Fishtown

But we aren't sure what's coming

We've passed by the former warehouse at 1601 N. Front St. many times over the last several months, repeatedly telling ourselves to find out what's going on with the property. To give some detail, this old warehouse next to the El has been getting work done for quite some time, seeing old windows blown out and a small building demolished at the corner of Front & Oxford.

But don't worry there will still be some vacancy

The 2400 block of Frankford Avenue is perhaps best known for being the home of Philadelphia Brewing Company, makers of Kenzinger and other tasty adult beverages. While many other blocks of Frankford Ave. have seen tremendous infill development over the years, this block has maintained a higher level of vacancy. But with three projects now under construction, that vacancy is definitely on the downswing.

This building stretches back to Trenton Ave.
View on Trenton Ave.

2413 Frankford Ave. is a large property that stretches from Frankford to Trenton Avenue, bending slightly along the way. It sat as a vacant lot for quite some time, but now developers are working on a mixed-use building with a ground-floor commercial space and two apartments. A sign on the site suggests that each unit will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and we'd say it looks like it'll be condo play.

And we like 'em

Earlier this week, we told you about plans for six homes at 1208-12 E. Susquehanna Ave., a large parcel near Girard Avenue that's three times as deep as it is wide. The site currently underused, with only two houses and a bunch of one-story garages on the 7,700+ sqft property.

Current view

When the developers presented the project to the community last month, the neighbors opposed the project because of concerns about height, density, and pilot house size. At the time, we said that we couldn't really offer an opinion on the project without seeing the design. Thankfully, the good people at Harman Deutsch sent us a site plan and a rendering, and now we know exactly what to expect.

Site plan

You can see, the project calls for six homes positioned on the northern side of the property with a drive-aisle to the south. Most new homes in this neighborhood have a standard layout, with a width of 14-18', and a depth of 36-42'. These homes would be wider but shallower, with most of the homes measuring about 24' wide by about 30' deep. This creates a floor plate that's a little larger than the typical home and also allows for two-car parking on the first floor.

Probably a better location than their previous plan

Philadelphia has certainly made some strides in the years since Men's Fitness declared us the fattest city in America. In the latest ranking, from 2014, we got a mid-pack ranking of 21st fattest (and therefore 30th most fit!) of the 50 most populous cities in the country. Perhaps our improving fitness ranking has something to do with the incredible number of exercise options that have cropped up in recent years. It seems that these days almost every neighborhood in and around Center City has a gym or two, a crossfit gym, three yoga studios, a pilates place, and maybe some mixed martial arts too. And we have a feeling that Soul Cycle is next, so watch out.

But the neighbors aren't into it

Some properties out there don't make too much sense in terms of their dimensions, but sometimes those are the parcels that present the most interesting development opportunities. Take, for example, 1208-12 E. Susquehanna Ave., a large property that's just steps from Girard Avenue.

Current view
This close to Girard Ave.

The property includes two homes on E. Susquehanna and a drive-aisle that leads to thirteen garage parking spots. In total, the lot contains about 7,700 sqft of space and was likely home to a warehouse at some point in its history which is the only way we can explain its unique dimensions. With about 50' of frontage, this parcel could accommodate a three-home project, but the homes would have obscenely large backyards since the property extends back 155'. Instead, developers are proposing a six-home development, giving two-car parking to each home. They came before the community at an FNA zoning meeting last month, but neighbors opposed the project by a 2:1 margin.

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