Northern Liberties

Shells and vacant lots dropping like flies

A couple days ago, after we enjoyed a coffee at One Shot and after we noticed the finished construction next door which is now home to DnA Salon, we headed south down American Street and spied a little more construction activity. At 1004 N. American St., a kind of unfortunate addition has appeared, with a slightly different color brick on the third floor facade giving it away. At 1006 N. American St., there's a new home that's replaced a vacant lot that's on the skinny side.

Framing well underway

Months ago, we told you about plans for seventeen new homes on the 800 blocks of Lawrence and Orkney Streets in Northern Liberties. Back then, the warehouse that was once home to Marcis Wire Works had just been demolished at 812-32 N. Lawrence St., and a snow covered pile of rubble foretold better things. If you visit the site today, however, the rubble is as long gone as the snow. Instead, nine homes fronting Orkney Street have been framed out.

Construction moving along. Image from the company that did the project website.

The homes will be large and fancy, according to the project website (like it would say otherwise!). Look for 2,600 to 3,000 sqft of living space with home widths between nineteen and twenty-one feet. Each home will also have rear-access, two-car parking, accessed via a curb cut on Lawrence Street. No idea how that will work when the Lawrence Street homes get built as the second phase of the project, but it won't be an issue long-term. Look for the first run of homes to finish in the spring. Check out these renderings, which are a different look than the renderings we showed by before.

Replaces awful garage

It seems like the area near One Shot Cafe has been a major construction zone forever. The Stables project, which will eventually include dozens of new construction homes, started a couple of years ago and recently came back to life in a big way after a lengthy lull. The building immediately to the north, 1109 N. American St., was previously an ugly garage until it went under construction last year.

In the past

Remember, we told you that it would be converted into a salon and an apartment, though we didn't know what it look like. Passing by recently, we noticed it was finished. Now we know what it looks like and we must say the warehousey look is a massive improvement.

Joins the club with other parks in town

Building has long been the word in Northern Liberties, where you'd struggle to throw a football from any down and hit a vacant lot nowadays. With all the new building has come all sort of new retail. Now, at least for a brief moment, the word is park. Park, not parking. Liberty Lands park at 3rd & Poplar is one of two Northern Liberties parks slated for improvements. Cement Park, a few blocks south, is the other. Just a block beyond the North 2nd Street corridor near the Piazza, Liberty Lands is an almost block-long sized enclave tucked in among a wave of redevelopment that seems to keep rising.

Mural and playground

At Liberty Lands the improvements are aesthetic in nature, compared to at Cement Park, where stormwater infrastructure will be part of a new design. Improvements to Liberty Lands will bring new benches with backrests, for those of you who may fall backwards off a bench, a new gate for toddlers, plus a new foundation for the old stage, which had rotted, according to the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association website. Simple improvements.

A block is totally transformed

It's been almost three years since we first visited the 1100 block of N. Hope St. in Northern Liberties. Back then, it was a miserable block highlighted by a collection of empty lots and a vacant and blighted warehouse. NLNA Zoning Committee chair Larry Freeman said at the time, “You’re not gonna walk down Hope Street at night. It would be nice to have some houses over there.” Indeed.

Back in 2011

As the years have passed, this block has undergone an incredible transformation. Twenty homes as part of the Residences at H3 sprung up on the block's western side. The vacant warehouse burned down two summers back. In its place, a thirty home development stretching from Hope to Front Street started construction last spring. When we passed by this block recently, the project looked to be done or darn close to it. Just look at what Hope Street looks like now:

A revived Hope Street

But it's not just on Hope Street that things have changed. It's quite a new scene on Front Street as well.