Last year, we were tipped off about a pretty cool project happening in Manyunk regarding the second half of a two-building nineteenth century mill complex known as the Shurs Lane Mills. We got in touch with the developers who were willing to give us a tour of the building mid-construction. A few days ago, the developers, Dempsey Development & Brokerage, reached out to invite us back to see the (mostly) finished product.
Exterior is finished. This view is from Shurs Lane
As we told you last time we covered this property, one of the buildings in this complex had already been redeveloped into condos back in the mid-2000s, but the second building had been dilapidated for some years, and was caught up in some legal issues, the details of which aren't known to us. Dempsey began their redevelopment into 38 apartments last year and, at the moment, most of the units are now occupied. They're looking to wrap things up and fill up the complex in the coming months.
Since this building is so unique, it presented many design challenges to the developers. The sunken north side of the building was one such challenge. It's unclear what purpose this section of the building originally served when it was a factory, but Dempsey created a miniature courtyard out of it for the building's residents. And it turned out pretty well.
We confess that we don't make it to the Wissahickon neighborhood very often. As you've probably noticed, we generally keep watch on the neighborhoods in greater Center City... and we also hate driving on I-76. But when someone reaches out to us with a tip, we've been known to make the hike. And that's what brought us to the Sumac and Kalos Streets, two blocks that sit between Ridge Avenue and the Wissahickon Creek. Specifically, today we're looking at 150 Kalos St., a former vacant lot, and the adjacent 145 Sumac St., a combination of a vacant lot and a historic home.
A formerly wooded stretch of Manayunk Avenue is slowly transforming into a row of new homes. In the past, this side of the 4000 block of Manayunk Avenue looked like this:
In the past
If you pass by today though, you'll see a very different scene.
Second phase of homes have gray brick
News of this project first came out at the end of 2012, according to the Roxborough-Manayunk Patch. The twelve-home project has been built in two phases, with the first five homes finishing in 2014. Those homes sold in the mid-$400K range. Despite a fire about half a year ago, the second phase has been slowly going up, and a few are currently listed at prices a little below and a little above $600K.
Head-on view of a second phase home
Though it may appear to be the case at a quick glance, these are not two-story homes. Like other projects in Manayunk, these homes sit on a steep hill and have additional stories "below grade." Each home has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, parking, and over 3,000 sqft of living space. And the views ain't bad, either.
Last week, we had a great opportunity to get an insider's look of a current preservation-minded redevelopment project in Manayunk: Shurs Lane Mills at 410 Shurs Lane. This property is a two-building complex that was built to house a textile mill in 1876 by T. Kentworthy and (his) Brother. According to a survey taken in 1885, the duo of buildings were producing carpet yarns and employing about 139 people, the majority of which seem to have been children or teenagers.
Drawing included in the 1885 survey, courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
One of the buildings was rehabbed into condos a little less than a decade ago. After sitting derelict for years, apparently caught in some kind of tangled litigation process, the second building is finally being resuscitated by Dempsey Development and Brokerage into 37 apartment units, most of which will be studios and one bedrooms starting at $1105 per month. Take a look at some of the pictures we captured of this project:
View from Shurs Lane shows the length of the building
The renters on the bottom floor, known as the Garden Level of the building, will have direct access to the neighboring parking lot through individual doors. The 81 spaces there and in a parking lot on the other side of the building will be reserved for residents of the complex.
For the thirsty hordes that typically descend on Manayunk every weekend, a project currently under construction has slightly diminished the parking options. Previously, 4304 Cresson St. was a parking garage. Considering its location underneath the rail tracks, this seemed like an extremely reasonable use for this big old building. Incidentally, a public swimming pool was located here at least until the 1960s, so it's possible the building wasn't so old after all.
In the past
But that's pretty much an academic conversation at this point since the building is all but demolished. A new building has risen from its ashes.