Northern Liberties

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.

Row of homes coming soon on Fairmount

If you visited the intersection of 7th & Fairmount just a couple of years ago, you would have discovered a vacant one-story commercial building on the northeast corner and a fenced-in parking lot on the northwest corner. Today it's a different story, with Federal Donuts having taken over the aforementioned commercial building and the first phase of the Franklin Court Townhomes project in place of the parking lot. We checked in on this project last spring, and there's been a ton of progress in the time that's passed since then.

View at 7th & Fairmount
Triplex and homes on 7th Street

The first phase of this project meant a triplex at the corner, a triplex just to the north on 7th Street, and six townhomes townhomes to the north. Passing by earlier today, it looks like the row of seven buildings on 7th Street is done and the building at the corner is getting close. According to the project website, almost all of the first phase units have sold, and we discovered just two of the homes listed for sale, at a price of $525K.

Another big US Construction project coming

At some point in the last couple of months, a large warehouse-like structure came down at 5th & Fairmount.

In the past
Current view

In its place, US Construction will soon get moving on plans for 36 townhomes, 1 duplex, and a mixed-use building with 5 apartments and ground-floor retail. The project came before the community and went to CDR over the summer, getting approval from the ZBA in late July. JKRP Architects did the design work, and these renderings will give you an idea of what to expect in the coming months.

One is currently under construction

A week and a half ago, we told you about plans for a new apartment building on the northwest corner of 2nd & Wildey, on a long-vacant Northern Liberties lot. Today, we look less than a block to the south to share news of a new building that's under construction, another that started and stopped, and finally, a building that just got approvals last week.

Zoning notice and construction on 2nd St.

Let's start at the south, shall we? 946-48 N. 2nd St. was previously home to a pair of unfortunate old buildings, seemingly sitting vacant for many years. Borkson Properties bought the parcel last year, demoed the buildings on the site, and are now working their way through construction on a mixed-use building with four residential units and a ground-floor commercial space. According to the developer's website, the units will be offered as condos, with two 2 bedroom units and two 3 bedroom units. Sizes will range from 1,200 - 2,100 sqft.

Another project from How Properties

A decade ago, the mostly vacant lot on the northwest corner of 2nd & Wildey fit right in. Northern Liberties was on the way up, but there was still so much vacancy everywhere. As the years have rolled off the calendar, you know the story. Liberties Walk; The Piazza; Dramatic improvements to the corridor on 2nd Street; Hundreds of projects from small, medium, and large sized developers. We've seen so much development in this neighborhood that it's almost odd to see any lingering vacant lots or buildings. A few, like the lot at 2nd & Wildey, have remained. But that lot is on the way out, according to a story from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Corner of 2nd & Wildey

The story tells us that How Properties has purchased the parcel, which measures about 25K sqft. Their plan calls for a fifty-five foot building with 53 apartments and ground-floor retail. The story indicates that there's a rumor that a grocery store could be the tenant but we don't buy it. Taking aside the fact that there's an Acme just up the block, a 14,500 sqft space would only accommodate a specialty store like Trader Joe's. And we have a strong feeling that TJ's would never open in a space that has no parking lot. People like driving to Trader Joe's.

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