Often, when we visit a part of town with an agenda to write about a specific project, we’ll meander around the general area looking for other ongoing projects that we might not have known about. Given the number of projects that have taken place on Front Street north of Girard over the last several years, this stretch has regularly proven fruitful to “cold call” and stumble onto something new and unexpected. And that’s exactly what happened the other day, when we discovered a construction fence surrounding a one-story triangular building that was formerly home to Front Street Party Store.
Developers now own the building at 2243-45 N. Front St., along with the former Chinese restaurant in the red-painted building next door. At this time, they have permits to demolish both buildings, but as far as we can see, there aren’t any permits to build something in their place just yet. The CMX-2.5 zoning would allow for the construction of a mixed-use building with 8 units as a matter of right on this 2,500 sqft parcel, assuming the height of the building exceeds 45 feet. If they throw a green roof on the building, they’d be able to add a couple more units without permission from the ZBA. The developers could use low income bonuses to increase the unit count further, but given the tight quarters, we’re gonna go ahead and predict a four-story building with eight units and a retail tenant on the first floor to be determined.
Whatever business eventually opens on the first floor of this theoretical building will have more customers living nearby than you might expect. You may not remember, but we visited the 1900 block of E. Dauphin back in 2017 and told you that a developer was building several small apartment buildings on this block, replacing vacant lots and older buildings. You can see five of those buildings in the photo above, containing a total of 21 rental units between them. Not only will those residents eventually be able to take advantage of whatever store eventually opens at the corner, but they’ll have several other businesses down Front Street that have sprung up over the last few years. And a very short walk to the York-Dauphin El station won’t hurt either.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it seems that Front Street Party Store has moved to a new location on the 3300 block of N. Front Street. Good thing they found another space on Front Street, otherwise they would have needed to change their name!