Fifteen Units Planned to Replace Gross Old Warehouse

Mr. Fox

In Fishtown, a former print shop next to I-95 that's been vacant for a few years is slated to be transformed into 15 new residences, provided the ZBA approves. In a second community meeting last month, the Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA) supported plans to demolish the old shop and replace it with units fronting Marlborough and Hyde Streets, according to Matt Karp, FNA zoning chair.

The warehouse

Because the project proposed for 324 E. Wildey St. is larger than 25K sqft it will need to undergo the civic design review process, with the hearing scheduled for September. The latest version, which supported by the FNA, includes a courtyard accessed through Marlborough Street with 1:1 parking. Three duplexes and one floating unit will front Marlborough, with eight single family homes on Hyde Street.

Site plan. Several homes on Wildey will be unaffected.

The developer is Sean McGovern of McBain Properties and the architect is Brian Newswanger of Atlantes Architects. Near neighbors voted 12-21 against the project but the community-wide vote of 47-30 prompted the FNA to offer its support. Looking at the rendering, the homes will certainly offer an improvement over what we see today on this site.

View from above. Site plan and rendering from myphillykind.com

This past December, we told you about the City's plans to sell two large lots at Front & Wildey, a bare strip of vacant parcels under I-95 west of Frankford Avenue. That's a good few blocks away from this location, but worth mentioning because this is a street that almost tells two different sides of a development story. West of Frankford Ave., development in Northern Liberties has been constant for many years. In Fishtown, the neighborhood is still picking up steam. For example, this former neighbor's garden at Marlborough & Girard is planned to become new building with a store on the first floor.

Northern Liberties is accustomed to larger scale projects, with multiples homes going up at one time. East of Frankford Ave., the development has more often come one or two homes at a time. But in the last couple of years, this trend has slowly changed with larger projects becoming far more commonplace in Fishtown and its surroundings areas. And with vacant land and underutilized parcels becoming more and more scarce in Northern Liberties, it seems it's only a matter of time before Fishtown becomes the neighborhood leading the development charge in the River Wards.

--Lou Mancinelli