advertising the project.
Current view at Thompson & Norris
The developers are calling the project Thompson + Norris, which will make it really easy for someone to find it on the map. The project website has some renderings, so you can get an idea of what to expect when the homes are built.
With Fishtown booming and Frankford Avenue all the rage, we're seeing more and more development expand beyond the neighborhood's borders. A couple months back, for example, we told you about plans for eleven new homes at 2640 E. Huntingdon Ave., a property "on the other side of the tracks" if you consider the tracks to be Aramingo Avenue. Today, thanks to a helpful reader that lives nearby, we have news of a similar-sized project in that same pocket.
View at Livingston & E. Albert
Currently, there's a large warehouse at 2515 E. Albert St. which has frontage on three streets and takes up about 9,300 sqft. If the developers at BMK Homes get their way, they'll demolish the building and replace it with ten townhomes. According to the zoning application, five of the homes will front Belgrade Street and the others will front Livingston Street with a drive-aisle accessed on Albert Street. They recently presented the project to the Olde Richmond Civic Association and per the reader who was kind enough to tip us off about the project, they received support. Next it's onto the ZBA.
Writing about development as we do, we frequently have to consider the "highest and best" use for a given property and reconcile that with economic realities. A storage facility might make financial sense at 23rd & Washington and was permitted by right, but few would argue that's the best use of such a prominent parcel. On the other side of the spectrum, when a developer owns an 800 sqft lot in a residential neighborhood, just about everyone would agree that a single-family home (or possibly a duplex) is the highest and best use for the property. It's all subjective, of course, except when it isn't.
Despite the amazing growth on Frankford Avenue in recent years (La Colombe! New construction! The upcoming Kit and Ace!), it's still a corridor in transition. When you consider the number of projects we've covered on Frankford Avenue it's actually a little surprising that so many vacant lots and old industrial buildings remain. It's quite likely though, that if the momentum continues to build, there could come a time when all of the vacancy finally fills in. At least some of the vacancy is on the verge of disappearing at construction recently got started at 2006 Frankford Ave., a long vacant lot.
Current view of the property
The project comes from a partnership between Domestic Goods LLC and JDT International. This project, which is called the Frankfordian, is designed by Canno and looks totally awesome.