South Kensington

We mentioned development opportunity earlier this year

Girard, Girard, oh sweet Girard. So much building planned, we just wonder when. Since plans were first announced last year for SoKo Lofts, more than 300 new apartments at just north of Girard, and Liberty Square, just under 250 new apartments just about next door, we've seen a string of new development pop up along Girard both east and west of Front Street. It's hard to think that some of this development has not been spurred by talk of these huge projects, even though they haven't moved at all as of yet. Of course, construction across Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and South Kensington are also surely part of the equation as well. 

Future Liberty Square, viewed from Girard Ave.

And it seems that another Girard Avenue project is on the horizon, as we recently came upon plans for 225-29 W Girard Ave. for a four-story mixed-use building with three apartments and a commercial space on the first floor. We wrote about this vacant lot earlier this year when it was for sale for what we thought was high $400K, but it did seem like an interesting development opportunity. According to public record, it's still owned by the same party, so we're not sure who's behind the development. It's also worth noting that an interesting mural with three dimensional characteristics is going to be covered by this project.

Or something else if you wanna rent this buidling

The original site of the Salvation Army was at 4th & Oxford in South Kensington, and as of this year new owners are looking for tenants for the building, constructed in 1869, to become another part of the changing neighborhood, where old mills are new lofts, and the building is a plenty, like the oil once ran.

View from the street

Developer Bob Metry had his eyes on the building for years. He knew the neighborhood was in the midst of a fast tide of redevelopment, and old buildings were getting picked up fast, with big plans for conversions. Nearby, where Oxford St. hits the El, the Oxford Mills project to convert a former dye works to 114 apartments and offices seems like a smashing success. Earlier this year, Metry approached the Salvation Army with his RJM Property Group. He knew the building was no longer in use and shortly after, RJM acquired the property.

Interesting color choice in the rear

Last fall, we first told you about plans for development at the corner of 7th & Thompson. Out was a long vacant lot, in were four single family homes and a corner building with a retail space and two apartments above. When we passed by the site in January, framing was done and brickwork was underway. Visiting last week, we spied a project that's nearly finished.

Current view

As you can see, the buildings have a fairly contemporary look. Their most noticable detail though, is in the rear.

Back of the project is so blue

What do you think about this project? Do you like the flashy colors on the back, or would you have preferred something more muted?

Can't just be a single family home

Recently, we've seen some increased activity on Front Street under the El. The commercial aspect of the Oxford Mills project fronts Front Street. A former garage is being converted into a soup place across the street from El Bar. And three duplexes should soon break ground just above Girard Avenue. Today we zip further north, near the Berks Station and the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and note a renovation that we can't quite understand.

In the past

1844 N. Front St. was a blighted building for years, like so many others on Front Street in this area. According to a thread on Fishtown.us, you could actually see the third floor roof pushing out the bricks from the station above. In 2010, a developer purchased this building and the one that's located immediately to the south. Both properties have benefited from some renewed attention in recent years.

Fun use for an old warehouse

In South Kensington, old warehouses have met diverse fates in recent years. At Oxford Mills, a former dye works has been converted into apartments and office space for educational non-profits. On Howard Street, where the Town Homes at Liberties North are rising, developers tore down an old warehouse in favor of new single family homes. An old umbrella factory, meanwhile, still sits vacant and blighted at 5th & Master.

A couple of years ago, we told you about another interesting warehouse reuse, when Reanimator Coffee moved their roasting facility to 161 Cecil B. Moore Ave., sharing the building with an arts space. With Reanimator having moved their roasting to Master Street, it seems the old textile and dye warehouse has a new and even more stimulating tenant- Keystone Mini Golf.

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