Northern Liberties

Renderings look sweet

Earlier this year, we told you that lumber yard J.T. Riley Lumber Co. had closed its doors at 3rd & Girard and that the massive property was for sale. It seems it didn't take long for a buyer to step forward, and now a major mixed-use project with fifty-three new apartments and ground-floor retail is planned for the site.

Current view

The project will mean the demolition of all the buildings currently on the site, and the construction of a five story building fronting Girard Avenue with twenty apartments and 3,100 sqft of commercial space. On 3rd Street and Orianna Street, the building will be flanked by four-story triplexes which will stand in architectural contrast to the Girard building. Thirty-six parking spots are included in the project, though they'll be covered by a second floor courtyard that's accessible to residents. KJO Architecture did the design work on the project- check out these renderings:

So we're guessing it's definitely happening

As Northern Liberties was reborn in the last decade plus, the northeast corner of 2nd & Brown has sat vacant. For quite some time, a sign on the property advertised the overpriced lot as 'The Best Corner Left in Northern Liberties,' though current and former owners of other neighborhood corners might disagree. But wherever it sits on the Northern Liberties vacant corner rankings, we were all too pleased a couple of years ago to learn that it would finally be redeveloped, with plans for a six-story mixed-use building designed by Landmark Architectural Designs. The project was approved by the ZBA in May of 2012.

Or maybe we'll wait for a bunch of years

In Northern Liberties, countless warehouses have been demolished in favor of new development, with huge projects like the Piazza and Liberties Walk filling the space earlier on, and with new construction single family homes taking over more recently. Earlier this week, a reader tipped us off that another warehouse could bite it soon, though we confess we have no idea what would happen on the site if and when it does.

Self Storage building

For years, Northern Liberties Self Storage has dominated a lengthy stretch of N. 2nd Street, a mostly faceless old warehouse in the thick of a thriving commercial corridor. Tower Investments bought the former Esco warehouse at 828 N. 2nd St. about a decade ago, which is about when we would imagine it was converted into the self storage facility. A wonderful building at the corner of Poplar Street, which came with the property, sat vacant for a long time until it was demolished earlier this year.

PWD has plans for Northern Liberties playground

Cement Park. Its name is almost the antithesis of the recent movement across the city to modernize older parks and playgrounds and transform them into green enclaves with stormwater management features. Newer parks, like Washington Avenue Green along the waterfront in South Philadelphia, are designed with this stuff in mind from the start.  

Located at 704 N. 3rd St. in Northern Liberties, Cement Park — despite playground equipment and vibrant murals the name describes the scene there — is now scheduled for its modern day tuneup. A PWD representative appeared before the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association earlier this summer to present slides of possible improvements for the park. Construction is planned for next year, but planners are seeking design input now. Improvements could include elements like a new porous surface with new plantings to replace the current cement and cobblestones. The improvements are part of a larger PWD watershed project under the Green City, Clean Waters umbrella.

Ten homes will replace it

A couple of months ago, we told you about a proposal to demolish the Color Reflections warehouse at 413 Green St. and replace it with ten new homes. After the developer presented the project to the NLNA in early July, the community group's zoning committee requested that the project eliminate one of the units. Much to nobody's surprise, this was a no-go with the developer. At the following zoning meeting, the developer must have either whispered sweet nothings into the ears of the committee members or simply agreed to disagree, as the project was recently approved by the ZBA with ten homes as originally proposed.

Warehouse that's going

Designed by KJO Architecture, the project will include three standard homes on Green Street and a fourth home that's a carriage house, floating above a drive-aisle. That drive-aisle will provide parking access not only for the four units on Green Street, but also for five of the six units planned for Wallace Street. The sixth Wallace Street home (which wasn't eliminated) will have a front-loading garage. Here, maybe the site plan will make things clearer:

Project site plan. Green St. on the right.

If examining detailed architectural drawings isn't your thing, perhaps you'd prefer to see project renderings. Good thing we have some of those!