Small Pocket of East Kensington Turning the Corner From Blight to Development

From the late 1800s through the early decades of the 20th century, the triangular parcel bounded by Front Street, Jasper Street, and York Street was home to several buildings associated with the Bromley Carpet Factory. This made sense, since this part of town was then known as the Workshop of the World and was home to countless factories, producing all kinds of consumer and industrial goods. As Kensington has transitioned away from being an industrial hub, old warehouses and factories have met all sorts of fates. A handful are still in use for industrial purposes. Others have been renovated or repurposed for residential and/or commercial use. Still others are sitting vacant, awaiting renovation or the wrecking ball. And more than we can count have been torn down over the years.

The industrial building at 2315 N. Front St. is a rather recent casualty. Until maybe 2014, this property was being used by Rainbow Kids and a Payless, and the signage made it tough to appreciate the building’s historic character. The parcel goes all the way to Jasper Street, and from behind it looked like an abandoned old industrial building.

Front Street view in 2014
Jasper Street in 2014

The building was demoed in 2015, and the site remains vacant today.

View on Front Street
View on Jasper

But that won’t be the case for long. Developers purchased the 15K sqft parcel earlier this year and are looking to build a new mixed-use building here in a by-right project that would add even more density to the growing Front Street corridor. The project calls for a 5-story building with 63 apartments and two commercial spaces, one on each side of the property. This project is indeed by-right, but its size triggers Civic Design Review, allowing us access to detailed plans and renderings from Harman Deutsch Ohler Architecture. Check out these pretty pics:

Rendering on Front St.
Rendering on Jasper
Aerial rendering

The by-right nature of the project tells us that it will move forward unless something funky happens, so figure things will start moving here at some point next year. But that’s not all for this immediate area!

Hole next door waiting for a foundation
York Street Square, looking better than ever and maybe done?

Remember, we told you to expect a 19-unit mixed-use building right next door to this property, and that project has broken ground but seems like it’s currently paused very early in the construction process. Speaking of slow moving construction, the former white elephant building on the other side of 2315 N. Front St. has definitely progressed since our last visit in 2018, but still doesn’t seem like it’s quite finished. Nevertheless, it still looks infinitely better than it did a few years back. These three properties don’t look so great right now, but in just a couple of years this block will be completely transformed. It’s kind of a microcosm for the recent history of East Kensington, now that we think about it.

Click here to learn how OCF Realty is adapting in response to the COVID-19 crisis.