Northern Liberties

Apartment building coming next door too

A century ago, the 900 block of Marshall Street was home to a bustling outdoor market, with hundreds of pushcart vendors hawking all manner of products. By the time the 1960s rolled around, the changing neighborhood and the threat of an urban renewal plan meant an end to the pushcarts on Marshall Street, and the block began a slow decline that persisted until very recently. A couple years ago, we were excited to see some buildings rising here, closer to Poplar Street, and that has slowly continued ever since.

A bunch of newer buildings close to Poplar Street

Today we look a little bit to the north on this same block, where an old building will soon be renovated into apartments and two buildings will rise on either side of it. At 980 N. Marshall St., the Kneses Israel Anshe S'fard built a synagogue in 1909 for $1,000, according to a story from the Jewish Exponent. The congregation moved away in the 1960s, and the building was most recently home to the Emmanuel Full Gospel Temple. Despite the fact that the building has been a church for many years now, you can still see the original Hebrew inscription at the top of the building's facade.

What could get built here?

Zipping down Delaware Avenue today, definitively not on our way to Sugarhouse, a billboard advertising a real estate auction stopped us in our tracks.

Sign that caught our attention

In case you can't get a good look from the sign, it's announcing that a 65K sqft parcel with CMX-3 zoning is going up for auction with May 11th as the deadline to submit a bid. The parcel is question is 1143-51 N. Delaware Ave., and it's pretty much what it looks like in the picture above. It's rather skinny but impossibly deep, running all the way to the Delaware River.

View from above

Penn Treaty Park is located immediately to the north, and the warehouse next door belongs to the Henry Stewart Company, distributing rigging products since 1905. A little further south you'll find Sugarhouse, with its flashy new parking garage apparently finished.

Two office projects in one week!

It was just a few days ago that we told you about a Fishtown church getting converted into a funky office space for a structural engineering firm. At the time, we commented that it seems we rarely cover construction or renovations for new office space. And yet here we are again today, telling you about a rather similar project just a few blocks away, though we confess we don't have as much information this time around. A reader tipped us off last week that 1100 N. Front St. was gutted recently and is now getting renovated. This building, which sits pretty much under the El, was home to General Marine Refrigeration for many years.

View in the past at the corner.

New owners purchased the building at the end of last year. Since they've taken over, they've removed all the old windows, they've closed up some of the old window openings, and they've created some window and door openings too. Also, it looks like they've repointed the facade.

The second part of a project, four years later

As we were zipping up 3rd Street yesterday, a sign on a one-story garage at 722 N. 3rd St. caught our eye. It's not so common that we cover the planned construction of a one-off home, but when the developers are kind enough to post a sign with a rendering, it's tough to resist.

Such a helpful sign on the building

It's a little tough to see the image on the posted sign, so here's a better look at what's coming soon:

Rendering is taken from the listing

Developers bought this property back in 2012 and the little garage actually sits on an impressive 18'x85' lot. They're planning to demolish the garage and replace it with a single-family home, already listed for sale for a whopping $990K. The price is on the high side for this neighborhood, but when you consider that the house will be enormous, it's not an outrageous price. The listing describes a home that'll clock in at almost 3,700 sqft, with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and two-car parking. Though the property runs very deep, the rear yard is quite small, perhaps because there's a sheer wall from another building at the back of the property line.

Going to community tonight

With a few exceptions, recent projects in Northern Liberties have meant the construction of new single-family homes. But on the southeast corner of 6th & Brown, developers are considering building a new apartment building, for a change.

View at the corner

For many years, a shabby one-story commercial building has occupied 723 N. 6th St., next door to the Liberties Lofts building. We noticed, a few months ago, that the property was listed for sale at an asking price of $1.3M. This is not a crazy price, considering that the parcel measures almost 9,000 sqft, but the industrial zoning of the property means that just about any possible redevelopment proposal would need to come before the community and eventually the ZBA.

Closer look

Tonight, the developers are presenting their project to the community at a Northern Liberties Neighbors Association zoning meeting. According to an email we got from NLNA, the project would mean thirty apartments and twenty-two parking spots, we'd assume in a five-story building. We aren't sure how the neighbors or the community group will feel about the project, but from where we sit it seems like a worthwhile plan, and certainly something different than we're accustomed to seeing in the neighborhood.