South Kensington

Roof collapsed back in March

We were in South Kensington the other day, scoping out some upcoming development, and the building at 1627 N. 2nd St. caught our eye. It captured our attention not because it's some new and exciting project, but instead because it looks like a large dragon took a bite out of it.

The Putnam Building, view from 2nd Street
View from Hancock Street
Slightly different angle

The roof collapsed at the Putnam Building back in March, and we honestly thought it had been demolished in the interim. Nope, it turns out it just looks like a giant sat on it.

In the shadow of the umbrella factory

The former umbrella factory building at 5th & Master is one of the most prominent blights in South Kensington. Over a year ago, we were hopeful that the building was finally getting renovated, but it still looks awful today. From several locations around the area, this shell of a building looms over the skyline, reminding us that in spite of tremendous growth here in recent years the neighborhood is not a finished product.

Umbrella factory, view from 5th Street

Despite the presence of this blighted building, many projects have cropped up nearby. On the 1200 block of N. 5th St., we've told you about two significant projects, one with 21 duplexes, a mixed-use building, and a dog park, and the other with 29 apartment units. Both of those projects will have pretty clear views of the umbrella factory building. But there's a much smaller project currently in the works at 422-24 W. Master St. which will have an uncomfortably close view.

Getting plans rejected will set back any plans

In South Kensington we're seeing a flurry of development with a handful of projects finished and others just getting started. And as the neighborhood has seen more development, we've seen it spread further north and west. For example, just last month we told you about new condos coming on 7th Street north of Thompson Street. This project comes on the heels of a mixed-use development that arrived last year at the corner of 7th & ThompsonAnd there's a number of projects near 6th & Thompson as well.

Considering that, and the continued distressed state of many parcels in the neighborhood, it was positive to hear about plans for redevelopment a few blocks to the north, on the northeast corner of 6th & Oxford.

New homes, condos, the whole shebang

It seems we're constantly noting how Northern Liberties and Fishtown development are leaking into South Kensington, and today is no exception. Looking at the 1200 block of N. Mascher Street, we see three different types of projects, with one more coming soon.

New home at the corner of Thompson St.

We'll start by checking in on a new home at the southeast corner of Thompson & Mascher which was finished and sold in May. We actually told you about this project last fall, shortly after groundbreaking. At the time, this project was quite controversial because it came at the expense of the Cohocksink Community Garden. From the looks of it, the garden didn't happen this season, surely because of the construction. It's worth noting that another parcel that was also previously part of the garden will soon be redeveloped into a single-family home, which tells us that the future of the garden remains up in the air. It's crappy when development has this kind of collateral damage, and we hope that the garden makes a comeback on the pair of parcels that remain.

Row of homes on Hope St. visible from Front St.

It's been about a year since we last checked in on the hilariously named Townhomes at Liberties North project in South Kensington. Remember, we first covered this 21-home project a year prior. This time last year, ten homes had been framed out on the 1300 block of Howard Street and an amazing eight of them were already under agreement at prices approaching $400K. Checking out those homes today, they appear to be finished. And we're pretty sure they're all sold too. Er, maybe one's a model home.

Homes on Howard St.

The second phase of the project is now moving along nicely. From Front Street, you can see eleven more homes on the 1300 block of Hope Street under construction. This view is only possible because there's a big vacant lot on this block.

View of the homes on Hope Street from Front St.

Many of these homes are now under agreement at list prices just under $410K. Considering the fact that these homes are right on the Fishtown border and also taking into account the rapid growth of South Kensington, we can't say we're surprised that the homes are getting so much love from buyers. The 3 bedroom 3.5 bathroom homes also have parking, and we'd imagine that sales will continue to move along briskly.