Northern Liberties

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. 

But sadly aren't including a huge fountain

Well this is embarrassing. We could have sworn we told you about plans for new homes at 609 N. 3rd St. at some point in the past. But alas, we never did. So today we're trying to make amends with some details on a project that's already under construction.

Remember earlier this week when we told you about plans for nine new homes at 613-25 N. 3rd St. which would replace half a surface parking lot? This project, from Bellagio Homes, is eliminating the southern half of said parking lot. Actually, it already has.

A couple weeks back

When the project is done, there will be four new homes fronting 3rd Street and four new homes fronting Bodine Street. The homes will all have rear parking, accessed via a drive-aisle on 3rd Street. Cars will come in and out on 3rd Street, which might be the reason the Bodine Street homes are the first phase under construction. Check out the renderings:

Surrounded by other construction, an idea of what's coming soon

On 3rd Street in Northern Liberties, there's a ton of construction going on right now. So it may seem strange that we're profiling 613-25 N. 3rd St., a project that's not actually under construction yet. But hey, we've covered it before and we have current renderings. So here we go.

Current view

We last checked in on this project back in April when developers appeared before the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association with plans to replace a surface parking lot with nine new homes. This was particularly of interest, as different developers came up with another project for the same site back in 2012. The previous project was designed by Canno Architecture, and the new one came from Abitare Studios. In April, we wondered how many times the developers would need to present the project to the community, as the original incarnation required four meetings.

After a building is demolished

Earlier this year, a really nice building on the southwest corner of 2nd & Poplar was demolished. It had been vacant for many years despite the improving fortunes of the 2nd Street corridor.

Building is gone

Passing by the site of the building the other week, we discovered murals where the building once stood. They're pretty awesome, though we're fairly certain they weren't put there by the Mural Arts Program.

South side
West side

How long they'll remain is an open question, especially with rumors that the building next door could be redeveloped sometime soon. And while we wish the building was still standing, we certainly have an appreciation for the artistic placeholders. That buffalo is especially sweet.