Northern Liberties

Starting just below half a million

We've covered projects in Northern Liberties large and small, and have suggested that as vacant land becomes more scarce, developers will start to look for more and more out-of-the-box locations to build. We confess, we wouldn't have expected to see a project rise at 82 E. Laurel St., but that's exactly what's happening. As you can see on the map, this location sits in the eastern part of the neighborhood, pretty much next to I-95.

Map of the project

A sign on the site, where groundbreaking took place recently, advertises it as the Iron Place Townhomes project. Checking out the project's website, we learn that it will entail the construction of nine new townhomes designed by Abitare. Named after a small street that's parallel to the project, it will be constructed in two phases. The homes will contain three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and garage parking. The first home is under agreement, and the other three homes included in the first phase are on the market for $490K.

and more purple, sometimes

If you were shooting a movie near Center City and you needed to film a scene where someone was getting robbed, you might select the dark and drab underpass under I-95, next to 2nd & Spring Garden.

Not what you'd call nice

A few weeks ago, representatives from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation presented their latest design proposal at a Northern Liberties Neighbors Association meeting. The proposed design will feature perforated metal panels with native plant designs to cover our green building-thumb, back-lit by LED lighting that will change color and intensity with the time of day. Hello, future. There also will be hanging fixtures, and an LED strip along the center median, curb bump-outs at 2nd Street and at the El, as well as new signage. Many of the concepts were developed throughout public meetings last spring. Designed by Cloud Gehshan Associates, work is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the fall.

Breaking ground soon?

A year ago, we brought the vacant lot on the northwestern corner of 3rd & Brown to your attention, noting that old plans to build a five-story, ten unit building had been canceled. Instead, NLNA had approved five homes for the corner, with architecture work by Morrissey Design. Passing by the other day, we saw a site where work had not yet begun, but a sign on the fence suggested it could get underway pretty soon.

Perhaps a week ago

In case you don't feel like walking over to the corner to see the renderings of the project posted on the sign, we decided we'd show them to you here.

But the homes will have garages

A block south of Girard near the budding 5th & Poplar corner, where a warehouse was razed and townhomes are now being constructed, and around the corner from 5th Street where a number of single-family homes have been built of late, two new single-family homes at 965-67 Randolph St. will soon join the crowd.

These are goners

Purchased last Halloween for about 320K, the parcel is right now occupied by two garages, one with brown and lime-green painted lattice work and a charming muted brick brown and dark tan pattern and a second-floor, which will be razed to make way for new homes with roof decks. The homes, like the garages they're replacing, will have interior parking. The project sailed smoothly through the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association zoning committee in late January, where neighbors saw no problem in the homes being built, according to the minutes. It goes before the ZBA next week.

Nicer but less interesting than what came before

We last checked in on 927-29 N. Orianna St. last summer, when two new units were under construction there. These two homes, with rear-access parking were replacing two old three story structures. While the new homes from Callhan Ward are certainly fancier than the buildings that were here before, they lack a certain character that the old structures possessed.

In the past
Current view

Alas, such is the cost sometimes of progress. We don't imagine that the folks who bought these homes are complaining one bit.