Logan Square is a neighborhood with numerous high end homes that also boasts easy access to downtown Philadelphia on one end and the Ben Franklin Parkway on the other. But this wasn’t always the case. A hundred years ago, there was a strong industrial presence in this neighborhood, especially near the river. So it should come as no surprise that Cresswell Iron Works hung a shingle at 113 N. 23rd St. back in 1885. According to Hidden City, this company produced architectural iron products, like columns, lintels, brackets, girders, stairways, castings for bridges, and manhole covers.
Samuel Bernstein bought the company and its associated real estate in the early 1950s, eventually moving the iron works to Northwest Philly in 1969. But the Bernstein family has held onto the real estate since then, chopping up the space and leasing it to various businesses and artists over the years. At one point, a member of the family was looking to redevelop the property to residential use, but that effort ultimately fell through. Over time, the building has looked more and more worn down, and today it’s most notable because its northern and western face are almost completely covered in ivy. On the eastern side though, you can still make out several buildings that date back to the 1800s.
The property has been available for a number of years, as we understand it, but at a price that didn’t make redevelopment work. Either the price came down or the market has caught up, because now the property has or will soon change hands. Last week, a demolition notice appeared on the building and permits indicate a plan to build a project with sixteen units and sixteen parking spaces. We aren’t sure whether that will mean sixteen town homes or sixteen condos, but the difference seems academic at this point.
While we were snapping photos of the soon to be demoed former iron works, we also noticed some early construction activity on the large property across the street. You may recall, we told you last fall that PMC Property Group is planning a huge project for this location, with two high rises, 600 apartments, and a super market. We’re encouraged to see that construction is getting underway over there, as we’ve seen a few significant proposals come and go for that address. Finally, we’re fairly confident we’ll see this longtime surface parking lot get redeveloped. Whether this will make the future units at 113 N. 23rd St. more or less desirable remains to be seen, but clearly the developers are expecting a positive or at least neutral outcome.