As Northern Liberties development spilled over to Fishtown and as Fishtown development spilled over to East and South Kensington, the trend is continuing as development is slowly pushing further into North Philadelphia as investors look for the next hot neighborhood. Perhaps Norris Square will be that neighborhood and in the coming years we’ll kick ourselves for not getting in there while the going was good. It’s also possible that it will remain fringy in terms of development and only pick up projects here and there, close to the border of other more established neighborhoods. Some developers on the 2500 block of N. Howard St. are clearly betting on the former, as a pair of duplexes are now under construction on formerly vacant lots.
These projects, at 2518 and 2522 N. Howard St., fundamentally change the conversation on this block, which is otherwise a mix of vacant land of worn homes. Many of the lots on the block are owned by City agencies or PHA so likely won’t get redeveloped soon, but several are already owned by developers and at least one other property has permits for another duplex, but hasn’t broken ground yet. Certainly, the by-right multi-family zoning on the block is helping move things along. Within a year, the addition of these three projects will surely encourage developers to give more attention to this block and the surrounding area as well.
We have to think that these developers considered this block because of other nearby projects. Remember, we told you in the fall of 2018 to expect an eleven-unit building at the corner of Howard & Cumberland, and that project is now under construction after some minor delays. You can see in the photo above another project in the distance on Front Street which we also covered in the past, back when it was just a foundation. That project includes 18 units on Front Street and dovetails with a row of triplexes on the next block of Front. Considered all together, these developments represent a major push into Norris Square and give us a sense that the toothpaste may already be out of the tube in this neighborhood when it comes to new construction. Is this the next hot neighborhood? It’s maybe a little too soon to tell. Based on the evidence above though, it’s certainly a compelling candidate and it could cement its case in 2020.