Someone Bought a Building With Loads of History on Norris Street

And they're converting it into apartments
Lou Mancinelli

Near five years ago, this writer said to a friend 'we should buy this building,' at the corner of Norris & Sepviva, a block off Frankford Ave., 'and make some money.' But we didn't have any money. Someone else did. Two years ago, we told you that this building at 2200-04 E. Norris St., built in the 1860s, that was first a fire house owned by an insurance company (because there were no official fire companies at the time) and was later the Fishtown Post Office, and still later, contained Dreifus & Co., which sold World War 1 surplus army gear, was for sale for $1.25M.

The building

Since then the property has sold and developers appeared before the Fishtown Neighbors Association, which supported plans for an adaptive reuse of this building, designed by RHC Design LLC, according to the FNA, in the shape of nine residential units and a ground-floor commercial area. The apartments are slated to be 600-800 sqft each over three floors, with a 2200 sqft commercial space, according to comments on Fishtown.us.

Notice the stone arches on the ground floor exterior, here, and the particular incised work on the arches. That is something you will not see included on any new single-family or townhomes going up in new projects anywhere in furiously redeveloping Fishtown or the somehow still furiously developing Northern Liberties.

New construction nearby

Nearby, at 2206 E Fletcher St., right near Konrad Square Park, a smaller project was planned this fall to transform a beat-up garage into a single-family apartment. Also back in the fall we told you about plans for six new homes at 2170 E. Norris St., right up the block from this old building.

It's great to see that developers will be turning an old building into homes for new neighbors. The place has a grand history. It's served as a brothel, a meeting hall for fraternal organizations and a theatre, among other things. Now, it will be swept up, but come out standing, in the huge wave of redevelopment and begin the next chapter of its history in Fishtown.