We were traveling up Frankford Avenue the other day, after enjoying a tasty lunch at Steap and Grind, and we spied what looked like a construction site in its early stages on the 1600 block of E. Eyre Street. Behind the chain link fence, it looks like something was demolished sometime recently. But looks can be deceiving! It turns out, 1645 1/2 E. Eyre St. was just a surface parking lot.
In the past
In a case of looks being deceiving in quick succession, this property is way bigger than it looks. The previous owners only used a portion of the parcel for parking, even though it covers roughly 8,000 sqft. In this neighborhood, that's a whole lot of underused land. Oh by the way, the property is zoned for multi-family use, making it even more attractive for redevelopment. And wouldn't you know it, developers snapped up the property last fall, paying $1.3M even though it appears it was never formally listed for sale.
Lou Wolff Auto has made its home at 501 E. Girard Ave., at the corner of Palmer & Girard, since the 1980s. But East Girard has changed dramatically, and a used car dealership just doesn't make much sense on the corridor anymore. It came as no surprise then, at the end of last year, when we learned that Mr. Wolff had sold his property and that the corner parcel would soon get redeveloped. At the time though, we didn't have a clue what to expect in place of the car dealership. And now we do.
Lou Wolff Auto, from a few months ago
Tomorrow, developers will present plans to Fishtown Neighbors Association in a meeting that might turn contentious even though the proposed project is permitted by right. The developers are planning a mixed-use building that will rise four stories and will include 71 apartments, up to 4 retail spaces, and 51 parking spaces with all but 4 of those spaces located in an underground parking garage. The 26K sqft parcel is zoned CMX-2 and the developers are using a couple of zoning bonuses to allow the project to move forward by right. Because over 60% of the roof area will be covered by a green roof, the developers are getting a density bonus. And because one of the retail spaces will be reserved for a fresh foods market, the developers are getting a height bonus.
If we were to hop into our Delorean and travel back a mere three years, we'd see a vast vacant swath of land on Frankford Avenue just past Norris Street, a mix of properties owned by the City and private investors. Back in 2015, we shared the news that Domestic Goods LLC and JDT International had partnered to purchase 2006 Frankford Ave. and 2012 Frankford Ave., and they were already starting construction at the former lot on a project called the Frankfordian. That project, with 6 condo units and a bi-level commercial space, is complete, with the residential units all sold and occupied. The retail space isn't filled, but we'd think it's only a matter of time.
Across from Snap Kitchen, 1317 Frankford Ave. has been sitting empty for a number of years, though for a long time it was a nicely landscaped, privately owned garden space. We especially appreciated the fishy details on the fence.
A few years ago
Developers bought the property last summer, and the garden space got a little overgrown in the interim. All of that is now in the past, of course, as construction has gotten started.
The west side of the 1400 block of Frankford Avenue is undergoing a major transformation before our eyes. Turn back the clock half a decade and this block was most prominently home to the Bicycle Stable and a large warehouse belonging to the Chalmur Bag Company. Things are rather different today.
Bicycle Stable closed at 1416 Frankford Ave. a little less that two years ago, and when they closed their doors we were worried that a developer would step in and demolish their building. As we told you previously, this building was originally constructed as a stable for police horses and was associated with a long since demolished police station on Front Street. Thankfully, with the news that Cheu Noodle Bar will be opening a new location in the building, we don't have to worry about the former stable meeting a similar fate.