Community Narrowly Comes Out in Favor of Frankford Avenue Project

You may recall that last week, we told you about plans for a big new mixed-use building at 1405 Frankford Ave. and predicted a fun community meeting on June 21st. We weren't able to make it to the meeting, but it was apparently a doozy. Between a thread on Fishtown.us, a string of tweets from the Fishtown Twitter account, and some reader emails, we got most of the details of how things went down for this project from Trinity Realty Companies.

 
As we told you before, this site is quite large, and encompasses part of a community garden space and a couple of one-story garages long operated by Penn Treaty Metals. The plan calls for a 50'-tall mixed-use building with 30 residential units and 16 parking spots. It's important to note, the project could be built at a lower height with 32 units and no parking by right.
 

Current view at Belgrade & Frankford

Project site plan

A reader who attended the meeting shared some renderings to give us an idea of what we can expect here, assuming the project gets approval from the ZBA.

View from Crease & Frankford

View from Belgrade & Frankford

View from the west, on Jefferson St.

View from the north, on Marlborough St.

At the meeting, members of the community came forward with all kinds of questions and comments. Some people took issue with the fact that some of the community garden will disappear, though others noted that the owners of the property are entitled to do whatever they want with their land. Many people felt that the provided parking was not sufficient, but the fact that there's no refusal for parking (appropriately) took much of the fire out of the argument. People asked about unions, pricing for the units (starting at $300K), lowering the density, possible retail tenants, the possibility of hiding the utility meters (it's possible!), and public safety during construction. 

In the end, the community voted 71-68 in favor of the project, though people living closer to the property were less supportive than those living farther away. Next, it's onto the ZBA, with a hearing lined up in July or August. Taking into account that the by-right play for this property would be so much worse for the community, you'd have to think those who don't like it won't raise a huge stink but you can never be sure. With any luck though, this project will get approved by the ZBA, it won't get appealed, and it'll get in the ground sometime this year, filling in another gap on Frankford Avenue.

  • disqus_ShDgwFNQ0X

    for a while while they were tearing down the back wall, one could see glassware and crsytal chalices still on a shelf. no one even bothered to remove them. surreal.

  • I bet when that crane operator crushes those walls with the claw he feels a surge of power… like God must feel when he’s working the claw.

  • no-permits

    it’s unbelievable that a city so rich in history, is so unappreciative of what makes it special.

    • nobody

      Agreed.

  • disqus_IVrCzYyZnb

    I hope that the building materials from the church get salvaged. My guess is that there is a lot of nice wood/stone/window work done long ago by skilled craftsmen. Using these materials in the new development would be an appropriate way of integrating the history of the area into neighborhood change. It would ensure that the history continues to be remembered after the church is gone.

    • Interior marble, pews, railings, even stained glass windows usually get salvaged, but a lot of exterior masonry doesn’t make it. It’s often time consuming and cost prohibitive to remove exterior pieces, especially since many of the appealing pieces are integrated into structural walls.

  • pete

    good riddance to religious buildings. bye bye!

    • nobody

      Wow, such a badass thing to say…. if you’re like six.

  • citizen

    I’m sorry everything old need not be saved/preserved you can’t have progress if you save every beautiful thing that was ever made …this Church has no significant historical value there a hundreds of similar churches around the City…. and adaptive re-use doesn’t is in this case and many others isn’t financially feasible…..so basically this building would have sat vacant until it became a blight on the neighborhood…….

  • Hope Curran-Orkin

    it was a beautiful landmark, a historical site really…i dont see why it wasnt kept. i disagree with citizen’s remarks (below) every church has historical memories for the families who congregated there over the years…

  • Judi Hendrickson Wales

    I had my first communion, confirmation and first wedding in this church. My family was a active member for years. I remember holiday shows, Bingos, Easter services, the Christmas Bazaar, fundraising shows that I participated in, my grandparents funerals……all of the truly important events in my life happened at this church. I wish I had known it was coming down, I would have asked to maybe take some of the glassware or stained glass windows. My father served on the alter and I was in the children’s chior. I loved this church….I am truly saddened to see it go.