Lehigh Avenue is primed to see another addition in the near future, as developers have purchased 2046 E. Lehigh Ave., a building that’s been used as an auto shop for the last couple decades. We can’t really picture what this corridor was like when the building was constructed around 1950 as a sheet metal fabrication facility, but given the industrial history of the surrounding area and the rail lines just across the street, we have to think that a sheet metal business made all the sense in the world back then. And an auto shop has felt intuitive more recently. But as we’ve shared several times before, Lehigh Avenue is in a state of flux, with residential and retail making huge strides. The Kensington Courts project, under construction right across the street from the property in question, is the most significant example of this phenomenon.
With developers now in possession of 2046 E. Lehigh Ave., you have probably already guessed that the business is no longer in operation. In fact, the building out of which said business once operated is no more. Check it out:
A new building is planned for this property, naturally, with the developers looking to move forward with a by-right mixed-use building. This building will rise five stories and will include 21 apartments and retail on the first floor. The height and density are permitted because of the use of a green roof bonus and also because this building is zoned CMX-2.5, a zoning designation we’d like to see for numerous other commercial corridors around town, with Point Breeze Avenue being the most crucial on the list. Ambit Architecture did the design work, and here are a couple renderings which we snagged from their Instagram feed.
This building will obviously be a huge upgrade over the building that’s been here for so many years, and we’re excited to see the improvement. Not only will the building level up this address, but it will also dovetail nicely with the huge project across the street- figure plenty of the folks that eventually move to Kensington Court will be crossing the street to walk down Frankford Avenue, and this will be the first business they pass, aside from the gas station at the corner. We don’t know that a theoretical Richmond Coffee would necessarily be the successful choice for this location, but we can certainly imagine some retail business making it work at this address. And while the people in the apartments probably won’t love living next door to a gas station, at least they won’t have to cross Lehigh Avenue to get to the Frankford Avenue commercial corridor, so it’s still probably a slightly better location than the buildings across the street.