Fishtown

Seems pretty straightforward

A couple days ago, we told you about plans to demolish an out-of-place rancher on Gordon Street in Fishtown and replace it with eight new construction homes. This seemed like an intuitive project to us, as nobody would argue that the home that's there now represents the highest and best use of this large lot.

Recent shot

We told you that the majority of community members who attended a Fishtown Neighbors Association meeting this month supported the project, but several near neighbors opposed the project because of parking concerns. A representative from JKR Partners, the architects for the project, was kind enough to share renderings of what the developer wants to build.

More Fishtown infill

Down near Delaware Ave. along Richmond Street in Fishtown, down from where a warehouse is slowly being redeveloped into an entertainment complex by Michael Samshick—if you pass by on I-95 South you can see some of the cleanup work that has been done inside—another infill development recently came down the pike that will transform a former garage into a duplex.

Current view

The Fishtown Neighbors Association recently supported developers' plans at 153 Richmond St. to add two stories to an existing building. This was necessary because the property is zoned industrial, hearkening back to different times in the neighborhood.

We've written a fair amount about infill in Fishtown in recent months, like along the 1300 block of Crease St. close to Frankford Ave., or three new homes on the 1200 block of Fletcher Street. The common theme in these projects is converting under-used property into residential uses. The moves make sense for developers who can certainly benefit financially from converting a garage or a vacant lot into a new home or rental units that will generate income each month. So the owner who purchased 153 Richmond St. for $77,500 in March, 2011 should do okay.

We'll see what the ZBA says

Despite a strong showing by neighbors concerned with parking issues, the Fishtown Neighbors Association recently supported plans for eight new single-family homes on a mostly vacant lot on the 2400 block of E. Gordon St., just a block away from a couple of our favorite restaurants in Fishtown.

This home would go

Developers plans to build five homes on Gordon Street and three on Dauphin Street, moving around lot lines on this parcel which runs street to street. The project, designed by JKR Partners, will also include some demolition, and would animate an under-used Fishtown block.

The community vote at the July 15th FNA zoning meeting was sixteen in favor to fifteen opposed. Near neighbors were more strongly opposed than the community at large. According to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair, the high number of no's was due to parking because the proposal offered nothing in that department. According to Karp, there's a question as to whether the ZBA will even listen regarding parking concerns for this project considering it's not required by the code. The developers are only seeking a variance for lot size, and a minimal one at that.

Replacing an old garage

In Fishtown, just off Frankford Avenue, a garage is gone and six new homes are on their way. At 2170 E. Norris St., the Palm Automotive Center once cast an unattractive shadow on the rapidly developing corridor. Now it's just a memory.

In the past

Remember Norris Point, the ten home development built last year where Norris Street hits Trenton Avenue, just a few steps from the location pictured above? This project comes from the same developer, Eric Fox, and is also similarly designed by Bryan Philips at ISA. Mr. Fox (not us, 'natch) also did The Nine, a LEED project on Tulip Street across from Memphis Flats. But now his attention is squarely on this parcel, where construction is underway.

Building looks like it goes back

Norris Street near Frankford Avenue has seen plenty of action in recent years. Norris Point, ten homes that replaced an overgrown lot, has been a huge success. A couple of single family homes have sprung up. And new homes will soon replace a former auto center at the corner of Blair Street (more on that next week). But today we look at 2162-64 E. Norris St., a building that looks like it dates back further than most others in the area.

The building, blocked by a truck
Better but old view from Google Maps

Architecturally, this property feels more Queen Village than Fishtown. Or are we off base? The building was purchased by Norris Partners LLC a little less than a year ago, and they're in the process of restoring the building. As you can possibly make out in the first image, they've been repointing the brick on the facade. What really drew us to the property though, is the reconstruction of the roof in the rear.

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